Lightning strikes mobile home

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PapaGreg

Member
I looked at a 16'x80' mobile home that was struck by lightning. The home was not connected to an electrical service and not inhabited when it was struck. A ceiling light fixture canopy has holes burned through it, long black smoke trails up the wall from a receptacle, both are in the master bedroom. Vinyl siding broke off in small pieces around the front door, appears to be where lightning struck. Holes are burned in fascia metal six to eight feet from any electrical wiring. I would not want to say that the house is safe to hook to electrical power unless all the wiring system was replaced. Does anyone have a comment on this house .
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
How is a mobile home being struck by lightening any different than a stick built home that is struck?

Would you want to replace all the wiring in a stick built house that was struck by lightening? Or would you be satisfied by just replacing what was damaged?

The key of course woould be to find a way to determine the extent of damage. :)
 

hurk27

Senior Member
The problem will be doing a visual inspection of the wiring, lightning can blow off all the insulation of the wiring but leave the conductors where they are not touching, even a megger won't detect this, on a stick built house at least most of the wall we use are the inside non-insulated walls, where we can run a snake camera down the wall to inspect the wiring, but in manufactured housing most of the wiring is installed in the ceilings or floors, and or the insulated outside walls, where it is impossible to do a visual inspection, the only way this home could be stamped safe would be to contact the manufacture and they send out a crew to open the areas where the wiring is located, the reason for using the manufacture is they will have the location of the wiring on file at the factory, if this is not done, I would not hang my name anywhere on this home, as open bare conductors inside of walls are a fire waiting to happen, it will cause pyro-carbonization of any wood in contact of a bare hot conductor, and while this takes time it will eventually burst into a fire.

CYA on this one, RUN!

I should say unless you can get the manufacture to give a letter of safness of this home, then the insurance should give the owner a total write off, as it will not be safe to live in, the cost to do a total rewire, will most likely exceed the value of the home.
 
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PapaGreg

Member
How is a mobile home being struck by lightening any different than a stick built home that is struck?

Would you want to replace all the wiring in a stick built house that was struck by lightening? Or would you be satisfied by just replacing what was damaged?

The key of course woould be to find a way to determine the extent of damage. :)
I don't think it would matter.The only difference being that there is no connection to an electrical ground with the power being unhooked. How would you determine what the extent of the damage is to wiring that is behind wallboard or in the non accessible attic space without removing wallboard and ceiling materials?
 

tallgirl

Senior Member
I don't think it would matter.The only difference being that there is no connection to an electrical ground with the power being unhooked. How would you determine what the extent of the damage is to wiring that is behind wallboard or in the non accessible attic space without removing wallboard and ceiling materials?
That's the main issue, I see. The strike had to find a way to dirt, and without anything like a service ground, it probably wandered all over the place, looking for whatever was electrically closest to earth.

Most likely the frame was the closest to earth potential and any wires that ran close to the frame (as others have mentioned, probably a lot of them), would have carried part of the current.

Had the trailer been connected to a service, the path would have been much easier and (I'm guessing ...) the damage to those conductors more severe and more readily detectable.
 

ceb58

Senior Member
Location
Raeford, NC
How would you determine what the extent of the damage is to wiring that is behind wallboard or in the non accessible attic space without removing wallboard and ceiling materials?
You couldn't. If the mobile home was still insured the insurance company may total loss it. Depending on what year model it is a single wide will depreciate just like a car. If it is not insured then the owner still must see what its value is. Doesn't make sense to spend two to three time the value unless you know you will make money from it.
 

hurk27

Senior Member
Wayne jump in.

How would you re-wire or fix a HUD unit?

It is my understanding that you may NOT modify a HUD unit.
Would you call replacing conductors damaged by lightning a repair or being modified?

I would say repairing to HUD minimum's is all that would be needed to meet CFR 24-3280.800

remember in some places HUD requirements are more relaxed, while in other areas there can be more requirements

As far as not being able to modify a HUD building, I have never heard such a thing as long as code is followed, they get modified all the time, never had a problem, central airs added after the fact, ceiling fans, lights changed, outlet added here and there?, free standing additions, but there are regulations that must be followed. the question is will it get inspected, well here we are to call the state HUD department and they send out a field inspector, but we all know that will hardly happen in most cases.

Sure you can make changes, but these changes are supposed to get inspected, here in Indiana that happens at state level only, most of our local inspectors wouldn't have a clue in inspecting a HUD home.

Also modifications can be done and certified by the manufacture through their state HUD QC inspector, why I mentioned to the OP to get ahold of the manufacture.
 

jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
Would you call replacing conductors damaged by lightning a repair or being modified?

