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Question DetailsAsked on 7/9/2013

Cost to remove asbestos central air ducting cut and disturbed by a careless HVAC company last year from Attic?

A contractor that worked for an investor on my new home, which we bought as a flip, cut the old homes asbestos ducting and inserted the cut, friable end of the old ducting into new ducting. They then sold me the home and didnt' disclose it.

We found it last week doing regular HVAC quote for a new air conditioner. The new contractor wont' touch it until its back to code.

It's in the attic, which is about 600 sq feet. The disturbed asbestos is in a space thats about 50-60 sq feet I guess.

Once it's gone, of course we will need new ducting from the furnace, and new insulation. Maybe a attic fan, as its god awful hot up there.


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1 Answer


OK - couple of issues here.

1) if this was not disclosed and you can prove the seller knew about it (may not have, if a contractor did it for him) then you may have a claim against him for the cost. Keep documentation and talk to your Realtor (assuming your Realtor was not Seller's also) about it, and if you both feel there is a possible claim then talk to an attorney.

2) cleanup of the asbestos in the cut area and getting the asbestos vacuumed out of the duct and the cut end out of the duct and cleaned up, probably about $300-500 depending on access, up to maybe $1000 if there are several places asbestos has to be removed for the HVAC contractor to cut in new duct work.

3) Why do you need new ducts - except for the immediate area the contractor has to work, code does not require removal of asbestos ducts if they are not generally accessible or exposed in a living space. You are talking probably $5-10000 or so to remove existing ducts and put in new ones. Even where the ducting has exposed asbestos, unless you intend to do a clean sweep for ALL asbestos for possible future sale, encapsulation by an asbestos contractor is WAY cheaper than removal of the asbestos.

4) Attic fans are one of the least effective means of cooling an attic - for a flat roof direct ventilators (convective or powered) from the hottest areas work best. If you have rafters and eaves, then ventilated eaves and ridge vents work about 3-5 times better than a normal-sized attic fan at removing heat, and consume no power either.

5) If the contractor was in the attic about installing a new A/C unit up there (unless you are talking about a roof-mounted unit with ducting through the attic), I would question why it is there rather than basement outside or in a utility lean-to - putting an A/C unit in the attic in hot country is real hard on the unit because it is inthe hottest part of the house, and of course if it is drawing its intake air from the attic rather than outside then you are destroying a lot of the efficiency of the unit, not to mention working it harder than you need to, and making it less accessible. I would consider relocation, ESPECIALLY if you are looking at reducting anyway.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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