How I Came to Love Construction

Does Your Home Have Asbestos? Important Dos And Don'ts

by Wade Black

Asbestos started showing up in homes in the United States in the early 1900s. It was thought to be a perfect material for construction because it was fireproof and worked well as an insulator. As science evolved, it became clear that asbestos was doing far more harm than good when it came to people's health.

As more and more people were diagnosed with severe health complications due to asbestos exposure, it was slowly phased out of the construction world. Unfortunately, there are many homes in the United States that still contain this harmful material. If you suspect your home has asbestos, there are some important guidelines you should follow to ensure you don't expose yourself and your family to these harmful airborne fibers.

Identifying Asbestos

Before you can determine if you have a problem, you first must be able to identify that there is a problem. The best way to identify asbestos is to know where it is most commonly found. The EPA has an in-depth list of places where asbestos may have been used in your home. The look of asbestos can vary greatly depending on how the material was used. It can resemble plaster coating, insulation, tiles and lint. If you have a location in your home that you suspect has asbestos after referencing the EPA's list of common locations, do not disturb the area!

Don't Keep Investigating

Whether you have found asbestos on accident or on purpose, stop what you are doing! Asbestos that is left alone is not harmful; asbestos that has been disturbed or damaged can disperse dangerous fibers into the air. If you are in a high-traffic area of your home, make sure family members avoid the space until a professional can be called.

Don't Clean Up The Mess

This is especially important if you are in the middle of a home renovation. You may be tempted to sweep, dust, or clean the area in question to prepare for a professional company to survey the damage. These types of actions can send asbestos fibers airborne to further contaminate the space and endanger the residents in the home.

Do Have Your Suspected Asbestos Tested

A professional asbestos abatement company has the resources available to test your suspected asbestos quickly and efficiently. You may find directions online to collect a sample yourself. This is a dangerous job to take on yourself. Professional abatement companies have the protective gear necessary to test and remove asbestos. More importantly, if you do have asbestos, professionals can keep the asbestos from spreading further in your home.

Do Hire a Professional Abatement Company

There are many tutorials and websites online offering advice on removing your own asbestos. While this will save you a few pennies up front, it is likely not worth the cost of your health. Asbestos exposure is wildly dangerous and the repercussions to your health are not worth the risk. The type and quantity of asbestos you have will determine the length of time you may be displaced from your home while it is removed. Your abatement company, like IRS Environmental of WA Inc., will be able to give you an in-depth analysis on the cost of removal and the length of time necessary to properly remove all of it.

Asbestos is an unfortunate fact of life many will have to deal with in their lives. Since it was used in so many materials for so long, odds of having it somewhere in your home are higher than you'd like. If you suspect or happen to find asbestos in your home, don't run the risk of exposing yourself or your family to this harmful material. Contact a professional removal company as soon as possible to remedy the problem.