• February 2, 2004


Restoration Diary,

The grey coating on top of the register vent is asbestos. I covered the hole to keep the cats out of it.

Today, Kevin from Fresh Air Environmental Services Inc. came over to look at the asbestos insulation covering our original heating ducts and register returns. His advice? Leave the asbestos alone. He assured me that as long as asbestos is well sealed in the walls it will do no harm. He felt that our asbestos was in good shape. This surprised me because it appeared to be in bad shape to me, with little tears here and there. He said once the heat duct was sealed back up in the wall that it would be nothing to worry about.

We had covered the asbestos with duct tape and he said that was fine and it would encapsulate it, although state regulations would not allow them to use duct tape. I showed him the register returns which had most concerned me because the edges had asbestos that were exposed to the room. After discovering the register vents were wrapped in asbestos on the outside, I sprayed expandable foam around the edges where the vents meet the wall to seal in the asbestos. Kevin seemed to be impressed with my solution and said that they use a lot of expandable foam on their jobs and that was a fine way to prevent exposure to asbestos.

He checked how the new register vents were connecting into the old asbestos ones and said that seemed to be ok, too. Kevin said that he felt we had nothing to worry about. He said we could remove the register vents and heat ducts if we chose to, but his recommendation was to leave everything alone. This surprised me coming from a licensed abatement contractor. I thought he would have suggested removal, if for no other reason than to make some money.

Everything that I had been reading on the internet about asbestos had scared me but Kevin pointed out that asbestos isn’t radio active, it’s not going to jump off the walls and into my lungs. Abatement humor.

We also discussed removing the asbestos shingles from the outside of our house. We will probably have Kevin back in a few months to do that.

We got the lab results back today. The insulation on the heat ducts and register vents is 50 – 60% asbestos. The exterior shingles contain only 10-15% asbestos by comparison. The results are unsettling to me. Will we ever be able to encapsulate the asbestos well enough in the walls so that it does no harm? Are we being stupid by not having it removed or is removing it an unnecessary expense that could potentially release more fibers into the air during removal (even by professionals)? It makes my lungs hurt just thinking about it.

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