My wife and I bought a manufactured home on December 20, 2007. The house was manufactured in 2002 by Skyline; model BIR/SKYLINE, serial number AC491 10272 PB. First, we had a refrigerator leak. We fixed the leak and did not think of under the floor system damage until the bathtub trap had failed. The bathtub sewer water spread under the floor system effecting about 500 SF of insulation, floor underlay and even the carpet in the house. Under-the-floor insulation worked like a sponge, delivering the water from the under the house insulation, wrapped by plastic film, up to the floor carpet. The insurance coverage for this damage was too small and the contractors' prices too high so I decided to make the repair by myself. During the repair I had to remove the wet insulation from under the house and left the floor joists and underlay flooring system open in order to let them dry. At this time Hurricane Irene struck our area creating more damages. The entire HVAC system under the house and more insulation were affected.
The flood coverage was significant but still could not cover repair costs. The repair prices jumped up in our area, widely affected by the hurricane and flood. The winter was coming and I did not have either heat or proper floor insulation in my house. My options were either to find an expensive contractor and fight with the insurance company for additional money or to replace the entire under-the-floor HVAC system and insulation by myself. Faced with the oncoming winter, I chose the second option.
I spent three month in the hell under my house but I am glad that I did this work by myself. I found and fix all poorly manufactured parts under my house. After I fixed under the house damages, I spent two more month to finish the mold remediation inside the house. During the damp August weather, the mold can built in a few days after the plumbing or roofing leaks. The air conditioning system was on for several weeks before we detected the plumbing leak and the entire house was molded, affecting the household health.
I also found the mold in the ceiling and in the bathrooms' walls. The moisture came from the ceiling bathroom fan and ventilation pipes. In my opinion this should not happen in a less than 10 years old house. I found many cracks on the roof shingles and sealed them before I repaired the ceilings and walls adjacent to the restrooms. I also spent several days working in my kitchen. I found that the kitchen plumbing was poorly fabricated. Multiple leaks created multiple mold areas. The entire kitchen cabinets and plumbing had to be replaced.
The biggest damage was done to my wife. She has asthma. I cannot prove that the house mold caused her sickness but the mold in the house and heavy mold remediation chemicals obviously worsened her condition. My wife works from home and has to spend most of the time in the house. Prior to the mold remediation being completed she used any opportunity to go out and can testify that the heavy asthmatic symptoms disappeared in an hour after leaving the molded house. For a year and a half, the mold in our house turned our life into a disaster. My wife coughed very much day and night. Actually all of us, my wife, me and my stepson were periodically caught by cough. Dehumidifiers and air purifiers were working all around the clock, making noise and increasing our electrical expenses.
I am a 58 years old man. I started the under-the-house work feeling like a strong man. After I finished the repair I now feel like an old man, ready for retirement. I constantly cough. I cannot work in any air polluted or dusty areas. I work as a construction professional and the construction dust is an unavoidable part of my job. Since I became sensitive to chemical smells and dust I cannot manage several trades and it is much more difficult for me to find a job. Instead of working I have to see my physician to check myself for asthma and/or allergy.
EVALUATION OF HVAC/INSULATION IN MY HOUSE
(I have photo and documentary evidences for all facts stated in this chapter.)
1. Based on my homeowner experience, the biggest mistake made by Skyline Corporation was to wrap understructure with only one moisture protection film. This plastic forms one gigantic bag, covering under-the-floor insulation, plumbing and HVAC system. Any water-leak which comes into this sealed bag from above cannot be easily detected until the significant amount of water is collecting inside this bag, destroying large amounts of insulation and forming mold.
2. Potentially leaking areas under the refrigerator, kitchen and restroom sinks, and bathroom tubs are not protected by any pans or drainage. Additionally, the joints between the walls and floor are not sealed in the kitchen and bathrooms. As a result, any plumbing leaks from above the floor deck can easily penetrate the flooring system and undetectably moisture built up under the floor system. Water spreads like a cancer inside the plastic wrap ruining insulation and HVAC system.
