Chinese drywall struggle continues

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jim and Carol Howard have been working for more than two years to shine a light on the oft-hidden problem of Chinese drywall in Shelby County homes.

The Howards, whose problems with Chinese drywall started almost immediately after moving into their home in 2009, have finally decided to move out and begin apartment hunting.

It’s a sad twist in a saga that began with the couple spending their life savings to buy their Dunnavant Valley home outright.

Within a short time, the Howards began having problems with their air conditioner.

Not long after that, the two began suffering from health problems, including asthma and skin lesions.

While talking with our reporter, Christine Boatwright, for this week’s story on their continuing fight to alert state and national legislators of the dangers of Chinese drywall, the Howards gave a few tips for new home buyers and owners.

uIf your home was built in or around 2006, watch out for Chinese drywall.

The Howards’ home was built in 2006, and they said many of the homes now found to have Chinese drywall were built in that year.

uIf you find yourself replacing the coils in your air conditioner often, such as every few months, get your home checked for Chinese drywall.

The gases in the drywall cause metals such as copper and silver to deteriorate quickly.

Once the coils deteriorate, Freon leaks, causing your air conditioner to stop cooling your home.

uAlthough many report a smell of rotten eggs in homes with Chinese drywall, 90 percent of people cannot smell the gases, according to the Howards.

Don’t assume your home is unaffected simply because you don’t smell anything peculiar.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.