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STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ALGAE, FUNGUS, LICHENS, MOSS
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN buildings
ATTIC CONDENSATION CAUSE & CURE
BATH & KITCHEN DESIGN GUIDE
BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES GUIDE
CAULKS & SEALANTS, EXTERIOR
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
CONNECTORS, FASTENERS, TIES
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DECK FINISHES COATINGS PRESERVATIVES
DEFINITIONS of ENGINEERED WOOD OSB LVL etc
DRYWELLS, FRENCH DRAINS for FLAT SITES
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
EIFS & STUCCO EXTERIORS
EXTERIOR WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
EXTRACTIVE BLEEDING STAINS
FLASHING MEMBRANES PEEL & STICK
FLASHING for METAL ROOFS
FLASHING SIDING DETAILS
FLASHING WALL DETAILS
FLASHING WINDOW DETAILS
FLASHING WOOD ROOF DETAILS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
GLUES ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
HOUSEWRAP INSTALLATION DETAILS
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ROOF ICE DAM LEAKS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
KIT HOMES, Aladdin, Sears, Wards, Others
KITCHEN & BATH DESIGN GUIDE
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LIGHTING, EXTERIOR GUIDE
LIGHTING, INTERIOR GUIDE
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD DETECTION & INSPECTION GUIDE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PAINT & STAIN GUIDE, EXTERIOR
PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION
PAINT FAILURE DICTIONARY
PORCHES & Sunrooms
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
RAILINGS, DECK & PORCH
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
RETAINING WALL GUARD RAILINGS
ROOF COLOR RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF VENTILATION SPECIFICATIONS
ROT RESISTANT LUMBER
SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SIDING TYPES, INSTALLATION, DEFECTS
SOUND CONTROL in buildings
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
SURFACE GRADING, SITE DRAINAGE
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRIM, EXTERIOR CHOICES, INSTALLATION
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
VINYL Siding or Window PLASTIC ODORS
VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in buildings
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
How to Inspect Double-Wides, Mobile Homes, Trailers or Manufactured Housing for Defects: detailed procedures, defect lists, references to standards. Here we explain where to look for costly or dangerous problems on mobile homes, trailers, or double-wides. We address all of the major parts and systems of mobile home structures and suggest field inspection procedures as well as common hidden problem and common repair procedures.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Ver.14 , updated through 2014 - Steve Vermilye, New Paltz NY and Daniel Friedman, Poughkeepsie NY, Hudson Valley ASHI Chapter Seminar, Newburgh NY, January 4, 2000, NY Metro ASHI Fall 99 Seminar, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, White Plains NY, October 2, 1999.
With deep sorrow we report that our friend and associate, Steven T. Vermilye of New Paltz NY (photo at the top of this page) passed away on 19 June 2001, so of course you will have difficulty contacting him by normal means.
Steve was a leader in the home inspection profession, recognized nationally as well as among New York State professional home inspectors for his competence, kindness, honesty, humility, humor, and for his unequivocal commitment to the welfare of his clients.
Steve led our interest in mobile home inspections by offering us an opportunity to join with him to work pro-bono in behalf of agricultural workers in the Hudson Valley -- a service which we continue in his memory.
Definitions: If you are not sure if your home is a mobile home, trailer, double-wide, caravan, or a modular or panelized-built or factory built home, please see DEFINITIONS of Mobile Home, Doublewide, Modular, Panelized Construction
We found so many unsafe and un-healthy conditions in the trailers and mobile homes occupied by migrant farm workers that there was almost no safe habitable housing at the facility.
The facility owner, responding to suggestions from our report and from the N.Y. Office of the Attorney General and an attorney representing farm workers made extensive improvements in farm worker housing as a result of Steve's initiative.
Many of the photographs used to illustrate defects and needed repairs at these mobile homes, trailers, and double-wides came from Steve or from our own photos when we worked together.
We all miss Steve Vermilye and his passing remains a great loss. If the information in this report assists anyone in assuring that their home is more safe and secure than it would have been otherwise, that benefit is thanks to Steven Vermilye -- this information is one of his many gifts to the people for whom he cared deeply -- Daniel Friedman.
Consumer Reports (2/98) points out common weak spots surveyed and recommends that buyers hire a home inspector. But many inspectors are not familiar with the special problems found in mobile homes.
Definitions: What is a Mobile Home, Trailer, Camper, Doublewide mobile home, Modular Home, Factory-Built Home, Panelized-Construction-Built Home?
