Usually, asbestos will come into a homeowner’s mind during a real estate transaction or a planned renovation. Many homeowners may not want to pay the fees of a licensed professional asbestos contractor to remove the material after receiving back lab results confirming that it is asbestos-containing. Since asbestos regulations do not typically cover single family homes,some may think they can do the task themselves. In this blog we will discuss the question of should you remove asbestos in your home?
Should I Remove Asbestos In My Home?
The short answer to this question is no. Asbestos-containing materials that are not professionally removed can lead to fiber release from the disturbed material. Professional asbestos removal, also known as abatement, can be an intensive process and may require specialized equipment that is not always readily available to the consumer. The process involves setting up a containment using poly sheeting to seal off the areas of abatement. Next the containment is equipped with a negative air machine. The negative air machine filters and then exhausts air from the containment to the outdoor air. The negative pressure that is generated in the containment prevents air leaks in the containment from spreading to areas outside of the containment. The abatement work is then conducted by trained professionals.
Professional Abatement Practices
Another reason a homeowner should not try to abate asbestos without a professional besides equipment is training. Asbestos abatement professionals are trained and licensed by state environmental agencies that ensure that they are equipped to handle this hazardous task. These professionals not only have training in setting up proper contaminants but also the removal of specific materials. For example, trained abatement workers are familiar with glove bag removal of asbestos pipe insulation which minimizes fibers released from this friable material. Another example is that they may also know that tile can be removed with a heat machine which removes tile intact. This process drastically reduces the likelihood of fiber release from materials.
Another option that homeowners may want to consider if they don’t want to proceed with abatement is encapsulation or leaving the material in place. For some materials, encapsulation is the best option if the material will not be distubed by a future renovation and is in good condition. Encapsulation will typically involve using a coating to the bind and contain the material that is being applied to. Another option is leaving the material in place. If the material is in good condition and will not be impacted by renovations it can remain in its original state. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), materials that are in good condition and not disturbed pose a minimal health risk.
In conclusion, if a homeowner is considering abatement, we recommend contacting a licensed asbestos abatement contractor. We also recommend that after the work is completed to have clearance testing conducted by a 3rd party environmental consultant with no financial ties to the abatement contractor such as Indoor Science. Conducting abatement work without trained professionals can lead to improper removal of the material and possible asbestos exposure.