Chinese drywall question

Looking for some input regarding Chinese drywall. Inspected a home this morning built in 2005 that has black copper coils in the air handler and some areas of drywall that are black in the garage. I didn’t notice a smell but there are air fresherers everywhere in this house including one you put on the air filter in the air handler. The copper in the electrical panel looked okay. I don’t know who the builder is. The hot water heater has recently been replaced along with the plumbing lines in to the heater. Does this material cause any deterioration to a hot water heater?
Would any of you gentleman be good enough to give me some advice on how to write this up in my report?
Thank you.

Does it look like this?

INACHI TV has a great episode on what to look for. Free too.:smiley:

Chinese Dry Wall is suspected due to corrosion viewed in the air handler. Chinese dry wall is a potential health hazard. Further evaluation is recommended by a qualified contractor.

I know it’s too late now, but check to see if the word “China” is written on the back side of the drywall viewed from the garage attic.

The last house I did with chinese drywall had a failed and leaking water heater. The electrical panel, which was located in the garage showed no signs on the wires. The air handler coils were black and only the left side of the house has black on the copper in the outlets. Every situation is different. All you can do is look for the signs and report on what you see. I have a disclaimer for chinese drywall that tells my clients that I cannot tell them if it is present, but if there are indicators they need to do further testing after contacting the builder and giving him the first right to inspect or issue a letter stating whether it was used.

Thank you for your responses. Bill, what you describe is very similar to what I saw in this home. When I speak to my clients they are going to back out of the deal. They are from Scotland and have never seen the home. But what if I’m wrong and there is no problem with the drywall? Would the sellers have the right to come after me for mis diagnosing the issues I found in their home? I emailed my E&O rep and her response was, “That’s a good question”. She doesn’t know.

It is up to the sellers / builder (and more so the builder) to prove that they do not have it. It is not up to you, as an inspector to prove that it is present. If you see indicators, in this case, two or more (I believe) then it is up to you to report it and let them deal with it: contact the builder and let them prove it is not there.

If this house was empty, and even if it is not, you should suggest that the air fresheners be removed for a few days and then someone should go back to see if there are any smells. If someone is living there, it might be hard to tell if the air conditioner is running.

What really scares me is these guys going out saying that they can tell if a home has Chinese drywall or not by a simple inspection. Without doing a systematic testing of every sheet of drywall, how would they know. There are certain conditions that may allow one house to show the effects of this drywall at a faster rate than the house next door. Report what you see and state what you know, and you should be OK.

Here is the current Florida state protocol, you should work it into your report.

Link Provided:

Case Definition (03-31-09) for Premature Copper Corrosion in Residences Possibly Associated with the Presence of Imported Drywall from China.

First, determine the date of construction: (Enter Date)

To meet the current case definition (03-30-09) homes constructed after 2003 (2004 to present) must meet two or more conditions; and those built prior to 2004 must meet three or more of the conditions specified below.

  1. There is presence of sulfur-like or other unusual odors - (Positive/Negative/Inconclusive)
  2. Confirmed presence of Chinese manufactured drywall in the home – (Positive/Negative/Inconclusive)
  3. Observed copper corrosion, indicated by black, sooty coating of Un-insulated copper pipe leading to the air handling unit present in the garage or mechanical closet of home - (Positive/Negative/Inconclusive)
  4. Documented failure of air conditioner evaporator coil - (Positive/Negative/Inconclusive)
  5. Confirmation by an outside expert or professional for the presence of premature copper corrosion onun-insulated copper wires and/or air conditioner evaporator coils - (Positive/Negative/Inconclusive)