These terms are defined at Trailer vs Mobile Home vs Modular vs Panelized Construction an explanation of terms and how to identify these structures.
The double-wide home shown at left, as seen from a distance, appears to be in good condition, but only on close and thorough inspection can we become confident about the condition of and potential safety hazards at any home.
Trailer or mobile home foundations and tie-downs are discussed in detail at MOBILE HOME STABILIZING SYSTEMS
OTHER COMMON MOBILE HOME & TRAILER DEFECTS
Definitions: What is a Mobile Home, Trailer, Doublewide, Modular Home, Factory-Built Home, Panelized-Construction-Built Home?
The following is the opinion of the author and has not had a technical review by other industry experts. Various trailer, mobile home, and modular housing manufacturers may disagree with some of these views. Corrections and content suggestions are welcome.
Trailer traditionally describes a usually small, wheeled, home with a history and image of flimsy construction such as wooden 1x3 wall framing clad with aluminum siding, virtually no insulation, and low quality leaky windows.
"Trailers" up until the 1970's (my estimate) included both campers which really were intended to be towed by a car or truck and moved often from site to site (though some were left parked for decades at campgrounds), and also lightweight factory-made homes which were intended to be towed once to a home site and then kept there.
Our photo (left) shows a trailer that was finally abandoned as a living space. The little blue structure used as an addition to the left of the small house in the photo at the top of this page was undoubtedly a small camper.
No one building "trailers" calls them that any longer because of the "flimsy" image. The closest thing to a "trailer" in current products on the market are motor homes and campers. The least-costly campers (such as our pickup truck "slide-on camper") built after 2000 are probably considerably better constructed than the "trailers" of old.
In current language (2009), a "trailer" is either a "mobile home" that is more than 20 years old (see below), or it is a camper designed to be moved easily and often from site to site. (Or in different usage, a "utility trailer" is a utility vehicle intended to haul goods or large items and designed to be fastened to the back of a car or truck, and a "tractor trailer" is of course a larger (typically 40 ft long) hauling system for moving goods by highway from city to city.)
Trailers may have had their wheels left on, but normally they'd be set on a masonry pier foundation and a skirt installed around to hide the under-trailer area.
In the past few decades (to 2006), "trailer" manufacturers have considerably improved the quality of construction of such homes. The national manufacturing and building code standards for these structures have also been improved. Perhaps in part to escape the less than wholesome image of "trailer", manufacturers use the term "mobile home" to describe what is usually larger and better made home than "trailers" of old, though perhaps with similar materials.
Mobile homes are built in a factory and are designed to be moved (once and uncommonly, perhaps once again) on its own wheels attached to its own frame to a site where a foundation is prepared and connections to utilities are made. In the U.S., states have regulations about the siting, foundation, steps and entry, wiring, plumbing, tie-downs for wind and storm safety that apply to these homes. Some examples of mobile home regulations for New York State are this website. Individual state regulations will vary - you'll want to see what your state requires. Even within states regulations vary as wind and weather conditions do also.
Examples of mobile home improvements include stronger overall wall and roof construction, less leaky roof covering, and windows that are less notoriously leaky. In addition newer mobile homes have, for fire safety, bedroom windows that can be pushed out to a wide opening for emergency exit in case of fire - an important safety improvement. Usually building departments grandfather in older structures, but sometimes they will insist that certain life-safety improvements be made, for example if an older mobile home is being brought to a new site in a new community. If this is the case one or two windows may need to be replaced to provide this important safety improvement.
When there is a severe storm or hurricane, mobile home communities are among the worst damaged as a strong wind can completely turn over or demolish mobile homes. For this reason, mobile homes set up in high wind-risk zones have extra requirements for tie-downs to secure the building against upset during a storm.
Mobile homes may arrive on wheels but they will be jacked enough to be set on some type of approved building foundation, such as masonry piers or a masonry foundation.
In case these terms are not confusing enough, some mobile home makers like to call these "factory built homes". But that use of "factory-built homes" is confusing too since modular homes are also "factory built" but are quite different from trailers or mobile homes.
Some manufacturers provide mobile homes constructed to be joined together, side by side to form a double-width living unit. While a double-wide mobile home is basically constructed by the same materials and methods just described above, the tie-down and connection requirements for these living units may be different in some jurisdictions, since their risk of being blown away in high winds is different. Other installation and support requirements, such as connection of the two units and placement of foundation support will also have to accommodate this variation.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: where can I find the HUD Section 184 Red Tag on my Home?
