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How Long Will an Anchor Last?
By George Porter
Have you ever heard of anyone replacing anchors because they
were worn out or not good anymore? I know I haven't and it worries
me. Have you ever seen anchors and/or straps that were so rusty
that you could not turn the slotted bolt or step on the strap
without something coming apart? There must be a useful life to
one of these things and it is surly a function of what sort of
place they are used in. Out west in the desert these things will
probably last forever. Anchors have some pretty fair protection
required by the HUD Code, for instance the code states that all
the parts of any anchoring equipment exposed to weathering must
have a resistance to weather deterioration. An anchor strap is
supposed to be Type 1, Finish B, Grade 1 steel, 1-1/4 inches wide
and 0.035 inches thick and conform with ASTM Standard Specification
D3953-91, "Slit or cut edges of zinc-coated steel strapping
do not have to be zinc coated". These means when a manufacturer
makes it or when you cut it off you don't have to re-galvanize
the edges. The strap is the weakest link here as far as weathering
is concerned. It takes 30 pieces laid together to become an inch
thick so what do you think a little coating of rust can do to
it. This is the strap that according to the Code must be capable
of resisting a pull of 4725 lbs. This sounds like an anchoring
system should hold up pretty well, especially since it is under
the home and sort of protected from rain etc. At least common
sense would make you think so.
Can we rely on common sense here? Maybe not. For instance,
did you know that the anchor itself is absolutely not covered
by the HUD Code according to Government officials. It is however
part of an anchoring system. The distinction is that all the straps
buckles etc. must meet HUD criteria but the anchors themselves
do not! The "anchoring system" by HUD definition is
a system that is capable of transferring all the anchoring loads
to the ground. This doesn't mean that there are no regulations
on anchors in the country.
Several states have criteria for anchors and test them to see
that they meet that standard. This standard is basically how hard
can you pull on it before it fails. In states that have this regulation
of anchors the numbers are the same as for the HUD regulated anchoring
equipment, 3150 lbs with a capable of withstanding a 50% overload,
bringing it up to 4725 lbs.
The states that have installation regulations that use the
manufacturers manual as the criteria for installation may cover
anchors as well. This is assuming that the manufacturers manual
describes exactly what the anchor is supposed to be. All states
and manufacturers when they refer to the actual anchor, only talk
about it's holding power, not it's weather protection, except
one, Florida .
Florida , starting about Jan 1, 1999 , is requiring hot dipped
galvanizing on all anchors and stabilizer plates and they are
doubling the required protection on the straps. There will probably
be a certain grace period to get rid of existing stocks and then
it will be the only equipment you can use.
Why did they do this? because they have seen too many anchors
that just can't hold a home anymore because of rust. Florida is
surrounded by salt water and the soil has a high salt content.
Iron anchors and damp salty environments don't mix very well.
Is there anyone out there who has not seen a rusty anchor? A little
coating of rust on the anchor itself is probably not a dangerous
thing but when the anchor has large flakes of rust falling off
of it then it has got to be getting weaker.
Florida is addressing the problems of the anchor. When they
have established that their standard really does protect the home,
the question will then become are the consumers in other states
protected? If you have a regulation concerning anchoring where
you live then you as a dealer or installer might be released from
liability because you are following the state law no matter what
If you have a legal problem in a state that has no anchor regulations
then a court will decide if you exercised reasonable care. They
might also ask you if you advised the consumer that his anchors
might not last as long as the loan and that he should check them
from time to time for deterioration. If you do business anywhere
near the coast this would be something you might want to put on
a paper for the customer to sigh at settlement. If you don't do
any of these things and the prosecuting attorney uses the Florida
standards as "reasonable care" then you have a problem.
Why would he not use the Florida standards for rust protection?
Your state probably doesn't have any and in that case he can use
anyone's he wants as long as the Judge listens. You will then
be asked if you have ever seen a badly rusted anchor or strap
in all your years in the business of manufactured housing? Your
answer will of course be "Yes". The next question will
be "did you warn my client about this or give him any warning
that he might want to check on the anchoring equipment from time
to time so his wife and kids could remain as safe in the home
as when it was first installed?" You might not want to answer