Monday, May 6, 2013

Contaminated Chinese Drywall


Health problems and metal corrosion in homes
Contaminated Chinese drywall has high levels of sulfur, which may be responsible for a rotten egg smell in affected homes, blackened or corroded pipes, failure of air conditioners and other household appliances, and health problems such as asthma, coughing, headaches, sore throats, and irritated eyes.

Health Problems Associated With Problem Drywall
Health problems that may be caused by contaminated Chinese drywall include:

  • irritated and itchy eyes and skin
  • difficulty in breathing
  • persistent cough
  • bloody nose
  • runny nose
  • recurrent headaches
  • sore throats
  • sinus infections
  • asthma attacks

Contaminated Drywall Problems
Homeowners with contaminated drywall usually notice:

  • a rotten egg smell within the home
  • corrosion or blackening of copper and silver items within the walls and home
  • frequent failures of air conditioning units and other appliances and electronics
“Contaminated drywall is indicated if two of the below corroborating conditions are present and drywall was installed between 2005 and 2008; or if four of the below corroborating conditions are present and the drywall was installed between 2001 and 2004”, according to the CPSC:

  • copper sulfide or sulfur in the home as confirmed by tests
  • drywall is marked as coming from China
  • high levels of strontium in drywall core
  • high levels of sulfur in drywall core
  • elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, or carbon disulfide emitted from drywall when tested in a chamber, and
  • Corrosion of copper metal when placed in a test chamber with drywall samples.

Electronics and Appliances
Copper coils turn black
Contaminated drywall corrodes piping and wiring, which causes electronic devices and household appliances to work erratically or fail completely.  Components and devices that may be affected by contaminated Chinese drywall include:

  • Central air conditioning evaporator coils
  • Refrigerators, dishwashers and electrical ovens and ranges.
  • Televisions, computers, and video gaming systems.

Identification and Replacement
According to the CPSC, “A visual observation of corroded air conditioning evaporator coils and/or electrical wiring by trained inspectors is believed to be a prerequisite for consideration of a home as having problem drywall. The Florida Department of Health has long included such corrosion as part of its definition of problem drywall homes.”

The cost of remediation for Chinese drywall can be immense including drywall, plumbing and electrical.  Remediation may include removal of contaminated drywall and installing new, problem-free drywall, removal and replacement of copper; plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.

Additional articles on Chinese Drywall:






Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.

First Choice Home Inspections 
(386) 624-3893
Http://www.1homeinspector.com

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dangers of Solid Branch Aluminum Wiring

Due to a shortage of copper in the mid-1960s, builders increased the use of aluminum wire in residential electrical distribution systems.   Homes built before 1965 are unlikely to have aluminum branch circuit wiring.  Homes built, remodeled or with electrical upgrades from 1965 to the mid-1970s may contain aluminum wiring.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff and other government Officials have investigated numerous hazardous incidents and fires throughout the nation involving aluminum branch circuit wiring.  The Franklin Research Institute conducted a national survey for the CPSC.  The survey showed that homes built before 1972, and wired with aluminum, are 55 times more likely to have one or more wire connections at outlets that reach “Fire Hazard Conditions” than homes with copper wire.

The fire hazard investigated by CPSC occurs at connections with aluminum wire, including receptacles or switches and junction boxes; or the hazards occur with major appliances, including dishwashers or furnaces, for example. There are several deterioration processes in aluminum wire connections that cause increased resistance to the flow of electric current, resulting in damage that is cumulative in effect. That increased resistance causes overheating, sometimes at hazardous levels, when current is flowing in the circuit.

Signs of electrical system problems include receptacles or switches with face plates that are hot-to-the touch; inoperable circuits; flickering lights; or the smell of burning plastic at outlets or switches.

Aluminum wiring can be replaced or repaired to effectively and permanently reduce the possibility of fire and injury due to failing wire connections and splices. It is highly recommended that you hire a qualified electrician, familiar with aluminum solid branch wiring, to perform this remediation.

Replacement of the aluminum branch circuit conductors with copper wire eliminates the primary cause of the potential hazards, the aluminum wire itself.  Depending on the architectural style of your home, it may be relatively easy for a qualified electrician to rewire your home.  A new copper wire branch circuit system would be installed, and the existing aluminum wire could be abandoned inside the walls. This is the best method available; but for many homes, rewiring with copper is impractical and/or prohibitively expensive.
 
Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.


First Choice Home Inspections
(386) 624-3893
Http://www.1homeinspector.com