Where would the section 184 Red Tag be located on a 1983-West single wide? - Suzanne
Reply: first see if your home qualifies under HUD Section 184 financing rules
Other HUD Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program rules that determine if a home qualifies for 184 financing (and thus will bear a red tag) include: 
Examples of mobile home labels are found at MOBILE HOME LABELS.
Question: what types of windows are found on mobile homes?
I have a question not a comment. Hope you can get back to me on this. We are buying a 1974 mobile home. What kind of windows are in that type of home. Are they roll outs or pull up windows? - Linda
You can see some common mobile home window types in this article:
Watch out: At least on older homes these windows are often leaky and may have caused hidden wall and floor damage. Check under the carpet or in the crawl area of your home, especially in floor areas below windows or doors.
Question: Who is responsible for the mailbox serving my mobile home ?
problem who is responsible for mail boxes the property owner o the resident ? email@example.com
Question: How can I track down what's causing high moisture in a doublewide manufactured home?
I have a double wide manufactured home that I'm renovated. It has vinyl siding and perforated soffits common on manufactured homes. We've noticed moisture high in the walls all around the home and can't identify the cause. Any ideas? Thank you, - T.B. - Colorado
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem with too much moisture in a home. That said, gee, with absolutely no information whatsoever about the home you mention, I'd be just arm-waving to offer a specific diagnosis.
But I can suggest some directions of investigation for tracking down a moisture problem:
Generally the approach is to find the water sources and water or moisture traps.
That is, high indoor moisture, enough to put condensation on walls, might be tracked down to one or both of:
If I'm right that you're in Colorado, you're not in such a high humidity area as the Southeastern U.S. That in turn makes me wonder if there is not either water below the home or leaks in or into it from roof, windows or doors (notorious leakers on older manufactured homes).
If the moisture is uniform around all of the interior of the home I suspect it could be coming from a source that would equally wet the whole structure - below the entire structure up through floors, or leaks across a wide area of roof. Observing moisture high on walls may just indicate where the cool walls are in contact with warmer, high-moisture-content air inside the home. (Warm moist air rises).
If your renovation permits, you might need to make some test cuts to be sure you know where water is and is not, and to be sure you're not renovating by putting a new skin over a rotting or inset infested structure.
Sorry I can't be smarter but that's about as much arm-waving as I can dare with no more information. If you'd like to send some photos or further description of what's there and what you're seeing, that may permit some further suggestions.
At WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS we collect a series of building moisture or water entry diagnosis & cure articles that might be helpful.
Follow-Up: wet walls traced to frost or ice in the home eaves and attic
Thanks for the reply. I managed to find a manufactured home installer who immediately knew what I was talking about. It turns out all this is a universal problem with manufactured homes (and some stick built homes) in cold, high wind areas.
The soffits are vented continuously. Snow actually drifts inside the soffit then, when the weather warms, melts and some water runs down the walls. As this can happen many days after the initial precipitation it’s often mistaken for a condensation issue.
The installer didn't have any suggestions for a solution. In fact, he said if I came up with anything to let him know. Any ideas?
We have seen several points of frost or even ice accumulation at house eaves and even deeper into the attic in uninsulated HVAC ductwork.
Clues that point to the attic ice or frost accumulation as the source of indoor leaks and moisture
I think a diagnostic clue that can help track down apparent building leaks or moisture on walls that originates in the attic may be the observation of leaks in a warming weather trend after a long cold spell. Also the moisture shows up only on the exterior walls, not on building interior walls. It doesn't have to be snow blowing into the soffits - which is unusual; anything that allows moisture condense, collect, and freeze in the attic or in attic HVAC ducts can produce such leaks when things thaw out.
The cause your installer cited, snow drifts in the soffits, is possible but more common are some of these other problems that can produce the same symptoms:
How do we fix these problems of ice and frost formation in the attic ... it depends. First let's accurately diagnose the cause by a careful inspection in the attic. Wind-wash will be obvious - insulation will have been disturbed. Ice dam leaks leave characteristic stains that we illustrate in that article.
Details about these attic frost, ice, or moisture problems that show up as "leaks or moisture on building walls" and how they are fixed are in the articles cited above.
