Angie’s List: Dealing with Asbestos

If your home is more than 30 years old, it likely has asbestos in it. That’s fine – unless you remodel and then grind or sand the asbestos contained in the floor tiles, insulation or roofing materials and create a hazardous dust, which could eventually lead to respiratory issues or even cancer.

Asbestos removal services
Because materials containing friable asbestos can be found in so many homes and buildings erected in the mid-20th century, an industry of asbestos abatement and  mitigation professionals has emerged.  These experts are trained to inspect homes for asbestos, take samples and judge the condition of asbestos-containing materials.  They provide homeowners with advice regarding correction and recommend qualified asbestos removal contractors. Some companies offer testing as well as assessment and abatement. The Environmental Protection Agency advises homeowners to avoid hiring an asbestos  tester and removal contractor from the same company to avoid conflict of interest.

The federal government, as well as some local and state governments, provides training courses for asbestos professionals. When hiring, homeowners should ask for proof of EPA-approved training or state training. Local and state health departments may be able to provide listings of licensed professionals. Homeowners should ask for references and get several estimates before hiring an asbestos mitigation company. When an asbestos professional is inspecting your home, make sure he or she collects samples for lab analysis. If asbestos is found, a written description of location, extent of the problem and recommended treatment should be provided.

Asbestos fiber containment
When work is being done in an area containing asbestos, the affected area is sealed off from the rest of the home with duct tape and plastic sheeting, and the air conditioning and heating systems are turned off. Home residents and pets are kept from the area until the project is complete.

Professionals use a hand sprayer to wet asbestos material and prevent fibers from becoming airborne during removal. They clean up with wet sponges and mops or high-efficiency vacuums designed to capture small particles. All asbestos-containing materials are carefully sealed in secure plastic bags.
Once asbestos treatment is complete, air sampling is carried out to determine that fewer than 0.01 fibers per cubic centimeter remain in the air. Higher levels call for additional cleaning and sampling. When sampling demonstrates acceptable air levels, the area is safe for occupancy.

How much does asbestos removal cost?
Asbestos removal cost varies based on the scope of the job —  removing asbestos insulation from a boiler will cost much less than removing asbestos siding from an entire house, for instance. Asbestos testing generally costs a few hundred dollars, and experts say the average asbestos removal job costs about $1,500. Angie’s List members who reported costs for asbestos removal work in 2015 reported spending an average of $2,424 per job. Most Angie’s List members spent between $500 and $2,900 on the asbestos abatement.

Categories: Angies List, Daybreak

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