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Added Jan 12 2013

It appears that my ~100 year old home has asbestos insulation on pipes in the basement. I'd assume that is the case in many if not most older homes in our area. I am concerned with the condition of the asbestos in my home, especially as I update / upgrade / repair my home; I am currently checking with some of the local inspection/abatement companies I see on Angie's List. I've done my research on asbestos concerns, abatement, repair, exposure, dangers, etc. in general, so I'm not looking for that info here. What I would like to know about however, is any of *your* experience with an asbestos concern in your home. How did you address it? Has anyone here had asbestos abatement work done? I'd like to hear your experiences. Thanks!

  • DV3

    Valor technologies! Excellent I used to work for them

  • A year ago we had an inspector come to our home saying that my 2 years old had high level of lead in his blood.
    He inspected our house and found asbestos in our windows.
    My husband had to go to an asbestos removing course downtown.
    They taught him how to safely remove it. The course was free.
    He hid the job himself and another inspector came and checked it out.
    They gave us a free asbestos certificate for the house.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    A house inspector told you your 2 year old child had a high lead level in their blood?

    Did the house inspector do a blood draw from your child?

  • No :) They were informed by the department of health after a blood test we had for him done at the hospital.
    The good thing is, this is how I learned about it as the doctor didnt think it was serious...

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @saralorin, you typed this:

    "A year ago we had an inspector come to our home saying that my 2 years old had high level of lead in his blood."

    What does a house inspector have to do with a hospital or Cook County Dept. of Health?

    The element, lead, and the substance, asbestos, are two different things.

  • kenji, asbestos is a mineral :)

    As for the rest I am sure sara meant to say lead. I do not know of any do it yourself asbestos removal programs (even after a quick search). You can get more info here.

  • Kenji you are right.
    I should have said lead. I rechecked the certificate and it says lead not asbestos.
    My apologies.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    OK now my head is spinning.

    You talk about an asbestos inspection and talk about water pipes being covered. then you talk about your child with a high lead count in their blood.

    What does the outside of your pipes, being covered, have to do with your kid's lead level in their blood?

    OK, I'm done.

  • Ruth Marie

    I thought kids get lead poisoning from eating paint chips off the wall.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Yeah that's what happens.

    you don't get lead poisoning from your water pipes in this city unless you are chewing on the pipe that comes into your basement six inches from the wall. After that the rest is iron or copper.

  • Josh. .

    If you’re absolutely certain that it is indeed asbestos then yes, definitely have the pros remove it. Also, there is a slim possibility that it may only take on the characteristics as asbestos but may not actually be asbestos. Asbestos abatement can be costly so, for only $40.00 you can send-off a quarter size sample to a Chicago lab for testing. NOTE: If you decide to break off a sample for testing be sure to spray down the area with water and place it a plastic zip lock bag all while wearing gloves and a dust mast of course.
    Good luck.

  • Please, all of you be careful with asbestos. A family member here has Mesothelioma most likely from forty years on a job where it was not dealt with properly. Check for professional removal; contact any government agencies who have knowledge and experience removing it. Between the flooding basements, upside down mortgages outrageous taxes and frightful lack of jobs with benefits we now reach an age where exposure to asbestos and similar dangers is just the topping on our happy happy cakes.

  • wayne 25 year Irving&Austin res.

    I also need to know! I have 9x9 tiles which I'lm told is made of asbestos and I was wondering about a DIY project...I have less than a 5'x5' surface I am looking for a cheap solution to this, but I don't want to do anything STUPID and to not find out would be just that....

  • I've been involved in building maintenance since my early teens, and more recently have been a partner in a firm specializing in Fire/Disaster Recovery for Home Owners in the Chicago Area.

    In 1978, the EPA banned the manufacture and use of lead-based paint 'for most applications'. Some landlords had a stash of paint that may have carried them over to 1980, but for the most part, any newly-painted surfaces were coated with a non-lead-based variant.

    When painting/re-painting a surface know to have been previously coated with a lead-based product,
    the substrate (lead-based layer) must be 'substantially removed'

    This means that it needs to be scraped and sanded to the point where there is no chipping, flaking, or peeling of that layer before the application of new paint may be applied.

    This also means that there is still a lot of lead-based paint covered up by new paint.

    Being that this is Chicago, and many, MANY homes are 60, 80, 100 years old, there is a lot of lead-based paint that has been covered-up over the years. The majority of it is benign. Where the problem occurrs, is when these re-painted surfaces need to act in a mechanical fashion... rubbing against each other... exposing decades-old poisons.

    The major culprit: WINDOWS

    Every time they open and close, they create dust. Surface on surface, every year, trying to grind them to their original (or new) specifications to fit their respective openings. In that dust, from the years of being painted and re-painted, is LEAD. Quickly inhaled by a child looking for breath of Springtime.

    It sneaks in and coats every surface in the household; it sinks into carpets and never leaves.

    You need to be very, very careful. Sadly, too careful for most people to be.

  • Drewski Don't feed the trolls.

    Dom V., thanks for the referral. I will add Valor to the list of companies to contact.

    Josh.2, thanks for the focus. I'm reasonably sure that the material in question is asbestos: :) although I will certainly have it tested by a pro. What I was wondering though, was whether anyone here had any kind of experiences regarding asbestos abatement in their home. I'll be asking other homeowners around the neighborhood, school, church, etc. I'd like to get as much local feedback as possible.