At Inspect Attics for Moisture or Mold we discuss inspecting (and correcting) building attics for evidence of condensation, moisture, or even ice.
Question: leaky windows and roof defects on 1998 modular home
I have friends that bought a 1998 Modular Home that was set-up as a display model. They bought it in March 1999. It had single-pane aluminum frame windows...and the panes are not even sealed on all edges...and move in the frame. Likewise the double-hung parts of the windows are not airtight and sweat profusely. When were the double-pane windows mandated to be installed in modular homes ? Also, they have a roof problem. In 2008 in August 23-25 it rained 22 to 24 inches.
Since that time I have noticed that all around the perimeter of the roof...the roof has many places where the decking is sunken in. the shingles do not overhang the required one inch or so...and are right even with the edge of the eave drip flashing. What I suspect is that the water, curled under the shingles and wicked back under the shingles ad saturated the roof decking. I have looked into one area...and the decking has rotted though and water has been poring into the wall cavity. I saw that the top sill plate is rotted through. All of the interior of the house has a vinyl wallpaper...and no black mold has come through that I can see. The living and dining rooms don't show any signs of black mold either.
This manufacturer has many complaints and problems from various owners around the US. The manufacturer seems to be ignoring them all. I would like some specifics from anyone to get these problems addressed. Thanks. - Aubrey 1/29/2012
In case your home is actually modular construction, not a mobile home or doublewide, please see MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION s
Aubrey you should have a professional home inspection performed so that you have a reasonably accurate, complete list of building problems and defects that need to be addressed, and so that you know the priority of repairs. I suggest this because given what you've already seen, it could be a mistake to think that the issues you've seen are all of the problems or even the most important ones. In general the priorities of repair are
Once you have a repair and maintenance plan for your home, you and your attorney can address the question of who is responsible to pay for these repairs.
Let us know the name and model and manufacturer of your home and send along any photographs of problems if you can and we'll be glad to research and comment further.
Question: Why does my doublewide always feel uncomfortably warm
Why does my doublewide always feel uncomfortably warm especially at night when trying to sleep and even with the temperature at 70 to 71 degrees? - Daniel Phipps 4/16/2012
Daniel that question has me stumped. There are so many possible reasons:
Question: how do I get someone to inspect our doublewide, and how much will it cost
I am interested in buying a 1989 doublewide manufactured home in a retirement community in Hudson, Florida. I want to have it inspected. Where should I go to find a reliable manufactured home inspector in that area ?
Anon, I'd start outside the home, inspecting the roof and roof edges for evidence of leaks or animal entry.
Question: horrible tuna fish smell from double wide home ceilings
I bought a 2008 double wide and i have this terrible smell that smells like tuna that seems to be coming from the ceilings? - Anonymous 7/15/2012
Anon, at ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE we provide procedures for tracking down and curing smells and odors in buildings. In your home, I'd also inspect outside as well as inside for evidend of leaks into the roof / ceiling structure, or animal entry there. Check first for safe and un-blocked heating and ventilation flues as a blockage there by a dead animal would also be unsafe.
Aside from animals, leaks into the ceiling could have produced a mold problem.
Don't forget to inspect and check in the crawl space too - odors travel in structures so you could be fooled about a source.
Question: my homeowners insurance covers "accessible ductwork" from the air conditioning - what does that include?
I have home owners insurance, and it says it covers "accessible ductwork from the air condtioning unit to the point of attachment at register" what does that mean? Is my ductwork under the house covered? - Anonymous 7/17/2012
Discussion of "accessible" building components vs inaccessible
Question: do mobile homes have an attic?
we r currently buying a 1971 dw mobile home, it has been bricked in. this type of mobile home have a attic? - q Cecilia Jones 8/6/2012
Question: building codes for manufactured home steps
what are the florida codes for a Manufactured Home steps. Can they be steal attached or wooded removable - Melissa 7/18/2012
Specific examples of unsafe steps and railings at mobile homes and manufactured homes can be found "Stairs, steps & railing safety hazards at Caravans, Doublewides, Mobile Homes, Trailers" found in our article on MOBILE HOME EXTERIOR DEFECTS.
Because there are many trip and fall hazards that maybe present at stairs and railings, see our separate articles STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS and CODES for STAIRS & RAILINGS. In addition to those specifications for safe steps and railings, most states require safe and securely-attached entry and exit stairs at both the primary entry to the home and also to a secondary safety or fire exit pathway from the home. Some later model manufactured homes are provided with emergency egress windows (push out or pop out) but there should be at least two exit doors at opposite ends of the structure.
