The best and most comprehensive website that we have found regarding Chinese drywall is www.ChineseDrywall.com. The problems are most prevalent in Florida because so much building material was needed after Hurricane Katrina but it has been found in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Chinese drywall has been found in some home in Pennsylvania.
Chinese drywall is a defective drywall that was imported to the US from China between 2001 and 2007 (but mostly during 2004-2006). Over time, the drywall emits sulfur gasses which smells like rotten eggs or ammonia and is corrosive to metals such as copper. Therefore, it can corrode copper pipes and electric wiring. It can damage appliances, electronics, and HVAC systems.
Chinese drywall can also create health and safety issues within a home.
Healthwise: The material is very friable, which means very small particulates can come off the material due to friction. So even if you remove the drywall from the home, during the removal process, you can breathe in the particulate matter and some is likely to remain in the home. In addition, long term exposure to the gases emitted from Chinese drywall can lead to numerous health issues especially in children.
Safetywise: The corrosiveness of Chinese drywall can cause arching of electrical wiring which could lead to an electrical fire. It can also cause the smoke detectors to fail if the wiring within the detector corrodes.
When evaluating a home, a good home inspector should be able to find tell-tale signs of the effects of Chinese drywall if it is present in the home. Careful attention should be made to check for any signs of corrosion in the electric panel, appliances, and HVAC system. One of the first places to check would be the evaporator coils in the air conditioning unit (all the air in a home gets moved across those coils to cool it), look for pitting, corrosion or a black sooty deposit. Another good place to check is the electric outlets and electric panel for blackened ground wires.
Attention should drawn to any unusual odor, sulfur or ammonia smell (even faint) when inspecting a home. Attention should also be drawn to any GFCI outlet that keeps tripping, flickering lights, buzzing noises, discolored switch plates and outlet covers, and any other indication of an electrical issue.
Contact Scott Loper, Associate Broker, Realtor®, RE/MAX Realty Group at 215-513-1333 for help buying or selling a home in Lansdale, Harleysville, Hatfield, Souderton, Skippack, Collegeville, North Wales and the surrounding areas of Montgomery County Pennsylvania. To Search for Homes For Sale in Montgomery County Click Here.
Chinese Drywall - A Synopsis of What You Need to Know Copyright © 2010, The Scott Loper Team, All rights reserved.