  • I was always curious about how kids got so much exposure to lead based paint and this is a really good answer. Thank you!

  • kenji Find us here -->


    Windows being opened and closed and houses in Jefferson and Portage park, and kids now in 2013 would have elevated levels of lead in their blood draws being done by doctors, clinics, and hospitals, because of our windows being opened and closed?

    I call total bullcrap.

    Show me the data. Right now.

  • OK.

    Asbestos removal from pipes.

    Were they MY PIPES... here's what I would do.

    Clear out the area of anything that 'may' be contaminated by the removal of the asbestos

    That means: before you even attempt this, the area must be clear of all obstructions, including
    furniture... what you want is an empty (basement?) level.

    Buy a Respirator. Not a dust mask...a $75- $125 3M certified Respirator, with additional filters, as needed, depending on the job time length...the longest pair of rubber gloves you can find...and, preferably a HAZMAT suit

    Get sheets of clear plastic and lay them over the pipes so that there's a 2-3 foot overhang..level on both sides

    get some clear garbage bags

    Duct-tape close the plastic overlay for 6 feet, and then tape in a garbage bag to hang open in the next section.

    You're going to cut away the insulation and toss it in the bag (hanging) in front of you.
    get a brush and wet-scrub the pipe as you move along (hose with water helpful)

    lather-rinse-repeat until all nasty insulation is gone
    dispose of waste (good luck)

    sweep and mop ALL surfaces...vertical..horizontal...all surfaces

    when dry...sweep/mop again.


    You could call someone to do it for you

  • If you DIY you all know you just can't toss this stuff in the trash correct? What about the trash pick up people? What about the landfill people? Or anyone else for that matter. Time to call the pros.

  • It's exactly the problem that concerns me..the ages of many of these old bungalows just about guarantee problems with such dangerous substances Kenji how do you go about getting data delivered to your house on command? :)

  • Josh. .

    I remolded my bungalow basement back in the 70’s without knowing there was asbestos insulation on my pipes. Luckily, I didn’t remove it. If you do not disturb old asbestos insulation it has no harmful effects. If you don’t have room in your budget for abetment just enclose or build soffits around all the pipes. Usually it’s just the cold water pipes which have this old asbestos insulation. My guess is many homeowners stay clear of asbestos abatement and simply build around it.

    Nonetheless, it sounds like you're moving forward with abatement.
    I would be interested to know where some of your estimates are coming in at. Last year my neighbors got an estimate of $11,000.00 to remove their original asbestos boiler (built in 1922) along with all the cold water pipe insulation wraps & flooring.

  • Jefferson Park Enthusiast Liberté, égalité... communauté!

    Drewski - please consider either professional abatement or covering them up with a heavy mil plastic that you seal around the problem. We have the 9x9 tiles which were perfectly fine to leave in place so long as they had absolutely no damage to them. Unfortunately, an HVAC contractor did not tighten the new radiator valves properly on install. They leaked, the tiles were damaged, and thus can now release the mineral into the air. If particles get embedded in your lungs, that's when the serious damage to your pocketbook and livelihood begins, so if you don't already have a disability policy, take one out now, lol. So anyway, I covered ours with heavy mil plastic and sealed with tape. For the time being, that's our solution. The key to asbestos removal (funnily enough, considering our situation), is water. The professionals wet everything down so the minerals are not released into the air as dust. That is the _worst_ thing you can do. Goodness knows how long it will hang around in your basement if it is released into the air.

    Good luck to you. It's annoying dealing with asbestos, but it's important for you and your family to get the removal or containment right.

  • Joyce JP homeowner

    When we bought our 90yr old house, we had 9x9 tiles in one room which had been carpeted over. Like you, I talked to several asbestos removal companies and all said there were no issues if tiles were intact. But we wanted to re-carpet and add in a drywall partition with a door. Decided to play it safe and get everything removed, down to the original floor so we (and future home-owners) would never have to think about the asbestos again. One asbestos contractor even gave me tips on how to do the work myself (I'll admit, I did think about it), but I decided to get it professionally done and disposed of (the law has specific requirements for asbestos disposal). I requested quotes from 4-5 companies (all including the $400 air quality testing done at the end by an independent environmental company). Some quotes came in within $100 from each other, others were about $800-$1000 more. Finally went with Brennan's Environmental Services, Inc.. They showed up on time, sealed off the area, set up the air vents, got in the white suits with respirators, etc and went to work. It took the better part of the day, but they got it all done, had the air inspector out there and took care of the tile disposal. I received the air clearance report in the mail about 2 weeks later.
    I went back and forth a lot about a large-cost item like this, especially since it wasn't an immediate health safety issue, but in the end, it was really worth the moeny to get it done professionally (especially seeing those guys in the suits taking it seriously) and to never have to think about it again.

  • I don't know of any specifically. I suggest reading a few online reviews of inspection companies in your area. It is probably something to look into sooner than later if you are worried about it. Good luck!

  • If you haven't had it down already, I'd have an inspector come and look at your home. Every asbestos problem is different, and some are harmless. Before you jump into a costly repair, make sure you know what you're getting into.

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