Question: Rental-unit double-wide mobile home with no insulation, no heat, flickering lights: is this normal?
Do these come pre trimmed in the inside? Or do I have to pull them off and insulate underneath them? Im renting and its costing me 600 a month to heat. I don't think the renters insulated it at all. I pull a piece of trim from around the slider door and no insulation there. The pipes, no caulk or anything. I can throw a penny down to the ground from the bath pipes. It is a double wide. The house has a gap in the floor where it looks like the house is coming apart. I can stick a long needle rite threw it to the ground. - Kevin 8/13/12
Do Double wide Mobile come pre trimmed to the sellers in the inside? Or do the businesses that sell them have to have to pull them off and insulate underneath them? I'm renting a 2004 and its costing me $500-$600 a month to heat. I don't think the renters insulated it at all. I pulled a piece of trim from around the slider door and no insulation there. I put my hand underneath the cement foundation and the floor. No insulation there as well.
The heat comes out semi cold. It only has a 56000 BTU heater and is new. But.. This seems low for a 40X60 or 40X70 Im not sure which one this is. But it runs for house trying to get the house warm. The dishwasher water freezes in the inside of it during the winter. I tried pulling it out to see why. But its hooked in. Cold air rushes from the light sockets to where it blows a lighter out. I came from a 3 story victory. So I know little about pre-manufactured homes. The pipes, no caulk or anything. I can throw a penny down to the ground from the bath pipes. I have caulked around it now.
The house has now formed a gap in the floor where it looks like the house is coming apart. I can stick a long needle rite threw the carpet it to the ground. Is the house just settling? Also the electric is $300-to $400 a month. The light bulbs flash like a strobe light all the time. They had a 12,000 volt cow fence hooked and water for their 50 head of cows in when we got here. After paying for that (unknowingly) for 6-8 months I realized that it was hooked in.
When I turn off the electric to the house. The fence and water would turned off. So they put in a separate pole. But the lights still flicker and the fuse box blows fuses all the time (for no reason) like if I have the washer on. I have two small girls. The renters say this is all normal. - Computer Geekz - 8/13/12
In order to sort out the question of what are common construction practices and what is usually included or not with a manufactured home, we first need to get a couple of confusing terms straightened out.
You originally posted question about double-wide mobile home construction in our article on modular construction (MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION) .
In a separate article we define modulars, factory built homes, comparing them with caravans, trailers, mobile homes, doublewides: see DEFINITIONS of Mobile Home, Doublewide, Modular, Panelized Construction, where we give details about the differences in these types of construction.
Double-wides and mobile homes are not built using the same structural materials, codes, standards as modular homes. Details about double-wide homes and mobile homes are discussed separately beginning in the article starting at the top of this page: MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS.
Do the same building codes regulate the construction of modular homes and caravans, trailers, doublewides, mobile homes?
No. A modular home is built using conventional 2x4 or 2x6 wood framing much like a stick built house, but it is constructed in several sections that are then trailered to a building site, set upon a conventional building foundation or slab, and fastened together there. The floor of each section is built strong enough to be placed on a temporary trailer for transport to the building site where the trailer chassis is removed prior to assembly of each section.
Building codes and standards for modulars are essentially the same as for a stick-built residential home. Even when the modular home is built in a different state from which it is to be assembled, the home must comply with state building codes.
What building codes regulate mobile homes & doublewide homes?
A double-wide or mobile home or trailer (also called house trailers or "static caravans") is typically built to different building standards than a conventional stick-built house or modular built house. These homes are completely assembled in a factory and trailered to a site where they are parked. The structure includes a permanently-attached trailer chassis, axle, wheels, trailer hitch that are used to deliver the home and can (in concept) be used to move it later.
Unlike modular homes whose constructions are regulated by state and local building codes, mobile homes, double-wides and trailers, are regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), via the Federal National Mfd. Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
This national regulation has allowed many manufacturers to distribute nationwide because they are immune to the jurisdiction of local building authorities. There are, however, windzones adopted by HUD that home builders must follow. Depending on where a mobile home is located, these wind zone regulations can require special anchoring or tie downs to reduce the chances of the home being overturned in a storm.
Based on the description in your posted comment/question and your email, you are describing a double-wide mobile home.
