FAQ: Can A Mobile Home Withstand 80 MPH Winds?
You’re all set to move into a beautiful mobile home you just purchased, but you’ve got a nagging question: how safe is this new dwelling place? Everyone in the neighborhood seems to be talking about how stormy this year has been so far. And it looks like the crazy weather will continue.
You really want to move in, take a deep breath, and start feeling settled but you’re still worried about those potential storms. You feel like you’d breathe easier if you could get an answer to this question: can a mobile home withstand 80 mph winds?
The short answer
The short answer is, it depends. In general, there are several factors that bear on whether your mobile home can withstand 80 mph winds. To answer the question, there are things we need to consider. For example, how old your mobile home is, where you’re living, and whether your home has any attachments.
“Location, location, location”
It has become a cliche that real estate agents will tell you the three important factors when buying/selling a home are “location, location, location”. However, the importance of location also holds true when evaluating the question can a mobile home withstand 80 mph winds. It depends to a certain extent on where you live. Wherever you live in the US, you fall into a particular “wind zone” by the federal government’s calculations.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has developed standards for manufactured homes in different areas of the US. Each area has different wind zones. Standards that divide the country into zones have been set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Different zones have different wind speeds associated with them. Check out FEMA’s Wind Zone Comparisons to learn more about the different standards.
Which wind zone?
To point out, the Manufactured Housing Institute offers their Basic Wind Zone Map with the following information: “The HUD Code stipulates that at §3280.305(c)(1) and §3280.305(c)(2), the home shall be designed and constructed to conform to one of three wind load zones. The appropriate wind zone used in design is dependent on where the home will be initially installed…”
- Firstly, wind zone I equates to a 70-mph fastest-mile wind speed
- Secondly, wind zone II equates to a 100-mph fastest-mile wind speed
- Thirdly, wind zone III equates to a 110-mph fastest-mile wind speed
For one thing, based on the Basic Wind Zone Map, if you live in a home designed for states such as Colorado or Idaho, you shouldn’t expect your mobile home to be able to withstand an 80 mph wind. However, it’s different if you’re placing your mobile home on the eastern seaboard. Chances are your home has engineering that can withstand winds greater than 80 mph.
Find the data plate
To clarify, when talking about the safety of you and your family, we don’t want to rest with “chances are.” In fact, we want to go ahead and check whether your mobile home has particular engineering for the zone you’re going to be living in. How do we do that? We have three words for you: the data plate. Otherwise known as the HUD tag, this data plate gives you vital information about your mobile home.
Also, the data plate should already be in or on your mobile home. So you won’t have far to go.
Don’t know where to find it?
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests the following spots as likely data plate locations: “on or near the main electrical panel, in a kitchen cabinet, in a bedroom closet.” Additionally, HUD advises that your data plate should even have its own map. This will let you know what wind zone you’re in.
Once you find that data plate, check it to be sure that the wind zone, which should match the design of your home, matches the wind zone you’re living in. As the Manufactured Housing Institute wind map notes, it’s okay if the design of your home was for Zone II (100 mph). But you’re living in Zone I (70 mph). You’re extra prepared at that rate. What you need to be concerned about is if your home was engineered for Zone II (100 mph) but got placed in Zone III where it needs to be able to withstand 110 mph winds. It may not pass muster if you do find yourself in the midst of a big storm.
Two caveats when asking can a mobile home withstand 80 MPH winds
There are two more points we suggest you keep in mind.
Does your mobile home have any attachments, like a carport or screened-in porch? If it does, you’ll want to consider those separately. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety warns: “attached structures frequently fail at much lower wind speeds than the buildings to which they are attached.”
Next, you want to figure out how old your mobile home is. The specifications HUD holds mobile homes to have only been in effect since 1976. And some of the wind specifications are even more recent than that according to the Insurance Institute for Business Home and Safety’s information. So if your mobile home is old, you want to keep in mind the possibility that the HUD’s safety standards didn’t even apply when it was built.
So just remember…
When answering the question can a mobile home withstand 80 mph winds, remember that no two mobile homes have exactly the same situation. The answer will differ for each home. It will depend on factors like whether your home is sitting on an expansive Texas prairie or waiting for vacationers in a cozy New England coastal cove. Also, depending on what location your mobile home was originally engineered for.
Once you’ve checked your mobile home’s data plate, be sure that the location you chose matches up with the design of your mobile home. Check your home’s build date. And the nature of any attachments. Then, you and your family can hunker down and rest easy as the next storm rolls in.