Working Next to Duct with Asbestos

Old 07-05-17, 04:38 PM
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Working Next to Duct with Asbestos

I want to run some electrical conduit inside a clothes chute that runs from my basement to my attic. Right next to this clothes chute (actually touching it) is a cardboard-looking square HVAC duct that has thick tape wrapped around edges of it - and I know this tape-stuff is asbestos (I had it tested). I'm not sure if the cardboard duct itself is really cardboard or some other kind of asbestos-related product (I never had the cardboard-like stuff tested. Only the tape).

So, here's my question. I want to drill a hole into the wood clothes chute (so I can run 3/4" metal conduit into the chute). I'm worried that vibrations and working near the asbestos-tape could be dangerous for my family and our home. I will not be directly drilling into the duct, and I will not even touch it (if that's possible). But it's literally touching the clothes chute and I'm sure vibrations and possibly some inadvertent bumping may occur.

I often hear "don't disturb asbestos". What exactly does this mean? Can I touch it? Drill into wood touching it? Have vibrations near it? Look at it funny? Make fun of its mother? What can I do, and what can't I do in proximity to a duct with asbestos-thick-tape-stuff on it?

Thanks for any replies, unless they're dumb.
Old 07-05-17, 05:42 PM
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Asbestos is very similar to fiberglass insulation. Left undisturbed it's not harmful. It's when the dust and particles are allowed to travel thru the air that the problems begin. Those particles become lodged in the lungs and cannot be removed.

I'm a little worried here. Is your clothing chute exposed to the asbestos ?
That would be bad as the clothing passing it would cause the asbestos to become airborne.

You can wet the asbestos to keep the dust down but you don't want to do anything that will cause the asbestos to become airborne.

A breathing respirator is also mandatory.
Old 07-05-17, 05:53 PM
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Asbestos is dangerous if you are exposed to large quantity several hours a day over a period of many years. That would not happen if your situation. No way just vibration from drilling a hole will cause any significant amount.

Last edited by ray2047; 07-05-17 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Toned down my reply.
Old 07-05-17, 06:33 PM
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PJMax, you can breathe easy - the clothing chute is a separate wood entity that is next to the duct. No contact of clothing with the duct. But regarding your next comment "you don't want to do anything that will cause the asbestos to become airborne"... that's...really my question. Will vibrations and mild bumping cause it to become airborne? Or do I need to crack it in half to cause a problem? That's what I need to know.

Ray - I really want everything you say to be true. If it was just me, I wouldn't worry about it, but my babies live in the house with me, which increases my worry level exponentially. One thing I worry about if I resell my home in a few years, what I need to disclose regarding any work done near or on asbestos. If I "rip out mass quantities", that may come back to haunt me at selling time?

So, I'd love to hear from anyone else too. No offense Ray, you may be 100% correct. But any time one person disagrees with "society", I simply want to do my due diligence in research.
Old 07-05-17, 06:55 PM
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You do not want to saw, scrape, cut, sand, drill, buff, shake, beat, hammer, or bludgeon the Asbestos in any way that will cause fibers to become airborne. Working next to the asbestos duct I do not believe that this will cause any issues.

If you want to make this duct safer there are really two options: Removal, or encapsulation. Encapsulation is really nothing more then sealing it up with paint. Anything that is inside a wall should stay there.

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