FAQs about the properties of double-wide homes:
Do these [double wide homes] come pre trimmed in the inside?
- Yes double-wide and mobile homes are usually sold completely finished, including wall and ceiling, coverings, trim, appliances, and fixtures. However depending on the manufacturer it may be possible to buy these units without some of these features installed, intended to be finished by a buyer. A typical example might be leaving out carpeting and offering carpet choices.
Do I have to pull them [wall finishes, ceiling finishes, trim] off and insulate underneath them in a double-wide?
- No it would be unusual for a completed double-wide home to be sold uninsulated unless it were a specially-contracted version as I've mentioned above. And it would make no sense whatsoever to complete a home's interior finishing, trim, wall coverings etc., and then expect a buyer to tear these off in order to insulate the structure. Also in our OPINION it is not normal for a tenant renting a double-wide or mobile home to be expected to insulate, install heat, install electrical wiring.
The heat [in my double-wide] comes out semi cold.
- This is not a normal nor proper condition. Either your heating system is not working and needs repair, or as you suggest, your unit was not properly constructed and insulated, perhaps routing heating air ducts through a cold, uninsulated space. I can only SPECULATE that perhaps your home was contracted for and sold as an incomplete unit, or was sold for and moved from a different climate.
The light bulbs [in my double-wide home] flash like a strobe light all the time.
- Watch out: You are describing an unsafe condition that includes risk of overheating electrical circuits, amateur or improper electrical wiring, and a risk that could include a fire, personal injury, property loss or even death. As you say you are a tenant, not the property owner, our advice is
Keep us posted on how things progress - what we learn may help other readers. I've kept your questions here because this is where you posted them and we want you to find our reply But details about how mobile homes and double-wide homes are built, inspected, and maintained is at MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS.
I crawled underneath today. There is nothing there. No blanket insulation......(nothing) lol WOW - Computer Geekz - 8/15/12
(Oct 28, 2011) michael lavalle said:
the claton home that was delivered is not what i order .blue prints all wroung
(Mar 6, 2012) Plumbing los gatos said:
I have learned something new from you this morning Daniel. I have worked with a great many different plumbing systems over the years, but I had never heard of this system before. I have printed this one out and have added it to my plumbing information binder.
Los Gatos: thanks for the note; I'm not sure what new topic you refer to, but glad to be of use; we welcome questions about our website articles and are glad to research further to work on answers when needed. It benefits everyone. Daniel
Question: I was startled out of my skin to see a cat jump into the living room from a floor vent
(Aug 29, 2012) Maxine Payne said:
The red tag was apparently covered up when vinyl siding was installed. Now I want to sell the property, but I can't because I do not have the red tag number. How do I get the red tag number?
(Aug 29, 2012) Greg Filian said:
The flashing of the lights mentioned are they in the whole house or just one outlet? If it's just one outlet it may be just the outlet, if it's the whole house the problem may be at the main connection.
(Sept 8, 2012) Gail said:
I am looking at buying a double wide through an estate sale. The "trustee" of the estate is the deceased owners daughter, who know very little to anything about mobile homes (as I).
I am hiring an inspector, how ever he wont be available for 3 weeks and I have an immediate concern...
Yes I can tell you "it isn't so" - that is, it is not good practice to simply leave floor vents in a home open to the outdoors such that anything, including a cat (or worse, a raccoon) can hop in for a visit.
I can imagine a few reasons why you might have found the missing duct work and open floor vent, all adding up to some more trouble and work for you. For example most likely there was a heating or heating and cooling system that used air but that has disintegrated, been damaged, fallen off, or was simply removed and abandoned.
Sometimes too, when warm or cool air delivery into a home is poor in flow rate or quantity, people try to improve system operation by adding more return air to the system by just cutting an opening that lets outdoor air into the system somewhere. The problem is this is the most expensive possible way to heat or cool a home since it's a "one way" design - we take un-conditioned air from outside, heat it or cool it, then try moving it into the living area.
Really the most significant implication of the cat in the hat, I mean cat in the vent discovery in your possible future home's heating sysem is that it's a red flag to watch out for other work done or "problems solved" by the same person on that home - as you may find other amateur workmanship that lengthens the list of repairs and improvements needed to make the home safe and habitable to normal standards.
Keep me posted, and send along photos if you can (use the CONTACT US link at page bottom or top) - especially if ... the cat comes back.
