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Question DetailsAsked on 2/7/2018

RECOMMENT ABESTOS DUCT TAPE REMOVAL IN HVAC - BASEMENT

MY MOTHER DIED AND I AM TRYING TO SELL HER HOUSE. IT WAS BUILD IN 1957. IT HAS A FUEL FURNACE THAT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. A HVAC GUY SAID SOME OF THE CONNECTING PIPES WERE SEALED WITH WHAT LOOKED LIKE ASBESTOS TAPE. WHO DO YOU RECOMMEND REMOVING THIS THAT IS CERTIFIED.

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Your heating contractor should be able to give you some references for asbestos insulation removal firms, assuming you had a good feeling about him so would give some credence to his recommendation.
First thing you need is an asbestos testing visit - Asbestos Removal is the Search the List category to find a STATE LICENSED asbestos abatement contractor for that. A LOT of younger HVAC guys and plumbers these days have never seen "mud and paper" joint taping - basically paper mache made of joint tape and refractory plaster, used a lot from WWII through about early 1960's - maybe a bit longer back east. Sometimes the plaster (which was actually more of a refractory or high-temp cement than a true plaster) had asbestos in it, sometimes not. Or he could be right - could be asbestos cloth wrap with asbestos or non-asbestos plaster holding it together. No reliable way to definitely distinguish between them by eye, though if the "cloth" or tape part is coarse and fibrous looking like very coarse fiberglass cloth most likely is asbestaos. But to be sure, and to document the removal process if it is, samples have to be taken and sent to a lab for microscopic analysis for how much and which type of asbestos (not all types are hazardous, though most before about 1980 do contain significant amounts of the dangerous types) are in it. Also - talk to your Realtor about how important removing the asbestos is in your area from a resale atandpoint - quite the "thing to do" in some areas (especially West Coast and Denver and Phoenix areas), in other areas (especially East Coast and Mississippi Valley and Deep South) is commonly abated in-place. Would be a lot cheaper (and generally acceptable in most areas) to remove only that which is needed to cut the new furnace into place (typically less than 4 lineal feet or so), and spray encapsulate the remainder with an approved asbestos-containment spray coating. Asbestos is not hazardous (assuming you do not coat yourself in it) unless it is fraying or disintegrating or disturbed and gets airborne - is predominately a respiratory system risk. Just sitting undisturbed is not a notable health hazard as long as it is not falling apart and going airborne, and encapsulation is (at least in almost all areas - maybe not California) an acceptable treatment to render old asbestos inert and safe, at least as long as those ducts do not have to be replaced or such (which would significantly disturb it). Doing that could make the difference between maybe $500-100 range and a couple to few thousand $ of asbestos abatement cost - can run up into quite a few thousands to remove all asbestos from an asbestos-insulated boiler and full-coverage sprayed-on asbestos all along metal ducting, though in a 1957 home likely only the ducting and maybe flue right at the boiler was treated like that - elsewhere probably only the joints, which if that is the case (joints only) generally the taping would not be asbestos-containing, but sometimes it is because the person applying it just used the same "plaster" mix for all the job.

Answered 9 months ago by LCD




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