Asbestos on ductwork


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Old 04-02-16, 10:30 AM
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Asbestos on ductwork

So, I really don't know what subforum to put this in, so I'll try here. Feel free to move it where it best fits.

We have asbestos in our house. It's asbestos-containing tape that was used to seal the HVAC register boots in the floor. They're visible from below in the basement. Anyway, I'm not super-panicked, because it's in limited places, and appears to be intact. But because some people spaz about it, and it may come up as an issue at resale, I'm looking into professional abatement. Encapsulation may be the best route.

I expect to be charged an arm and a leg, but I don't want to get swindled, so I've been doing some research. If the contractor says he will use a "penetrating encapsulant," is it then necessary to apply a "bridging encapsulant" over top of the penetrating encapsulant? Or would that just be a way to double the labor, double the materials, and double the profit?
 
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Old 04-02-16, 11:38 AM
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This is just my opinion, I'm not certified in asbestos abatement. I am however certified with California and the EPA in lead renovation and abatement. I use lead as an example because lead and asbestos have similar "dangers".

I would leave the material as is and undisturbed. IMO there is no need to encapsulate or contain, or remove material that is intact. The fact that you know it's asbestos is good and you can take protective measures by not disturbing it.

Edit: Disturbance is not touching or using something, it's grinding, sanding or other work that causes the particles to go airborne.
 

Last edited by Handyone; 04-02-16 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 04-02-16, 12:47 PM
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I agree with you on leaving it there. I'd love to do that and just forget about it. I mean, it wasn't an issue for us when we purchased the house.

The problem I'm looking at is, there's going to be some other work done which will make access to these boots a lot easier while the work is being done (HVAC being replaced, other ducts being removed and replaced). Right now, they can be seen, but getting to them to do any work would involve having arms made of spaghetti.

I'm facing the dilemma of, leave it intact, and hope that a future buyer is okay with leaving it intact as is. Or, will it come up at sale that the buyer wants something done about it anyway, since asbestos has been demonized so much. In which case, I may wind up coughing up more for labor because of the access issues. Or, tell the buyer to pound sand, they can fix it on their own dime.

So, really, it's about hedging bets.
 
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Old 04-02-16, 01:13 PM
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I just wanted to give some info for a typical homeowner. Since work is being done, it's best to check with local authorities and contractors.
Maybe the contractor will advise replacing the boots and asbestos now. I don't want to get into specifics of the reasons but it involves the allowable amount of disturbance without full protective measures.
 
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Old 04-02-16, 01:42 PM
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I appreciate that, thank you.

The work that will be done doesn't actually impact the asbestos, it only impacts access to the asbestos. In fact, some of the asbestos is on unused ducts that have been sealed "top-side" at some point before my ownership. I think we can all speculate on why they left it in place.

So, the work can be done without any disturbance and without any legal obligation for abatement. And in fact, per the state, non-friable material in a single family residence can be removed by anyone -- licensed asbestos contractor, other contractor, or homeowner. Which kinda makes me wonder if I'll be digging in my garden one day and hit an asbestos-wrapped duct that someone buried, but that's neither here nor there.

(And yes, considering that, I COULD do the work myself -- but the point of the professional abatement is to have the certification that it was done completely and correctly.)
 
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Old 04-02-16, 02:05 PM
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The work that will be done doesn't actually impact the asbestos, it only impacts access to the asbestos.
I understand. Talk to a local HVAC contractor and ripping out the old asbestos at the same time as replacing the duct might not even be an issue, except for access to replace the old boots.
 
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Old 04-02-16, 04:35 PM
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As Handyone said, there are limits under which it can simply be removed, you mentioned the same. Then, as Handyone said again, your HVAC contractor is probably very familiar with what you have and may be comfortable with just removing it. Once it is gone, you have the explanation that it was legally removed by the HVAC contractor as part of his work. Then, after a good HEPA cleaning of the house (just in case), you could have the house tested and that certification would hold more weight and should be far less expensive.

Bud
 
 

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