What's lurking below your mobile home?
by Ryker Huizinga
Do you remember when you were young and had to check under your bed for monsters before you could go to sleep? I sure do! Because of my hyperactive imagination and the poor decision to watch one too many cheesy 80s horror movies, I was absolutely terrified of monsters when I was a kid. Every night I would thoroughly inspect all of the best hiding places in my room before I reluctantly switched off the light and frantically dashed for my bed, fully expecting to be ambushed by a mob of gremlins as soon as everything was dark. I certainly didn't want any mischievous little critters to snack on one of my exposed limbs as I slept, so I wrapped myself in a cocoon of blankets as an extra precaution.
The slightest noise would make my heart race with fear and my mind travel to nightmarish situations. Peace of mind wouldn't arrive until I had finally drifted off to sleep.
Now that I am an adult who is fairly confident that there are no monsters under my bed, I have a more important question to ask: What's lurking below your mobile home? The answer probably isn't monsters, but here are three things that you may find:
Mice, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, insects and other critters may invade the space below your mobile home and cause messes, loud noises, bothersome odors and other damages. Keeping your trash and recycle bins tightly closed and making a point to keep the underside of your home clean of trash and debris are good strategies for keeping otherwise curious animals away. It also helps to keep bird feeders a good distance from your home, as they attract pesky squirrels and raccoons. According to SFGate, sprinkling chili or habanero flakes in the dirt around your home is an effective way to repel many animals. But if you do end up finding an animal under your home, don't try to remove it yourself. Instead, call your local animal control service−they can help you find a safe solution.
If there is an abundance of clay in the soil around your home or if your yard is not graded well, any water that collects under your home may not be able to drain properly. Rainfall and even plumbing leaks can lead to excess moisture, and if you don't act quickly to fix this problem, your home could become musty and moldy. My Mobile Home Makeover suggests addressing the issue of pooling rain water by stapling plastic sheeting to the bottom frames of skirting so that any water that collects will be absorbed beneath the plastic and will not damage the bottom of your home. You can also install gutters to prevent rain water from pooling underneath or around your home.
It never hurts to thoroughly inspect the bottom of your mobile home for holes. Gaps, tears and open spaces enable animals to sneak in and make your home their own. Holes could also expose water pipes and wires, which could easily be damaged by outside elements. If you find holes in the polyethylene belly wrap below your home, SFGate suggests stuffing fiberglass insulation into the space before patching it. Additionally, cleaning the area around the hole will make the patch stick more effectively. Lastly, if you plan to file a claim with your insurance company, be sure to take photos of the holes and other damages and keep careful records of your receipts and invoices related to any mobile home underbelly repairing projects.
Routinely checking under your mobile home for animals, water and holes will help you stay aware of potentially monstrous damages that require your attention.