The presence of asbestos in the home is not normally a serious problem. However, the danger lies in the fact that the materials containing asbestos may become damaged after a certain period of time. When damaged, asbestos may be released into the air, causing a health hazard.
What are the common household materials that contain asbestos?
Asbestos in the home is usually restricted to a few common areas. So if you are checking for asbestos in the home, make sure to check the following areas:
- The roof and siding of the home. Asbestos in the home often come in the form of shingles used for roofing and siding.
- Insulation. This is especially true if your house was built some time between 1930 and 1970.
- Walls and ceiling joints. Some textured paint and patching compounds may be sources of asbestos in the home as they contain asbestos additives. If your house was built and painted before 1977, there is a good chance the paints used contained asbestos.
- Gas-fired fireplaces. Gas-fired fireplaces use artificial ashes and embers in order to create the illusion of a true wood fireplace. These ashes and embers may be sources of asbestos in the home.
- Stove-top pads. If you have one in the home, be sure to check it for asbestos or asbestos compounds.
- Woodburning stoves. Some homes have the walls and floors around the stoves insulated with asbestos paper, cement sheets and millboard.
- Floor tiles. Asbestos in the home can be likely found if your floor tiles are made from vinyl. Check the backing of the sheet flooring for asbestos containing adhesives.
- Plumbing. You may have asbestos in the home if your house is one of those older ones that have hot water and steam pipes. Asbestos may be used to coat the pipes.
- Furnaces and gaskets. Asbestos insulation may also be used for oil and coal furnaces. Also, check for asbestos in door gaskets.
How to Identify Asbestos in the Home
It is impossible to identify materials containing asbestos in the home just by looking at it. The only chance you can recognize asbestos containing materials for certain through an ocular inspection is if the material itself has a label that says it contains asbestos. So in order to find out if there is asbestos in the home, you need the help of a qualified professional. The first thing he will do is to take samples of the material, analyze it, and determine whether it is positive for asbestos fibers.
Note that even if there is asbestos in the home, it does not necessarily mean that it is a health risk. Again, only when the asbestos containing material is damaged or in bad condition that you should consider repairing or removing it from the home.