Does your heating system contain asbestos?
Buying or living in an older home doesn't usually cause much concern apart from giving it a lick of paint as well as styling the interior to your liking. Older homes don't tend to give you too much trouble since, like most homes, your surroundings are what you make of it.
This being said, there are some caveats to dealing with an older property. Older buildings can bring the risk of certain parts or features of the home containing asbestos. Asbestos was such a widely used material that homes built before the 1980s are almost guaranteed to have asbestos within them (if it hasn't already been removed). Heating systems especially were commonly built using asbestos due to the insulative and thermal capabilities of the material. It's properties made it a great option for insulation both inside of heating cabinet/cupboards as well as for piping itself. Asbestos cement was also used in a lot of heating cupboards as it was a popular aggregrate. Duct wrapping also contained asbestos as it was deemed a useful material to have when repairing or joining heat ducts/heating pipes.
Boilers were also commonly made with asbestos, again to make use of asbestos's thermal properties. Most heating related features in a home will have a high chance of containing asbestos if it was made or installed in a home before the 1980s. Heating ducts also made use of insulation containing asbestos.
Like with anything containing asbestos, it always has the chance of exposing those that are living around it. Prolonged or long term asbestos exposure can cause aggressive forms of cancer (mesothelioma). The thin fibres of asbestos are small enough to be inhaled and absorbed into the lining of your lungs when breathed in. This is the main cause of such diseases since the fibres will cause mutations overtime.
In terms of general exposure in your home, you should be fine if your asbestos is left undisturbed/undamaged. However, it can be hard to know if the asbestos in your home is well sealed or if it is infact, damaged. This is where a professional asbestos surveyor can assist you, as they will be able to check and confirm whether or not you should remove the asbestos in your home.
If you think you have asbestos in your home, the first thing you should do is consult an accredited professional. Those that have served their areas for decades are usually a go-to, as they'll be trained to know what they are looking at. Once a surveyor visits your home, they'll be able to check the suspected location as well as anywhere else in the home that you may not know about. Heating systems tend to span across the home so there may be hidden asbestos piping that you can't see or didn't know about.
Once the surveyor has located and confirmed the location of the asbestos, it can then be tested to verify whether or not the suspected materials actually contain asbestos. This is an important process as asbestos surveying is a visual process only. Testing the asbestos is the only surefire way of confirming the presence of asbestos.
If the tests come back positive, it will then be left to you whether you want it removed or not. The surveyor you work with will discuss your options and whether or not it's worth you removing the asbestos. Some forms of asbestos that are sealed and stabilised won't need the assistance of an asbestos removal service since they won't cause any harm if left undisturbed.
Based in Bristol, and covering the South West, A4 Asbestos are experts in testing, sampling, removal and collection of asbestos materials from domestic, commercial and industrial premises. From heating systems to garage roof removals, we have years worth of experience in a range of removals. For more information, give us a call on 0117 259 1425
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