Dealing with asbestos doesn’t have to be scary. There are some key things to know about this type of material and how to deal with it. Once you have some basic knowledge, you can best determine how to proceed with care and remedy the problem without too much grief.
How Do I Know if My Home Has It?
- Asbestos has been used in products for over 100 years due to its durability and heat resistance. Asbestos was used frequently in homes and buildings constructed before 1980. It was commonly used in building materials, heat-resistant fabrics, manufactured goods, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. In the home asbestos may be found in plaster, caulking, vinyl flooring, ceiling tiles, roof and siding shingles, broilers and pipes, HVAC insulation, door gaskets, oil and coal furnaces, and insulation.
When Should I Call an Expert?
- Asbestos in your home does not necessarily mean exposure. Asbestos does not become a problem until it is damaged or disturbed, sending particles into the air. This occurs most often with projects involving demolition, remodeling, repair, and maintenance.
- Unfortunately, asbestos is difficult to spot because you cannot see, smell, or taste it. The fibers are too small to identify without the use of a microscope and thus require testing in a lab to determine exposure. A trained and accredited asbestos professional will be able to evaluate your home for asbestos exposure and conduct tests to determine if you have a problem.
- There are potential signs you can look for immediately in older homes. These include pipes that are uninsulated that have white or gray insulation remnants along the fittings, popcorn ceilings, square tiles measuring nine-inch, attic insulation, and floor mastic. These are just a few of the signs of asbestos and these indicators will not be conclusive without an evaluation and testing.
- Asbestos exposure can carry a lot of risks including certain cancers like lung cancer and mesothelioma. If you suspect your home may have asbestos, it is highly recommended that you have your home evaluated by a professional, especially before starting any home projects.
Who Should I Call for Help?
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers guidelines and information about how to collect asbestos samples for testing. It is highly recommended that a certified asbestos professional is hired to minimize exposure and to do the job safely and efficiently.
Asbestos definitely carries risks but it’s important to remember that having asbestos does not necessarily mean you have been exposed. To avoid exposure, it is important to be well informed about the common places where you may find asbestos so you know what to look for and what steps you should take to keep your home safe.
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