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asbestos


Chad Fabry
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First let me state that I'm not an asbestos freak and to be honest, mold doesn't bother me either.

I inspected a home for the current owner to determine the cause of ice forming under the eaves and to offer advice on water problems in the basement. While in the basement I noticed all the ductwork taped up with the old style white mesh tape that looks like it was applied wet. Is all of this style tape asbestos based?

While I was down there I also noticed that a plumber had recently installed a large hot tub and had hacked a 5 inch hole in a 4x8 (or there abouts...it was a log) beam for the tub drain. The beauty of this is the beam held up the already under designed floor directly beneath this 200 gallon tub.

You guys are going to have to be patient with my stories as I start this business because my wife doesn't care.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

First let me state that I'm not an asbestos freak and to be honest, mold doesn't bother me either.

I inspected a home for the current owner to determine the cause of ice forming under the eaves and to offer advice on water problems in the basement. While in the basement I noticed all the ductwork taped up with the old style white mesh tape that looks like it was applied wet. Is all of this style tape asbestos based?

While I was down there I also noticed that a plumber had recently installed a large hot tub and had hacked a 5 inch hole in a 4x8 (or there abouts...it was a log) beam for the tub drain. The beauty of this is the beam held up the already under designed floor directly beneath this 200 gallon tub.

You guys are going to have to be patient with my stories as I start this business because my wife doesn't care.

Hi Chad:

How old is the home? When I see that on ducts in older homes I state that it "appears to be asbestos material and recommend further testing"

Regarding the beam that was cut, 5" is over the limit.

I've attached a small picture from codecheck.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif beam.jpg

29.6 KB

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Chad,

Sounds like you need a lab and an engineer. The only way to know if you found asbestos is to have it tested. There is a harmless look a like insulation that was commonly used too. About 25% of this old insulation that I do have tested (about 5% of what I find) comes back clean.

The integrity of the structure certainly seems to be compromised, it's not a call you can make with a visual inspection.

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Chad,

I tell my clients to have that tape tested and I never hear back from them, so I have no idea how many test it, or how often it contains asbestos.

Neither mold, nor asbestos excite me much either. I just explain to my clients that there are about 3000 building products that can potentially contain asbestos, and I can't recognize the overwhelming majority of them. If I see one of the more common dozen or so, I'll point it out to them. Since the only way to determine if something contains asbestos is to have it analyzed chemically and look at it under a special microscope, they have to hire a specialist to tell them more.

My grandfather died from "asbestosis" almost 30 years ago. He was a smoker who worked in a Navy yard and breathed that stuff in by the lungful every day. He died (albeit miserably) at the age of 78. Shoot, I'd sign up for 78 in a second.

My brother and I used to lift weights in my parent's basement and always thumped the barbell into the asbestos covered pipes overhead, showering ourselves in magic dust.

Not to say asbestos isn't harmful, I'm convinced it is. I just think that we (Americans) could use a little perspective on the issue. Ever talk to a European about it? They can't get over how silly we get over asbestos pipe insulation and duct tape.

Nice call on the "holey" beam. My father wants to sponsor federal legislation that mandates a 7 day waiting period and a background check on any plumber wishing to purchase a reciprocating saw. There's just too many of those damned things on the street.

Don't get me started on mold,

Jim

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Old house, white tape, high likelihood it's asbestos tape. Asbestos doesn't "yellow"; it stays white. That isn't scientific, but it can point you a little.

The paper isn't known to release fiber as the crap is encased in a matrix of glue & cellulose. Definitely point it out, but if ducts/pipes/ are sound & there is no likelihood of their having to come out for repair, just leave it & paint it. That's not EPA approved protocol for encapsulation, but it works nicely. It's what I did in my own home on my white (asbestos) tape.

If it were a report, tell 'em, tell 'em to get an ACM abatement contractor, etc......

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Hi Chad,

People are generally pretty uneducated about asbestos and nervous about it. They imagine that if they come down with asbestosis or mesothelioma that they'll ultimately be able to pinpoint where they sucked in that first fiber. I think it is only the cases like Jim's grandfather, which have extreme examples of exposure, where it can actually be nailed down. Most don't realize that when they drive down the interstate with the windows open on a dry summer day and dust is kicked up around the highway that they are breathing the stuff.

Like the others, I see the stuff all the time. I don't know if it is ACM but I report it as 'probable' ACM. As long as it isn't friable, I point out that it can't release fibers and recommend the buyer not disturb it and to have it encapsulated with latex if they're nervous about it. I point out that they could have an asbestos abatement contractor do it for a minimum cost of about $600. or do it themselves - with a paintbrush and ordinary latex paint - the choice is theirs. I also point out that a really durable jacket can be applied by coating it with 'Airlock', a latex mastic that is relatively cheap and can be applied right out of the bucket with nothing more than a rubber glove.

However, when I see it on the outside of the ducts, I know that about 95% of the time I'll find it on the inside of the ductwork, just behind the registers where the boots connect to the ductwork below. I take the client around to the registers, shine my flashlight inside and there is the tape, typically damaged, flapping in the air from the furnace.

Since I know that any cleaning whips sent through the ductwork that come anywhere near this stuff are going to tear it up, sending fibers into the home's atmosphere, I advise them to have the stuff inside the boots encapsulated right away. That way, the ductwork can be cleaned without damaging it further and contaminating the air of the home worse.

With some, you can see the light come on when I shine that light into those registers to show them that torn/flapping tape, because they have the stuff in the registers of their own homes and realize that if it is torn they have probably been breathing it for years - and so haven't most others that live in older homes in this city.

It's there. Like lead dust from paint, it's all around us, and folks just need to learn what they can do to deal with it as best they can in the tiny part of the environment that they'll be able to control, while at the same time realizing that will be akin to putting their pinky in a 5ft. wide hole in a dike.

Hell, at least with lead paint you can plant phosphate containing plants around a home and have the lead gradually removed from the soil around a home and consumed, and oil will eventually bio-remediate from microbial growth below ground. I don't think there is anything that will actually 'consume' asbestos fiber and the cat is already too long out of the bag for any of this hand waving to do much good.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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