ASBESTOS RISKS – on Heating and Cooling Ducts
While there may be neither conclusive data nor studies which evaluate hazards regarding presence of this material in residential buildings, it is generally considered by the scientific community to be a potential health risk.
Asbestos heating system insulation is also a potential economic risk as future buyers may be concerned about this material. Disposal costs for this material are increasing.
Depending on condition and location of asbestos material, treatment ranges from doing nothing to complete removal. Removal could involve significant costs.
One should obtain proper technical information and health and safety guidelines before attempting to do anything with this material. It is the breathing of fibers when this material is disturbed, not it’s mere presence, which is considered a health risk.
When the material is not found in living areas in poor condition treatment is not usually an emergency and you have ample time to become informed, obtain estimates, and select a course of action.
If the asbestos-suspect material seen in a building is confirmed as actual asbestos or an asbestos-containing product, depending on its condition and location, treatment ranges from doing nothing to complete removal.
Professional asbestos removal would involve significant costs and is the recommended course of action where asbestos materials are damaged, friable, in a location subject to damage, in an occupied space, and/or in an unoccupied location where asbestos debris is likely to be carried into occupied space by human traffic or by the operation of heating and cooling equipment.
A number of asbestos treatment options are available where asbestos material is found in a building. Choice of treatment can make a big difference in possible costs of handling the material. You should obtain proper technical information and health and safety guidelines before attempting to do anything with this material.
Amateur removal of asbestos from a building can create very serious health and cost concerns because of the possibility that the amateur cross-contaminated other building areas with asbestos debris and also because of the possibility that the asbestos products that were removed were disposed of improperly. We have on occasion found “removed” asbestos insulation simply disposed of by dumping it on the same property or stuffing it into a crawl space or attic.
Asbestos in the Air Handler of Furnaces or Air Conditioners
Among asbestos products used in heating or air conditioning air handlers and blowers, we suspect that VIBRATION DAMPENERS, especially in undamaged condition, are likely to release much lower levels of asbestos particles into the HVAC system air than the softer insulating materials found in some air handlers themselves.
We have observed friable asbestos inside older warm air heating furnaces and heating equipment.
But in our OPINION even in the air handler, depending on the size or amount, condition (undamaged), and location, the release into building air of asbestos from these sources may be very difficult to detect – suggesting that in those cases it is at very low levels, below measurable effect.