What is Chinese Drywall Syndrome?

For many homes built in the US in the mid to late 2000’s problems, damage, and smells started to manifest. Many homeowners complained of a sulfurous, rotten-egg smell, failing HVAC systems, corrosion to plumbing, and failing appliances, all amounting to perhaps billions of dollars across the country. What could cause such an issue?

Chinese Drywall

Due in part to the mid decade housing boom, and the large number of hurricanes that assaulted the Gulf Coast in the same time period, the available supply of domestic drywall became scarce.

Contractors, home builders, and supply houses had to source drywall from somewhere else. China quickly became the source of choice due in part to the ability to meet the demand but also due to the drastic difference in price from domestic-sourced drywall.

Concentrated in the Southeast, but spread across the US, the drywall was installed in newly constructed and rebuilt homes. It was not long before homeowners began to complain first of a bad smell, caused by toxic and corrosive sulfurous compounds like hydrogen sulfide, and then of failing equipment within the home.

Hydrogen sulfide can wreak havoc in a home. It will corrode any exposed copper and can even lead to complete failure of systems, machines, and appliances within the home such as the HVAC system, smoke alarms, refrigerators, and wiring. There are other, corrosive and potentially hazardous chemicals that have been known to leech from the drywall into the air in your home as well. Gasses like carbonyl sulfide and carbon disulfide. If you suspect your home has the problem drywall, it’s imperative to have it checked out by a qualified inspector.

The inspector will perform a cursory inspection first – checking for the characteristic smell and a black corrosion on exposed copper. If those two conditions are met they will issue you corrosion coupons to place around the home, and then examine and take samples of your drywall for further testing.

If you have any questions about Chinese Drywall and your HVAC system, give us at William G. Day Company a call and we will gladly handle them.