I suppose a less ridiculous explanation that the owner could have invented might have been to explain
"Oh I forgot to tell you, that's just Marion, my mom's cat. Marion comes with the house. The hole in the floor is her pet door."
Question: is the center wall in a doublewide structurally significant?
(Sept 21, 2012) T.Oliver B said:
In a 1977 "double-wide", is the center (longitudinal) wall structurally significant?
You want to take a careful look at framing from the attic. If trusses or ceiling joists are one piece from wall to wall tou may be ok
Question: roof is crooked and doors won't shut in cold weather
(Feb 13, 2014) Re-Posted with space after periods in the text: (3 hours ago) Joseph Matteini said:
It has been very cold 0 degrees plus or minus for a month. My enclosed front porch has sliding windows. slanting roof. The roof is higher on the left side above the doorway,making the door notshut evenly. The differencene is one inch. This is also starting on the inside door to the home. This has never happened before.This is an open porch of redwood and steps before the porch. It is an 1985 mobie home. HELP!
1. a sagging roof in danger of collapse - THIS IS UNSAFE and needs prompt attention; if this is the case you may need someone to rake snow off of the porch roof as well as to inspect for damage to the structure. We don't want the porch roof to fall in on you
2. A second possibility is that the roof structure has not sagged and begun to collapse but instead frost heaves have pushed up one end of the porch foundation. The hazards if this is the case are more subtle: there could be hidden damage to the floor structure - another collapse risk, or there may be just a trip hazard due to a sloped floor.
If the floor to the porch is level and has not changed, but the roof slope has changed then my first guess is more likely correct.
Watch out: doors that don't open or shut can be unsafe - you can be trapped in the event of a fire
Question: can I install insulated wall panels on my old singlewide home?
(Feb 17, 2014) Dianne Adams said:
I have lived in a poor sad single wide with large add-on for about 15 years. This mobile was made in the early 1970's I believe. The outside walls seem to be some type of cheesy SIP (Sealed Insulated Panel)of many years ago. On either side of the "I" beam the material of the SIP is coming apart. I would like to install insulted vinyl paneling myself if at all possible to save as much money as possible. I am somewhat...handy with electric screwdriver and saw and such.
Would you think I might possibly be able to install these insulted panels myself? Do you recommend a particular type or brand? What 'rating' should I look for? Thanks in advance. Oh! I live in high desert in the very center of California - elevation about 2300 feet - temperature range 20 degrees or so (above zero) in winter and up to 110 degrees in the summer. I am FAR more concerned about the HEAT than the cold. I currently am not using an form of heat except clothes. I have an entirely electric house and can't afford to run electric heaters but that's OK as long as I don't melt in the summer. One entire wall of the room that I use like 95% of the time has the sun hitting it all day long. That is the wall I want to address first...
Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Dianne & Jaemeister & Silly Sally & Lacey & Rubee & Poo Poo Pa Choo & Mona Lisa & Bella Cruz & little g.g. (all dogs) & Pebbles & Pumpkin & Coco (cats) & Mister (male finch) and a bunch of fowl - 14 hens and one lucky rooster!
You could most likely install a thin layer of insulating board, then flashing tape around windows and doors, then your finish siding; perhaps taping the insulating board seams will improve the insulation's performance;
But I'd want to be sure we have a clear understanding of the wall structure so we're not creating a moisture trap;
Also, siding jobs often turn out to be a bit more work than one anticipated: as you are making the exterior wall thicker you end up either having to build-out the trim around windows and doors or living with a home whose windows and doors look like sunken eyes - this is a cosmetic or aesthetic concern only, that is as long as you've properly sealed around those openings so as not to have leaks into the walls.
If your home has a nearly flat roof, most likely adding insulation on the ceilings inside, or inside the roof, or as some mobile home owners do, building a gable roof over the original structure, will do more to reduce heat gain (your main concern) than adding insulation on the walls.
So priorities are probably the roof (or interior ceilings if you have space), and the sun-beaten wall.
Question: mobile home doors stick
(Feb 25, 2014) lisa kirshkaln said:
I too, like Joseph M. seem to be having a problem. I have noticed both my front and back doors are getting harder to close, the deadbolt in not inline anymore. and some of my floors and walls have separated by an inch or more, my ceilings seem to look like they are being jacked up in spots
. I do have an a-frame roof over the top of the mobile home.(metal) no snow build up. and some of my walls look a little slanted. I assume its from the frost heaves but what can be done. it has ruined quit a few walls and ceilings already. and do you know if home owners ins. would cover this type of problem. (my floors make noises now) I live in Maine, and we will still have some frost heaves for quite some time. thank you for any advice you can give.