I would say repairing to HUD minimum's is all that would be needed to meet CFR 24-3280.800

remember in some places HUD requirements are more relaxed, while in other areas there can be more requirements

As far as not being able to modify a HUD building, I have never heard such a thing as long as code is followed, they get modified all the time, never had a problem, central airs added after the fact, ceiling fans, lights changed, outlet added here and there?, free standing additions, but there are regulations that must be followed. the question is will it get inspected, well here we are to call the state HUD department and they send out a field inspector, but we all know that will hardly happen in most cases.

Sure you can make changes, but these changes are supposed to get inspected, here in Indiana that happens at state level only, most of our local inspectors wouldn't have a clue in inspecting a HUD home.

Also modifications can be done and certified by the manufacture through their state HUD QC inspector, why I mentioned to the OP to get ahold of the manufacture.
And this is why I asked you to jump in.
 

hurk27

Senior Member
You're going to need to meg everything out just to know what needs to be replaced.
Like I said in post 3, meggers will only detect if a conductor has shorted or is allowing current to flow to ground, in many cases of lightning strikes this does not happen, the insulation of the NM can be blown off the conductors leaving nothing but the bare conductors hanging between staples, not touching anything to cause a short, but if a hot touches a wood framing member it will cause a fire over time by Pyro-carbonization of the wood which will result in a flash over after a long time period.

A good visual on the conductors is the only sure inspection that will detect the damage.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
Like I said in post 3, meggers will only detect if a conductor has shorted or is allowing current to flow to ground, in many cases of lightning strikes this does not happen, the insulation of the NM can be blown off the conductors leaving nothing but the bare conductors hanging between staples, not touching anything to cause a short, but if a hot touches a wood framing member it will cause a fire over time by Pyro-carbonization of the wood which will result in a flash over after a long time period.

A good visual on the conductors is the only sure inspection that will detect the damage.
Well I would have to say that he insurance company is probably not going to pay to have the walls taken off so that the conductors can be visualy inspected.
 

hurk27

Senior Member
Well I would have to say that he insurance company is probably not going to pay to have the walls taken off so that the conductors can be visually inspected.
Like I said most likely this trailer would be written off as a total loss, unless the manufacture could provide field repairs at a lower cost. (which I doubt)

In no way would I megger this trailer and put my stamp of approval on it to be safe to live in without having the conductors visually checked
 
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pfalcon

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
These things depreciate faster than cars. So it's probably totaled out. Resale price is often based on the opportunity to take the lot it's on.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
The problem will be doing a visual inspection of the wiring, lightning can blow off all the insulation of the wiring but leave the conductors where they are not touching, even a megger won't detect this, on a stick built house at least most of the wall we use are the inside non-insulated walls, where we can run a snake camera down the wall to inspect the wiring, but in manufactured housing most of the wiring is installed in the ceilings or floors, and or the insulated outside walls, where it is impossible to do a visual inspection, the only way this home could be stamped safe would be to contact the manufacture and they send out a crew to open the areas where the wiring is located, the reason for using the manufacture is they will have the location of the wiring on file at the factory, if this is not done, I would not hang my name anywhere on this home, as open bare conductors inside of walls are a fire waiting to happen, it will cause pyro-carbonization of any wood in contact of a bare hot conductor, and while this takes time it will eventually burst into a fire.

CYA on this one, RUN!

I should say unless you can get the manufacture to give a letter of safness of this home, then the insurance should give the owner a total write off, as it will not be safe to live in, the cost to do a total rewire, will most likely exceed the value of the home.
If insurance is involved - they should just get a new home. If insurance is not involved they should still get a new home but it is not always easy to convince the owners that.

Wayne jump in.

How would you re-wire or fix a HUD unit?

It is my understanding that you may NOT modify a HUD unit.
How can they expect these things to remain the same as they were when they left the manufacturer, remember those HUD rules apply to more than just the electrical system. You saying they are not even allowed to paint the walls or replace carpet?

Sometimes replacing a carpet can double the value of the home:)
 

dmagyar

Senior Member
Location
Rocklin, Ca.
It can't be worth the risk

It can't be worth the risk

Like I said most likely this trailer would be written off as a total loss, unless the manufacture could provide field repairs at a lower cost. (which I doubt)

In no way would I megger this trailer and put my stamp of approval on it to be safe to live in without having the conductors visually checked
As others have added I'm with walking/running away from this. Who knows what is hidden, with you on the hook for anything you don't find.

What's the upside? How much are they willing to pay you for totally inspecting and verifying that everythings safe?

What's your insurance carrrier say about this liability you may be getting into? My insurance carrier doesn't really want me doing electrical work (seems almost true) they just want the premium.
 
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