Replacing Old Material Containing Asbestos Fibers Before Installing Attic Insulation

When replacing existing old material that may contain asbestos fibers with new material before installing new attic insulation, there are some special considerations to take into account. Vermiculite insulation, which is a light gray scaly mineral about the size of a pea, is commonly found in attics and may contain asbestos. It is important to have it tested in an approved laboratory to make sure that it does not contain asbestos. Contacting the local health department can provide the name of an approved laboratory.

Asbestos-containing coating was also commonly used as a building material and is usually not as dangerous as insulating asbestos pipes or boilers. Although some contractors insist on removing the siding before replacing it, there is no state requirement that requires the siding to be removed before a new siding is installed on the home. Alternatively, you can paint it or place it on its side. If you place it on the opposite side, the new coating must be screwed in to prevent the asbestos-containing coating from breaking.

If renovations require alteration of the asbestos lining, precautions must be taken to ensure that no fibers are shed during extraction. The insulation should be wrapped completely around the pipes, often with an outer shell to attach the insulation to the pipes. This program includes a home energy assessment and common home improvements, such as sealing air leaks and insulating the attic of the house. Trust ENERGY STAR to make your energy decisions count for a clean energy future, providing you with information on how to measure your levels, choose the right type of insulation and hire an insulation contractor.

Low levels of attic insulation and air leaks force air conditioning and heating systems to work harder, wasting energy and causing discomfort in the home during summer and winter. Since the most common types of insulation (fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool) have an R-value of approximately 3 to 3.5 per inch, it's easy to estimate how much R-value your attic insulation currently has. Making sure the attic is well sealed and properly insulated is one of the most important things you can do as part of upgrading your home with ENERGY STAR certification to reduce air leaks, which contribute to energy waste and make your home less comfortable. The types of insulation most commonly manufactured using asbestos are loosely filled insulators, also called blown insulators.

The contractor must provide you with documentation at the end of the job to show how much insulation has been added and what is the new insulation R-value for your attic. Insulation made from this material represents more than 70 percent of the vermiculite insulation found in U. S. homes.

The two main types of asbestos-containing insulation commonly found in homes are vermiculite insulation and asbestos pipe insulation. Insulation was used for all kinds of purposes, including the insulation of walls, floors, pipes, ducts and boilers. Expanded vermiculite is a lightweight, fire-resistant and odourless material, and has been used in numerous products, including attic and wall insulation. In addition, you should consider whether any alteration to the insulation (possibly by a contractor working in the attic) can cause fibers to settle in other areas of the house where there could be exposure.

If the attic or wall insulation is in the form of a block or blanket, whether made of fiberglass, cellulose or other material, you usually don't have to worry about asbestos. If you have loose-filled insulation that is gray, soft, and dull, it's probably cellulose insulation. You can spend less on your attic sealing and insulation project by taking advantage of federal tax credits and utility rebates offered in some parts of the country.

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