Reply: frost heave movement in a mobile home, doors hard to open or shut - unsafe conditions!
Lisa it sounds as if your home is suffering from frost heave movement, and I speculate that with the current weather conditions this is not a time when actual repairs are possible. Here are some immediate concerns and suggestions:
1. Fire safety: be sure that you have working smoke alarms and that you can get the exit doors open. The worst would be to become trapped in a home, unable to exit, in the event of a fire.
2. Electrical and gas or oil safety: if building movement has torn or moved wiring or plumbing enough to break connections those systems could be unsafe. If you smell fuel odors and these can be trace to a gas leak it's time to get out and ask for emergency assistance. If electrical switches or outlets or appliances that used to work start behaving oddly there is an electrical hazard - shut those circuits off and ask for help from a licensed electrician. There could be similar damage to plumbing drains that could be unsanitary, below the home, but those are less immediately life threatening.
3. Structural safety: when walls, ceilings, or floors seem to have moved, if movement has actually broken apart structural connections I'd be worried about a collapse. I don't know how your home is built so can't have a clear opinion about how much movement would be dangerous, but in concept, if a floor starts feeling bouncy when it wasn't before, and/or if you could stick a finger into a space between floor and wall or ceiling and wall, a more expert assessment is pretty urgent. When the problem is a frost heave movement and there has been some structural movement it may be possible (and not so costly) to provide temporary support or to add connectors for safety.
Finally, yes contact your homeowners' insurance company and ask for an inspection and assistance.
Keep me posted; you can also send photos for further comment = using our CONTACT link at page top or bottom.
Question: trouble financing a 1975 singlewide - what are the regulations?
(Feb 25, 2014) Anonymous said:
I have a beautiful remodeled 1975 singlewide trailer with 2 large additions we are selling we have a interested buyer but the banks wont finance it due to the fact that's its a 1975> what are the federal laws re:1976 cut off?
I think you or the bank are referring to the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (commonly known as the HUD Code) that went into effect June 15, 1976. The bank is saying that a home built before June 15 1976 was not regulated to standards that they are willing to finance.
Here is what the U.S. HUD says about this key date:
Homes built prior to June 15, 1976, even with modifications, do not meet the HUD standards and cannot be accepted as compliant with the HUD Code. As the homeowner, you may find a licensed engineer willing to inspect your home for compliance with your state's housing code. FHA does not insure mortgages on manufactured homes built prior to June 15, 1976. Most other mortgage insurance firms follow FHA's policy.
Question: knocking sound in home blamed on low water pressure - when the furnace kicks on
(Mar 17, 2014) Jeani said:
We have a 1987 Holiday Manor double wide that we love except for the noisy heating system. Right before the furnace kicks on, there is a knocking sound that travels throughout the house starting out slow and getting faster and faster as it moves through the rooms. It's loud enough that it wakes us up at night. Any suggestions? It's a natural gas furnace and is the original one that came with the house. We had a local heating contractor check it out and their explanation was that the water pressure is too low. They put in a backflow preventor and a shut off valve off the water line so you don't have to drain the furnace to service the whole system but didn't have any other solution. Any suggestions? The heat works, but boy oh boy, the noise is awful!
Low water pressure to a building would not normally affect the operation of a heating boiler; a service tech might indeed check water level and pressure in the boiler itself to be sure it's within normal operating levels and pressures (typically 12 psi when the boiler is cold).
Search InspectApedia for "heating system noises" for articles offering further help. Indeed banging radiator pipes or baseboards can be common on heating systems.
Question: how do I figure out who made my manufactured home?
How can I find the name of the manufacturer and model, and possibly a serial number of a 1971 manufactured home? The title says Make: MALB, Body: HS. The home now has vinyl siding so any label is concealed.
Sharon, in the article above at
MOBILE HOME LABELS - Mobile Homes and Manufactured Housing Labels & Certifications
we list some locations where you might find the data tag on your mobile home - that's where the manufacturer should be identified. On a home as old as yours there may be no tag. At that point I'd start asking my neighbors who have similar-aged homes.
Questions & answers or comments about inspection of the condition of mobile homes, mobile home or trailer or doublewide problem diagnosis procedures, & their care, repair, & maintenance.
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