Buying a residential home comes with several uncertainties, and asbestos contamination might just be one of them. This is vitally important, considering that asbestos is not entirely banned in the US. For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises home buyers to test for asbestos before buying homes. The test becomes more crucial when the home has old tiles, rusty pipes, or other items that appear too old.
When it comes to asbestos testing, you can’t detect its presence by just looking at it. Worse, the harmful asbestos has no smell, making it even harder to detect.
If you suspect you have asbestos in your home, call in a reputable asbestos testing company to assess the situation. Hiring a certified professional to test the presence of asbestos is crucial, and you need to address the process carefully. There is a lot to know if you want to avoid making mistakes in the contracting and testing process.
When Is Asbestos a Concern?
Asbestos fibers are only a concern when the product containing asbestos starts to deteriorate. That is when the material is old and extensively damaged by natural elements. A ceiling, a tile, or anything containing asbestos will likely produce asbestos fibers.
These fibers are a health hazard when you inhale or ingest them. For instance, if you inhale the fibers in large quantities, they cause asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that is hard to treat. This is the primary reason you should test for asbestos before purchasing or moving in to a new home.
Notably, anything that contains asbestos but that is in good condition poses a minimal threat to your health and will not produce asbestos fibers. Further, it is worth noting that removing asbestos in a good-quality material will also damage that material. For this reason, it is best to leave such materials undisturbed, even when they contain asbestos.
Home Asbestos Testing
Asbestos can cause severe health issues. If you suspect your home has surfaces or products that release asbestos fibers, you should not remove or disturb them. Remember, any unprofessional handling of asbestos can cause the hazardous fibers to spread. Instead, leave the surface undisturbed and have your home tested for asbestos by a reputable company. You can always find a certified asbestos-testing professional in your county. Here are steps that you can follow when testing for asbestos and clearing it from your home.
1. Check for Tears, Abrasions, or Water Damage
These checks will give you a strong basis for deciding the next step. Precisely, anytime you suspect that your home or one you want to move into has damaged surfaces containing asbestos, you should take action quickly. First, you can check for abrasions, tears, water contamination, or water pipe damage to affirm your suspicion.
If you find any material that seems problematic, do not touch or scratch it. Instead, limit access to the affected areas. If you realize that the identified material has great asbestos damage, call a professional to remove and replace it with new material.
2. Call for a Professional Inspection
Contact an industrial hygiene professional or reputable environmental firm to inspect the problematic area. The inspection should include a complete visual examination, collection of samples, analysis of those samples, and submission of the results.
Different asbestos tests will cost varying amounts. For example, air testing can cost about $500 while water testing can cost around $100 to $300.
If the testing professional confirms the presence of asbestos after inspection and analysis, they should give you a written evaluation. The evaluation document describes the exact location and extent of the damage, plus recommendations for repair or prevention of asbestos spread. After receiving this evaluation report, you can call an asbestos abatement contractor to implement the recommendations.
3. Contact an Asbestos Abatement Contractor
At this stage, you can now hire an asbestos abatement company. But before work begins, ensure you get a written contract specifying the work plan. This should include the federal and local regulations that the contractor has to follow. The regulations include things like permits, notifications, and asbestos disposal procedures.
After this, the contractor can start work and must adhere to the set regulations and terms of the contract. As a homeowner, ensure the asbestos abatement contractor follows these rules:
- Avoid spreading asbestos material dust in other areas within the home.
- Dispose of the materials. Any disposable equipment and clothes used to perform the task will be sealed in a well-labeled leakproof bag.
- Ensure the work site is clean and free from any remains or debris.
- Clean the whole place with wet mops, sponges, or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaner. Avoid using ordinary vacuum cleaners.
- The materials removed should not be broken into smaller parts as this could release more asbestos fibers into the air.
- Before removal, the professional should apply a wetting agent to the material using a hand sprayer to form a fine mist. This is because the wet fibers will not fly in the air like the dry fibers. Additionally, wet fibers are easy to clean.
- The work site should be boldly marked as a hazard area. Take measures to prevent pets and household members from getting near this area until work is complete.
- Seal the working region from the other parts of the home with plastic sheeting and highly adhesive duct tape.
- Turn off the HVAC system in this working region.
- A plastic glove bag is enough sealant for minor repairs like pipe insulation removal.
- Seal and dispose of the bag as per the environmental conservation regulations.
When the contractor finishes the work, contact an inspector to assess and test to confirm the absence of asbestos. If there is no asbestos, you can rest assured and confident that your home is asbestos free.
However, if the asbestos testing professional finds more, you will have to find another asbestos abatement company.
Whether you suspect asbestos presence in your old or new home, it is imperative to take prompt action. Remember, continued consumption of asbestos fibers causes a high risk of asbestosis. The best thing to do to confirm that you are in an asbestos-free environment is to contact and hire an asbestos testing company.
G3 Environmental offers thorough asbestos testing services to help ensure the safety of your home and business. Our highly skilled professionals will impress you with top-tier service and results. We service greater Phoenix including, Mesa, Tucson, Gilbert, Chandler, and surrounding areas.