Storm Safety for Manufactured Homeowners

Tough wind safety standards went into effect in 1994 after Hurricane Andrew.

By law, any home built and installed in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, and Williamsburg counties (those in Wind Zone II) must be able to withstand winds of 100mph. All other homes in South Carolina must be able to withstand winds of 80mph.

Additionally, there are steps a homeowner can take to better protect their home from strong storms. MHISC has compiled a guide with safety information for South Carolinians who live in manufactured homes.

Storm Safety Tips for Manufactured Home Owners

Know the age of your home. Know what wind level the home is designed to withstand.

  • Wind Zone – All manufactured homes come with a “data plate,” usually located in a utility closet, near the beaker panel, or on a kitchen cabinet. This plate will state what wind zone the home was built for.

  • Older Homes – Most wind damage viewers see involves older homes. Prior to 1976, homes were built to a patchwork of state, local, and voluntary codes. Some were well built, others were not. Homes manufactured prior to 1976 were not constructed to current federal building code for manufactured homes. They are designated as “mobile homes” and may not have a data plate.

  • Homes Built since 1994 – Starting in 1994 federal law requires that all homes sold in coastal counties must be built to new enhanced hurricane-resistant standards. South Carolina counties prone to hurricane-force winds are labeled Wind Zone II: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, and Williamsburg.

 

Verify that your home was installed by a licensed installer.

  • The most common reason for wind damage in manufactured homes is improper installation, rather than the structure of the home itself. A manufactured home will perform properly in high winds only if it is properly installed. Check the SC Manufactured Housing Board’s website to ensure your installer was licensed.

 

Do your own inspection.

  • Manufactured homes are anchored by a series of 10-20 large steel anchors, depending on the size of the home. The anchors are connected by metal anchor straps to the heavy steel frame that the house rests on.

  • Inspect each anchor strap beneath your home to be certain that there is no slack or play in the strap. Check also for rusted straps and have these replaced.

  • Anchor straps can be tightened with a socket, ratchet, and adjustable wrench, but most homeowners will want to leave the replacement of straps and resetting of anchors to a professional.

Ensure additional structures are secure.

  • You can enhance the safety of your manufactured home by reinforcing home extension such as carports and porches. Usually the site built attachments are more vulnerable to wind than the home itself. These include carports, porches, or any other addition that is not accounted for when the unit is wind tested.

  • If these structures are not reinforced, such as through the use of secure grounding or anti-buckling poles on added-on roofs, they can be easily blown away. This will often result in parts of the otherwise secure manufactured home detaching with them.
  • To learn more about this, please watch this video detailing a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety at this link.