Update1: Chinese Drywall: Wreaking Havoc on American Homeownersby Tim Manni
UPDATE1: We just received a reader comment that may offer some help to the homeowners out there dealing with tainted drywall. A gentlemen representing “Electrocorp” — an air purification company — said they have been helping homeowners who have Chinese drywall installed in their homes get some much-needed relief.
While we certainly are not advocating on behalf of this company, we just read a press release that said Electrocorp’s products have helped reduce levels of the toxic gases released from the building material:
Electrocorp, an industrial air purification company, is receiving national attention after field testing by a Florida company showed levels of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and other gases, emitted from tainted Chinese drywall that was used to build hundreds of thousands of homes across North America, were reduced by 80% to 90% after only 24 hours of operating Electrocorp’s air purification equipment.
Electrocorp has developed a customized carbon filter specifically to reduce the H2S and other gases that have been found to leach from what has now become known as toxic Chinese drywall.
Again, we don’t know much about electrocorp and its products, but it’s certainly worth looking into if you’re running out of options. Also, there may be other localized companies in your area that also sells the same type of filtration systems as Electrocorp.
Original post published on 10/25/09: Yet another backlash from the housing boom: With building materials in short supply and consumer demand through the roof, builders purchased cheap Chinese drywall to keep pace with demand:
An Associated Press analysis of shipping records found that more than 500 million pounds of Chinese gypsum board was imported between 2004 and 2008 — enough to have built tens of thousands of homes. They are heavily concentrated in the Southeast, especially Florida and areas of Louisiana and Mississippi hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.
Years later, the owners of the homes built with the imported drywall have not only put up with vile smells and sickness, they’re dealing with the notion that a majority of their home may have to be torn out and replaced:
The defective materials have been found by state and federal agencies to emit “volatile sulfur compounds,” and contain traces of strontium sulfide, which can produce a rotten-egg odor, along with organic compounds not found in American-made drywall. Homeowners complain the fumes are corroding copper pipes, destroying TVs and air conditioners, and blackening jewelry and silverware. Some believe the wallboard is also making them ill.
Perhaps even worse, many of the affected homeowners have had their insurance claims denied and their policies dropped. While certainly unfortunate, dropping policies on account of faulty building materials appears to be perfectly legal. The lack of home insurance could even lead to more foreclosures:
At least three insurers have already canceled or refused to renew policies after homeowners sought their help replacing the bad wallboard. Because mortgage companies require homeowners to insure their properties, they are then at risk of foreclosure, yet no law prevents the cancellations.
Meanwhile, the AP interviewed several homeowners who, like the Ivorys, were unlucky enough to purchase properties built with Chinese drywall, and are now being hit with a second and third wave of bad news: Their insurers are declining to fill their claims, then canceling the policy or issuing notices that policies won’t be renewed until the problem is fixed. The homeowners have little recourse since neither the Chinese manufacturers nor the Chinese government are likely to respond to any lawsuits or reimburse them for the defective drywall.
Tom Zutell, spokesman for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, said the cancellations are troubling, but legal. No law prevents insurance companies from canceling policies because of Chinese drywall.
At this point, it seems that the only recourse for homeowners is to replace the drywall themselves. As attorney Steve Mullins put it, if you file an insurance claim, you will likely be dropped.
Has anyone out there had an experience, or know anyone who has had to deal, with Chinese drywall? If so, please let us know!