Hello, everyone! I’m Mario Ramirez, a licensed asbestos contractor. Today, we’re diving into a common concern that arises almost daily during home inspections, especially in the realm of real estate transactions: asbestos-containing tape in HVAC systems.

Identifying Asbestos in Your Home

During home inspections, it’s not uncommon for inspectors to pinpoint certain types of tape in older homes as potentially containing asbestos. The age of the house and the texture of the material often give it away. When this happens, an additional inspection is usually recommended. This topic often surfaces during the closing process or the due diligence phase of a real estate transaction, complicating matters.

Common Misconceptions and Risks

Some homeowners believe that simply covering the tape, as seen in some instances, resolves the issue. However, this approach can exacerbate the problem. Applying tape over asbestos-containing materials can disturb the fibers, releasing them into ductwork, crawl spaces, basements, and eventually, living spaces. Furthermore, scraping off the tape is even riskier, as it releases asbestos fibers directly into the home’s air.

The Importance of Professional Assessment

The presence of asbestos in ductwork is a critical issue that should be addressed. It’s advisable to discuss this with the listing agent or homeowner before proceeding with any transaction. I strongly recommend having the property inspected by an asbestos consultant or inspector before even listing the home for sale. Understanding the condition of asbestos materials and whether they need to be abated or removed is crucial.

EPA Guidelines and Recommendations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that undisturbed asbestos materials generally do not pose a risk, as the fibers are not released into the air. However, the situation with ductwork is different. Given that HVAC systems can be in place for 50 to 70 years, and considering the accumulation of dust, animal hair, skin, and other substances, cleaning can disturb the asbestos-containing joints.

Professional Advice on Ductwork Replacement

As an asbestos professional, I recommend seriously considering the replacement of ductwork that is 50 to 60 years old, similar to how you would replace your air conditioning unit every 20 or 30 years. Due to the potential contaminants, ensuring the safety and integrity of your HVAC system is paramount.

Thank you for tuning in. Stay informed and ensure your home’s HVAC system is safe and asbestos-free.