Okay, picture this scenario.
You’ve found you have asbestos in your new home. Congratulations, you have a lot of work ahead of you, but you’ve at least minimised the risks of getting respiratory conditions because of it. Even with all of that, rest assured it’s a move in the right direction.
Now, you’ve decided not to spend money on getting an expensive removal job done. You know where the fibres are and you think you won’t need a professional to clear it out.
Your choice, though we do profusely and passionately advise getting someone else to do it for you. There are training and equipment for this that isn’t available to most people.
It’s a high-risk move, but if you’re adamant about it, you can try to remove the asbestos yourself. To help, here’s some information you might want to know about first.
Asbestos is composed of silicate fibres thinner and finer than ahuman hair. They’re easily inhaled and scratch the tissue lining the lungs. The natureof these fibresis what makes them so dangerous. They’re also fire-resistant and are fantastic insulators, which explains their popularity.
Asbestos fibres are either curly (white asbestos) or straight (blue asbestos). Of the two, the blue asbestos is known to be more dangerous.
As a rule, asbestos is much more hazardous as individual fibres because they’re ‘free,’ and easier to breathe in. Asbestos that’s in a compact form, with little risk of disaggregating, are much less harmful. You’ll still want to be careful around them, though.
With that in mind, it is nice to know that bonded asbestos is relatively safe. As long as the material is intact and without damage, the fibres are not a high-risk factor. You might not want to leave the stuff alone too long, but you do have a bigger window of time.
Asbestos in good condition is safe, but you should regularly check just in case. Any change in the condition would necessitate getting the job done. If you have people working near it, they’ll need to know so they don’t disturb it.
If the condition is moderate, containment may be a better choice than removal. It is also potentially cheaper.
Checking the condition becomes more important, and should occur regularly. Looking into getting it removed might be a wise choice before you have any renovation work done. At this stage, it’s still intact enough that it’s not a substantial risk.
If it’s far from intact, remove it. No questions asked, just remove it. It’s a health hazard now.
If asbestos has been degraded or damaged, then you should worry.
If it has been disturbed, clean out the site and make sure there are warning signs. If you can, secure it and keep anyone from getting in or anything from getting out. At this point, you need a professional, because the fibres have likely spread and you’ll need a specialised vacuum to get them.
If you’re adamant about doing it yourself, you could do worse than clearing it out while it’s still in one piece. If it’s broken down already, professionals are the better choice.