How to check for asbestos in your home

Asbestos Surveys and Services

How can we identify Asbestos at home?

In the event your home was built before 1999; there is a great possibility for it to have asbestos in it. Regrettably, asbestos fibres are so tiny that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Consequently, the only way to spot or discover whether your house possesses asbestos is to check out for possible places where asbestos was used and then discuss with a licensed inspector to examine it.

It should be noted that asbestos in roofing and tiles etc. is not hazardous as such. It could potentially turn out to be unsafe with time when the asbestos fibres get loose and become airborne. Aside from natural decay, human interventions like drilling, breaking, renovation and other work can likewise disturb asbestos while release it into the air. Consequently, from an inactive stage, the asbestos turns out to be an active risk. The most bothersome part is that we may not even know it was released.

Likely areas where you can discover asbestos in your house are:

Insulation: vermiculite insulation, Batt insulation, wall insulation
Exteriors: corrugated roof, tile roof, window putty, shingles
Interiors and flooring: asbestos flooring, textured paint, sound proofing material, acoustic finishes
Wiring and appliances: switchboard panels, wiring insulation, freezers, fuse boxes, toasters, dryers, range hoods, dishwashers etc.
Heating and boiling: wall gaskets, duct lining, heating surface covering, door gaskets, coal/wood oven, lining
Others: clutches, brake linings (cars), patching compounds, gaskets

When and how to examine your house for Asbestos?

Asbestos that is mixed with other material or packed in casings is safe. The presence of asbestos at home is fine until the basis of the material wears out, malfunctions or is tampered with. It is in this state that the real risk lies. Therefore, you must ensure that the asbestos in your house is tested if:

• Your house was built before the 1999s

• You can observe visible wear and tear at areas where asbestos is used (piping, roofing, etc.)

• You prepare to carry out any renovation, which will necessitate demolishing or disturbing locations where there is likelihood of asbestos being utilised (such as fire place, tiles, paints, etc.)

• You suspect there is asbestos in your home, and would like to be certain.

• You plan to purchase a new house built before 1999, and would like to confirm if it is free of asbestos
Should any of the above be true, you must not lay hands on anything suspicious yourself. The next step is to consult a licensed asbestos-inspector for proper inspection, sampling and analysing of likely locations of asbestos usage.

Asbestos tests

If on the account of the points listed above, you are doubtful of the presence of asbestos but still wish to test, then call a professional asbestos inspector. They will take a sample of the suspicious material, and likewise advise you on the necessary safety measures while it is done, like removing furniture among others. The small sample is then tested in the laboratory for the presence of asbestos. These tests have to be carried out in the approved laboratories by authorities.

What if Asbestos has been confirmed in your home?

Should the test be positive, according to the condition of the product/location, you need to decide on what to do. Should the sampled product be fine and in good working state – it is better to let it remain as it is. However if the area is broken or degrading, you need to take steps to ensure it is removed immediately. The process of removal is a specialised one, and must not be carried out by yourself.

Hence, you need to invite an expert to handle its removal.

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