During these cold Colorado winters that spread into snowy springs, we rely heavily on the HVAC systems in our homes and businesses to keep us, our families, and our customers warm. Upkeep and maintenance on these systems is important to ensure they are getting the job done safely and efficiently. Special caution should be taken when handling older HVAC systems as some components may contain asbestos.
Why was asbestos used in HVAC systems?
Asbestos was used in HVAC systems for the same reasons it was used in many other places (check out a list of common household sources here). Inclusion of asbestos helps contribute to durability, heat and fire protection, and soundproofing. Asbestos was also inexpensive, making it a prime choice for manufacturers.
What parts of the HVAC system can contain asbestos?
Asbestos can be found throughout the HVAC system. Most commonly it is in the wrapping of ductwork both inside and outside of the duct passages. This wrapping can come in the form of paper or tape. Additionally, some systems utilize cement asbestos transite piping for ductwork or as chimneys. Asbestos can also be found in the flexible joints between ducts and other system components.
How do I know if my HVAC system contains asbestos?
The best way to determine if your HVAC system contains asbestos is to have it inspected by a certified inspector. They are trained to identify asbestos risk and properly sample and test materials. You can find a list of building inspectors certified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment here.
What should I do if my HVAC system contains asbestos?
If your system is functioning and the ductwork is not being damaged or disturbed, then they can be left alone. If asbestos containing elements of your system need to be removed or replaced, contact a certified General Abatement Contractor (like Risk Removal) to have the elements properly removed. Removing these materials yourself or having them removed without proper care can result in the spread of dangerous asbestos fibers into the HVAC system and throughout your property.