Chinese Drywall Problems

What is Chinese Drywall

Chinese Drywall refers to defective or tainted drywall imported from China from 2001 to 2007 which emits sulfur gasses which usually (but not always) creates a noxious odor and corrodes copper and other metal surfaces, thereby damaging your air conditioner, electrical wiring, copper plumbing, appliances and electronics.

Chinese drywall can also cause adverse health effects, although experts disagree whether these effects are merely irritants or present a more imminent or chronic health hazard.

While the material source of the problem is known, a complete understanding of the cause of the problem remains unknown, which is likely due in part because different mines were involved, there were different manufacturing processes, and different types of construction and building materials were used.

Chinese drywall is typically mixed in with untainted drywall, which is why people should not assume that their home is fine if they find U.S. drywall. Moreover, U.S. drywall may have been manufactured in China and rebranded.

Signs of Chinese Drywall

Bad smell

Does your home smell like rotten eggs or ammonia (sometimes a sweetish smell)? Is it more noticeable when entering your home and then seems to dissipate? The level of odor varies greatly in each home as does each person’s ability to detect the odor. Of course, the strength of the odor also depends on how much drywall was used in the home. Significantly, some homeowners report no smell, but their home clearly has Chinese drywall. In short, do not rely on your nose alone, particularly since many develop olfactory fatigue after being exposed to Chinese drywall.

Corrosion of coils and wires

One of the telltale signs is corrosion/pitting of the air conditioner evaporator coils (which are located inside the air handler). Many owners are first advised of a freon leak, and as the corrosion progresses, evaporator coils eventually need replacement. An examination of the coils typically (but not always) reveals a black sooty deposit, which may also appear on the freon line. Chinese drywall also corrodes electrical wiring. After turning off the power (please be careful as you could get shocked), check the electrical receptacles in your walls to see if the ground wires are blackened. The wires in this photo have been corroded from Chinese drywall. Since many homes have mixed drywall (i.e., good and bad drywall), not all ground wires will show blackening. There are also cases that are not clear cut so please consult a qualified inspector.

Corroded Coils

Corroded Coils

Corroded copper tubing

Corroded copper tubing

Clean coils

Clean coils

Normal copper tubing

Normal copper tubing

 

Signs of corroded electrical wires

Signs of an electrical problem include a circuit breaker which frequently needs resetting without an apparent cause (particularly a GFCI or AFCI); lights that flicker without any apparent cause; bright flashes or sparks anywhere in your electrical system (this may indicate arcing conditions in the wiring); buzzing from electrical systems, switch plates, dimmers and outlet covers that are discolored from overheating; and a smell from overheating plastic

Schedule Indoor Air Quality Testing

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