(And What to Do About Them)
Have you noticed a horrible rotten eggs smell in your home and can’t find the source of it? Is your air conditioner and other home appliances out of order surprisingly often? These are the unpleasant signs that your house may be using construction material that came to be known as Chinese drywall – and the smell is not the worst thing it can do.
After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, there was a shortage of construction materials in the US because of massive residential property reconstruction, so drywall was imported from China to compensate for the shortage. Most of the drywall, imported between 2006 and 2007, turned out contaminated, and since then the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received more than 3,000 complaints from property owners in 37 states (the majority coming from Florida).
The homeowners complained the Chinese drywall, used in their homes, caused metal corrosion (blackened, corroded pipes), failure or malfunction of their air conditioning systems and other electrical appliances, and numerous negative health effects, such as coughing or irritated eyes. Due to this, whether or not the building contains Chinese drywall has become an important factor for Florida residents, looking to buy, sell, or insure property. If your home or the house you are planning to buy is showing signs of defective Chinese drywall present, you’ll want to be fully aware of the issue and know how to handle it.
How Does Chinese Drywall Affect Health and Why?
There is little scientific evidence to prove that Chinese drywall is directly linked to the symptoms homeowners experience. However, the fact is people suffering from these symptoms reported them to disappear when they were away from the house and reappear or intensify when they were inside the building. These symptoms include:
- runny or even bloody nose;
- sore throat;
- difficulty breathing;
- irritated and itching eyes;
Defective Chinese drywall contains massive amounts of sulphur, which is the most likely explanation of all the health symptoms, as well as the rotten egg smell and the metal corrosion.
Property Damage Chinese Drywall Can Cause
Defective drywall causes corrosion of metal, which means all the pipes and wires get affected. That is why electrical appliances can fail to work properly. If not tended to, the problem can lead to massive leaks of the corroded pipes and even fires, caused by malfunction of electrical appliances.
Naturally, the value of a home containing Chinese drywall significantly decreases, so many homeowners have to pay the costs of replacing the defective drywall with new, problem-free material.
What to Do If You Think Your House Contains Chinese Drywall?
If there are signs of contaminated drywall in your home, you should take the following steps:
- If you notice any of the health symptoms, see a physician right away.
- Consult with an electrician or a home inspector about the potential electricity-related danger.
- Order a home inspection to make sure your home contains or does not contain Chinese drywall.
- Report the problem to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Consider filing a homeowner’s insurance claim (for the moment, insurance companies insist this issue is not eligible for compensation, but there is a possibility to get a positive court decision).
Chinese drywall is a very dangerous problem, especially urgent for Florida homeowners. If you suspect your home might contain it, don’t risk your health and safety: contact OSI Inspection Services for a home inspection, and we will determine whether the issue is there or not.