Maintaining your manufactured home is important for many reasons. Good maintenance is the best way to keep the value of the home high to build equity for the future. It also helps ensure the safety and comfort of the home year-round. Maintenance isn’t necessarily always enjoyable or exciting, but it is an important responsibility as an owner or renter of a manufactured home.
Many of the tasks that are important for home maintenance only need to be done once a year, and others only twice. Yes, these actions take a little of our time each year, but they can go a long way toward preserving the comfort and quality of your home for years to come. If these tasks aren’t completed each year, the lack of maintenance on your home can build up and result in frustrating, expensive issues down the road.
This helpful Annual Maintenance Checklist for Manufactured Homes includes 8 items to review every year. If all of these areas are addressed annually, you can be certain you’re on the path of happy home ownership.
Annual Home Maintenance Checklist
These are the 8 items you should check and maintain yearly on your manufactured home:
Make sure the home structure is solid and level.
Check your foundation or support structure for any cracks or imbalances caused by potential settling. This is one of the most important items to check each year, especially for the first few years of the home in a new location. Just like site-built homes, mobile homes can start to sink and settle over time. A manufactured home should be releveled on a semi-regular basis to account for shifting. Homes with more complicated or permanent foundations should be checked professionally at least once a year for the first few years to ensure that settling or shifting hasn’t occurred.1
A cracked foundation or unlevel home can cause a whole host of other problems if not taken care of, such as doors and windows that won’t shut or seal properly, leaks or cracks in the walls, and drafts of air and humidity entering the home. Stress on one small part of the home structure can impact the entire home, causing it to age quicker and potentially even leading to warping or bowing. You can check to see if your home is level using a standard carpenter level or water level. In more permanent foundations such as crawl spaces, slab foundations, or basement foundations, visible cracking, sagging or shifting is usually the biggest indicator of damage.
Look for holes, avoid excess moisture.
The skirting or perimeter enclosure around the bottom of your manufactured home is designed to keep unwanted moisture from getting into the underbelly of the home. Check regularly to make sure there are no holes or cracks in your solid skirting that might allow moisture (or even rodents!) to get into the home.
While you don’t want holes or damage to the solid portion of your skirting, you do still want to make sure the skirting is properly ventilated. Good skirting ventilation involves having approximately one square foot of venting for every 150 square feet of space under the home. Proper ventilation will help to avoid the collection of too much moisture beneath the home, which could lead to problems with uncomfortable humidity and difficulty regulating temperature. Too much moisture under the home, whether from holes in the skirting or from lack of ventilation, can even lead to issues with foundation and flooring.
Check for damage, reseal or recoat.
Check regularly, at least twice a year, to make sure there is no debris and no broken or missing shingles on the roof. You’ll also want to look over the flashing to make sure it is in good condition, and ensure there aren’t any cracks or soft spots in the roof caulking. Any imperfections or weaknesses in the roof could lead to moisture, air, and other problematic elements or even vermin getting into the roof cavity of the home.
Resealing or recoating the roof of your manufactured home every year is also a great idea – especially for flat roof manufactured homes. Roof coating is essential to keeping your indoor temperature regulated and keeping your home dry. The type of coating you need depends on the type of roof or roof cap installed on your home, so be sure you are using the right coating for your specific roof material. For example, asphalt and aluminum coatings cannot be used on PVC or rubber (EPDM) roofs. You should also be checking regularly for debris and broken or missing shingles. Check to see that the flashing is in good condition and there aren’t any.
Clean them out regularly.
Checking and cleaning your gutters frequently is one of the easiest ways to prevent damages to the roof and exterior of your manufactured home. Having clogged gutters can end up causing leaks and water damage to the home. If ignored for too long clogged cutters can become heavy with debris and break or fall off the house, causing significant external damage to the home and property.
Even if you don’t live near large trees, debris like dirt, leaves, and even rocks can be carried through the air and deposited into your gutters. Cleaning out the gutters once a year is a great idea for any homeowner. For those living in areas where rain or snowfall or common this should be checked and cleaned at least twice every year, ideally once in the spring and once just before winter.
Clean it, don’t ignore it.