3. The similar situation can happen in case of a bathtub leak. In my model Skyline the bathtub trap is placed right above the HVAC duct. The HVAC duct in my model was manufactured from rigid insulation, unprotected from inside of the duct and easily penetrated by water from outside. The wet HVAC duct is built from rigid insulation and can become molded within a few days, spreading the mold around the entire house. The area under the bath tubs is practically unreachable and it is virtually impossible to dry or/and treat this area for mold unless the entire tub is removed. Such a repair involves extensive plumbing, flooring, HVAC and insulation repair. Small leak from the bath tub can easily turn into a huge problem as it was happening in my house.
4. The poor manufacturing of my house created a variety of potential leak threats and heat losses. The small floor cuts for plumbing pipes were not properly sealed creating mold in under-floor insulation in case of even a small appliance leak (for example from the refrigerator's icemaker as it happened in my house). 5. Roofing vents were not properly sealed, creating mold in the ceiling and adjacent walls.
POOR QUALITY AND EXPENSIVE MAINTANENCE OF SKYLINE PRODUCT
(I have photo and documentary evidences for all facts stated in this chapter.)
1. Some HVAC pipes were not covered by additional insulation. They were hung a feet beyond the protective plastic and were poorly connected.
2. Protective plastic film was cut in many areas, exposing the under-the-house insulation to the outside humidity.
3. Electrical box under the kitchen was not properly wired.
4. When I called to Skyline for spare plumbing parts (kitchen trap) they told me that the part I need is not on the market any more. As a result I had to change a big part of the plumbing and, as they said, "reconfigure" kitchen and bath plumbing systems. That was an expensive task.
5. Due to the small distance from the bottom of the house to the concrete slab, the under-floor maintenance of my house is extremely difficult and dangerous work. I could not find a contractor for the repair I needed. Nobody wanted this job even for a significant compensation. Only a very slim, short and athletic person can work effectively under my manufactured home. Actually this work requires team work. There is not enough air to breath under the house and even a good dust mask cannot effectively protect the worker from the construction dust, mold and pollution. There is not enough space to wear a heavy protection suit. The worker must lay on the concrete while he is making the repair. Some places are so narrow that it is even impossible to rotate the body. Some areas are so crowded by the plumbing and gas pipes, electrical wires and HVAC parts that the repair takes an enormously long time and it is very easy to damage one part while making a repair to another part. In case someone can find a contractor for such a job, the owner would have no control on the quality of the provided repair unless he or she were to creep under the house. Not everybody can do this.
COMPLAINTS COLLECTED IN THIS CHAPTER CAN BE OBJECTED
Explanation: I had no intention to complain about Skyline products before I had begun the repair. Therefore I did not document the early stages of the repair. The previous owner could be blamed for some technical imperfections, such as under-the kitchen sink leaks.
Therefore the complaints presented in this chapter could not be supported by documentation and can be objected to as fabrication. But, I wish to mention them anyway.
1. Some flexible HVAC pipes were not joined to the main HVAC duct at all. I found that one pipe was placed about 8 inches apart from the point of connection. The heat/cool was simply blowing toward the pipe, involving particles of surrounded insulation in the distributed air and polluting the entire house.
2. HVAC duct was brutally penetrated by plumbing pipes in several spots. Those holes in HVAC was neither sealed nor insulated.
3. The duct itself was squashed and had many air leaks.
4. Almost each HVAC floor register was full of construction dust and junk.
5. Multiple round cuts of the floor and HVAC duct were left in the insulation and in the main HVAC duct.
6. I also found several markers, pieces of construction materials, cut pieces of plumbing pipes and other debris in the under-the-house insulation and in the main HVAC duct.
7. The perforated duct from the dryer was neither properly placed on the floor, nor properly connected to the outside register. It also was not correctly sealed, blowing the dust from the dryer in the house.
8. Insulation in the bay around one electrical box was totally absent and wires were exposed.
I summarized all my complaints in one simple web file which can be opened in a browser. I included many photos and have documents to prove my story.
I sent all this to Mr.Ronald Foster Director, Consumer Affairs, but did not receive any answer yet. I would love to share my story by showing my photos. I can send them to the moderator of this site or to anyone who is interested. I appreciate any advice.
PS If you e-mail me, please write the subject:
“RE: your problems with Skyline house” or I can disregard your message under the threat of a spam.