What Homeowners Often Don't Realize About Asbestos and Its Removal

Asbestos is a fibrous substance that somewhat resembles fibreglass insulation, and which is hazardous to your health if you should breathe in those fibres. The material is typically outlawed for use in new construction, but older homes may still have asbestos in the attic and elsewhere. If you suspect this material is in your home, or you've already been told it's been found, note a few things to consider about the substance and its removal, so you better understand your options and ensure you and your family stay safe.

You can remove some asbestos yourself

In many areas, a homeowner is allowed to remove a very small amount of certain types of asbestos; since local laws and building codes will vary from place to place, you might call the office that issues building permits in your city, and ask what amount of asbestos you can remove yourself. That office can also tell you any requirements for how it should be contained and disposed of.

However, note that breathing in any amount of asbestos can be dangerous; even with proper coveralls and a breathing apparatus, you might be putting your health at risk by tackling this job yourself. You may also cause asbestos fibres to become airborne, so they settle in another spot where you breathe them in at another time. To protect yourself from any risk of exposure, leave this removal job to a professional. 

Not every contractor can remove asbestos

Not all contractors or even demolition experts can remove asbestos. As mentioned, there may be regulations for how the substances is bagged and disposed of, and a professional who removes asbestos may need to go through hours of training to get proper licensing. To ensure the asbestos in your home is removed thoroughly and is disposed of properly, ensure you work with a properly licensed asbestos removal expert and not just a general contractor.

Use a different vacuum

A professional asbestos removal company will typically remove all traces of asbestos from your home, but you may still want to vacuum it thoroughly after they've gone, to ensure the home is properly cleaned and there are no fibres stuck in carpeting and elsewhere. However, note that most household vacuum cleaners blow debris back out from the unit and onto the floor, to create suction. To avoid spreading any remnants of asbestos around your home, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which catches more particles of dust and dirt than a standard vacuum. This will ensure your home is clean and safe for occupancy.