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Important Questions About Asbestos and Having It Removed From Your Home

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No one likes to hear that they have asbestos in their home. This material was commonly used as an insulating material until it was discovered that breathing in its fibers was very dangerous to one's health. Homes today are generally not built with asbestos but if you have an older home, you may find out that it's in the attic and other areas.

If you find out that you have asbestos in your home, you may have many questions about the substance and having it removed. Note a few of those questions here and then consider discussing these with your asbestos removal contractor.

1. If you have fiberglass insulation, you may wonder how you could have asbestos in the home

Asbestos has been used for more than just insulating walls – it has often been wrapped around plumbing pipes, ductwork, furnaces, and hot water heaters. It may have also been used for soundproofing purposes and, in some cases, has even been used for decorative purposes. The fibers may be sprayed onto walls and then painted over to give the walls texture, much like the "popcorn paint" this is often used on ceilings. Even if the insulation in your home is fiberglass or another safer material, this doesn't mean that your home is free of asbestos, and your contractor can note where the substance was found.

2. Is asbestos always dangerous?

Breathing in the fibers is what makes asbestos so dangerous, so having it in your home alone isn't a hazard. However, it's good to note that asbestos can be easily disturbed through home improvement projects and anything that may involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and the like. Even if you're not cutting in the area of the asbestos itself, vibrations from your projects can loosen the fibers and cause them to become airborne. Your contractor can note the levels of danger you might face in your home.

3. Can a person tell if asbestos has been used?

Asbestos has been mixed into other compounds to give them strength and durability – certain flooring adhesives and caulk, for example, may contain asbestos. This is why you can't always determine if materials or items in your home contain asbestos simply by looking. Samples often need to be taken, but this is best left to a professional. He or she can also help determine if certain materials were known to contain asbestos based on their manufacturer and date of manufacture.