Clean your siding regularly to avoid mold and mildew growing on the exterior paneling. Siding is one of the most commonly ignored parts of a manufactured home when it comes to maintenance, but it should definitely be on your list of items to address each year. If your manufactured home has vinyl siding, the most common type of siding, water with detergent is a very effective cleaning solution.
Mildew can sometimes be more difficult to remove, especially if it hasn’t been cleaned or scrubbed for some time, but a helpful tip is to mix a 1:3 solution of chlorine bleach and water. This is a very effective way to break down and get rid of mildew, but be cautious because mixing bleach with certain substances can be dangerous.
There are also many different special cleaning products designed to cut through mold and rust on the exterior of a home. Using a homemade or store-bought cleaning solution to scrub the outside siding of your home once a year is an excellent way to keep the home in good condition and avoid long-term exterior damage.
Window and Vent Caulking
Review, reseal, and repeat.
Checking the caulking around your windows and vents is always a good idea, but this is an especially important step before the winter months if you live somewhere with significant temperature changes. Extreme temperature changes can eventually cause caulking to shrink, split or break down, which can result in cracks, gaps, or warping in the seals that protect your home’s climate. When airflow enters through damaged seals around windows or vents, it makes your home less comfortable and your heating or cooling costs higher.
Many people think to check their window seals before wintertime but often forget about other seals around vents, ducts, and other systems that are sealed from outside exposure with caulking or sealant. Resealing once a year before cool weather hits can help to keep unwanted air and moisture out, keeping your energy bills lower and making your home more comfortable all year long.
Heating and HVAC Systems
Clean your filters frequently, vacuum annually.
Clean out your air ventilation and heating systems frequently, at least several times each year, to improve the air quality in your manufactured home. Not only does changing your filters regularly help keep the home comfortable and in good condition, it can also help decrease the effects of allergies, asthma, and other breathing and skin problems.
Changing and cleaning filters is a great step towards air cleanliness and system maintenance, but it is still a good idea to fully vacuum out these air systems once each year. You can rent a heavy-duty vacuum to do this cleaning yourself, or have professionals come to clean out the entire air system and check your ducts, vents, etc. This type of maintenance also makes the heating, cooling and HVAC systems last longer, which can save you money in the long run. It can be expensive to replace an entire air system, so preventative maintenance and cleaning is the way to go.
Smart Cleaning Indoors
Use gentile products and solutions.
Wipe walls, surfaces and fixtures with a gentle detergent annually to avoid discoloration. Of course most of the cleaning done in your home happens more frequently than once a year, but no matter how frequently you’re cleaning it’s important to remember the downside of using abrasive cleaning products. The harsh chemicals in these products can actually cause certain items in the home to appear yellowed, faded, or discolored. You should avoid using abrasive solutions like pure bleach in the house whenever possible, especially on fiberglass fixtures like sinks, tubs and showers. Using corrosive chemicals for cleaning indoors can cause these features to become tarnished and appear older than they really are.
** Home Maintenance Pro Tips:
Watch out for warranties with maintenance requirements.
It’s not always the case, but some warranties may list specific maintenance or cleaning requirements that you must complete in order for the warranty to stay valid. For example, certain carpet manufacturers require a professional carpet cleaning at least once a year to keep the warranty in effect. You should review any warranties on your home, appliances, heating/cooling systems, carpet and furniture to make note of any warranties that depend on regular home maintenance in order to uphold the coverage.
Choose a manufactured home community that offers maintenance.
One of the many benefits of living in a manufactured home community is that they often provide certain aspects of maintenance included in their lot or home unit rental price. Depending on the community these offerings can range from yard maintenance only, to gutter cleaning and annual winterizing, to full plumbing and heating maintenance. Research the communities in your area to see what maintenance services might be included, as this could save you time, money, and headache each year when going through this maintenance checklist.
Maintain your Manufactured Home to Maintain Your Happiness
Manufactured home maintenance may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that site-built homes require even more expensive cleaning and maintenance to stay nice. It’s worth completing things each year in order to avoid disastrous circumstances in the future, and you’ll feel good knowing your home is in the best shape it can be. Creating a simple calendar that lays out maintenance tasks for the year ahead can be a great way to get organized and make sure you don’t miss out on these important annual activities. By taking these simple steps you avoid costly and stressful damages in the future, keeping your family comfortable and your home happy.