How to know the symptoms of Chinese drywall

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Chinese drywall is an imported building material that has recently been discovered to contain dangerously high levels sulfur compounds. Millions of pounds of Chinese drywall were shipped into the United States since the beginning of the decade, and now thousands of homes contain the dangerous material. Does your home have Chinese drywall in it? Follow these instructions to look for the symptoms.

  • One of the first signs of Chinese drywall is a strong sulfur smell, similar to the smell of rotten eggs. Lots of people in new homes pass this off as smell from the paint, or new carpeting, etc. If you smell sulfur in your home, you should consider a method of testing. See the resources section for more. Also, just because your home doesn't smell like sulfur doesn't mean you don't have Chinese drywall. In cooler environments, Chinese drywall contaminated homes have been found not to smell.

  • Check for corrosion on your metal faucets, drains, mirrors, picture frames, jewelery, etc. Anything that contains decorative metal in your home should be checked for pitting, darks spots, or a dark discoloration. These are tell-tale signs of Chinese drywall.

  • Also, check the copper in your home. If you see darkening of copper wires, you may have Chinese drywall. A good place to check the copper in your home is at your water heater. There should be a few copper pipes around the top of your water heater.

  • Watch for failing appliances. If your large appliances like TV's, air conditioning unit or refrigerator have stop working or are working poorly, especially if they are relatively new, you may have Chinese drywall in your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider getting either a home inspector or a Chinese drywall test kit for your home
  • Be careful if checking live wiring as it may present a shock hazard
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