I went into a home yesterday and for the first time in 9 years I saw an old furnace. It was the type of 1950's furnace that had individual heat ducts running out of it. I call it an elephant furnace. Wrapped around the ducts is the old asbestos insulation.
The picture is sideways,but all the white is asbestos insulation. I call this an elephant furnace as there are many trunks to the furnace. Here is some basic information on asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral substance that can be pulled into a fluffy consistency. Asbestos fibers are soft and flexible yet resistant to heat, electricity and chemical corrosion. Pure asbestos is an effective insulator, and it can also be mixed into cloth, paper, cement, plastic and other materials to make them stronger. These qualities once made asbestos very profitable for business, but unfortunately, they also make asbestos highly toxic. It does not matter whether is an all sports lake home in Oakland County or any home for sale in Metro Detroit asbestos is not something to fool with.
Asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases since at least the 1920s, though that didn’t slow down use of the mineral. From the 1930s through the late 1970s, asbestos use skyrocketed throughout the United States and the world, putting millions of people at risk of exposure. Throughout this same time period, the connection between asbestos exposure and cancer risk became more clear, as more reports of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases flooded in. Any amount of asbestos exposure, even limited, is considered dangerous and can later lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis. When inhaled or ingested, the microscopic asbestos fibers work their way into the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Over a period of 10 to upwards of 50 years, the fibers can cause inflammation and scarring, which can eventually develop into mesothelioma tumors or other related conditions.
Because asbestos is cancer causing you have to have the furnace removed by a remediation company. Those ducts have to be taken to a hazardous waste site. They have to be disposed of properly. Then you have to install a new furnace. But there is one more cost that you have to think about. You have to run new duct work for the new furnace. Most likely the old 1950's furnace did not have a air conditioner hooked up. So there is another cost.
You can't be stupid and try to remove the ducts yourself. You can't just dump those ducts anywhere. You would be endangering anybody that would come into contact with the old ducts. I have heard of people doing that but it is dangerous not only to the people removing them but to whereever they end up if they are not propertly disposed of.
Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and its use is now highly regulated by both OSHA and EPA. Asbestos fibers associated with these health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Breathing asbestos fibers can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. Asbestos also causes cancer of the lung and other diseases such as mesothelioma of the pleura which is a fatal malignant tumor of the membrane lining the cavity of the lung or stomach.
There is no "safe" level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans. Every occupational exposure to asbestos can cause injury of disease; every occupational exposure to asbestos contributes to the risk of getting an asbestos related disease.
If you are looking at a home with asbestos insulation you can get it remediated where it is safe to live it. It may be costly and you want the seller to pay for it if you can. If you need a real estate agent that will look out for you and help point out issues if I notice them......call me at (248) 310-6239. I work hard for my clients and try to protect them everyway I can.
Remember I have two great home buyer programs
Michigan home town heroes program that is open to first responders, medical staff, veterans, active duty military, city, and government workers. Or if you do not work in those occupations I still give a great home buyer bonus to my other buyers. You cannot get both bonuses. Only one or the other but either is a big bonus over a small gift basket that some other agents give.