Chinese drywall is said to have some health effects such as respiratory issues and headaches. The vast majority of the Chinese drywall that was brought to America was in the early to mid 2000’s which the dates vary depending on which website you go to but the consensus seems to be from 2001 to 2009.
There is some concerns of homes having Chinese drywall in the Central Florida area.
According to some websites, the majority of the Chinese drywall came into South Florida and went up the West Coast of Florida all the way to Louisiana and Texas. It does not appear that much of the Chinese drywall made it to Central Florida but it has been found in the Central Florida area.
The problem with the Chinese drywall is that the chemical makeup that is in the drywall has a bad reaction to metals, primarily copper. The sulfur and acidic compounds of the Chinese drywall caused copper to corrode and cause electrical components within the home to not function properly and need replacement.
Items in the home that are susceptible are electronic devices such as televisions, microwaves, and computers, but one of the big issues is with air conditioning systems. It is been reported that the average life expectancy of an air-conditioning system in a home with Chinese drywall is six months before it fails. The corrosiveness of the Chinese drywall reacts with the copper coils of the air conditioning corroding them and making the Freon leak from the unit making the system no longer able to cool.
Signs your home may have Chinese Drywall
There are many different signs associated with Chinese drywall but the signs can be mimicked by other items.
Blackness on copper from the corrosiveness of Chinese drywall can also happen due to corrosive cleansers that are kept near copper pipes. When inspecting a home, I look for signs of corrosiveness in different areas of the home. I look for signs of corrosion on the copper tubing of the air handler of the air-conditioning system. When the copper tubing is welded, it is cleansed by a product called flux which turns black from being welded so that cannot be taken as a telltale sign of Chinese drywall as every air conditioner will have black on the tubing.
When I take the cover off of the electric panel I also look at the copper wiring for signs of corrosion. When I am looking in the cabinets for plumbing leaks I look for corrosion on pipes that are visible but as stated earlier, corrosion may be caused by other items that have corrosive chemicals such as ajax, comet, or other cleansers or chemicals stored around pipes.
The other place that I am looking for evidence of Chinese drywall is in the attic above the garage where there is no insulation. Drywall is stamped with the manufacturer label of where it was produced. I have found Chinese drywall that is stamped from coming from Beijing China. I have also found drywall that was stamped as being made in America where the drywall was repapered and stamped as American. Whether the drywall came from China or America did not matter to me as it was having an adverse affect upon the copper within the home and I reported it as such.
It is also noted that Chinese drywall will put off a sulfurous rotten egg smell. The problem arises by trying to use this as a method of determining Chinese drywall because when water sits in pipes and in the hot water heater, it releases the same kind of smell when the water is turned on at the faucets. Every sign of Chinese drywall can be caused by a multitude of different sources that have nothing to do with drywall. This is why the state of Florida declares that Chinese drywall can only be detected by having the drywall chemically analyzed which means parts of the drywall will have to be cut and removed from the home and sent to a lab.
This goes beyond the scope of a home inspection as a home inspector is not allowed to cause damage to a home.
If you suspect that a home may have Chinese drywall then it will have to be worked out to have the drywall chemically analyzed in order to prove that Chinese drywall exists within the home.