Spotting asbestos in your home is never ideal. But you need to have a plan of action to ensure that you safely deal with the situation.
You cannot just sit there and ignore it, hoping that the asbestos you have spotted (or disturbed) simply just disappears. Asbestos fibres will stay in the air for long periods of time with the potential to be breathed in, causing you likely harm later on down the road.
So, here we thought we would give you a breakdown, so that you know exactly what to do, should you either spot or disturb asbestos at your home or property.
What Are The First Steps To Take When I Discover The Asbestos In My Home?
Should you stumble upon the material in your home, it is important not to panic. When you have identified the area it is present, you must ensure that you leave it alone. Do not attempt to remove it from where it was discovered. This could only make things worse.
You need to ensure that you contact an asbestos professional first and foremost. Even if you are in the middle of an extensive DIY project, stop what you are doing and look online for an asbestos professional. They can then determine the extent of the asbestos problem, before providing solutions that you can take in order to safely contain or remove the asbestos.
If you have in fact damaged the material, by putting a drill through the wall for example, the advice is still the same. Leave the clearance up to the professionals to ensure this is done to the optimal safety standards.
What Should I Not Do?
There are a few things we strongly advise that you don’t do once you discover asbestos.
Do Not Ignore It –
If there is just one bit of advice you take away from this article, it will be to never ignore the signs of asbestos. The harm it causes to your body will not be felt for anything up to 30 years. So whilst you feel fine now and do not consider the ACM (asbestos containing material) to be a problem now, you are potentially breathing in the fibres without you even realising.
Do Not Try To Clear Up Yourself –
Should you accidentally damage the asbestos before discovering it whilst performing DIY or decorating, never try to clear it up. No matter how much dust you discover, clearing up will only just make things worse. A dustpan and brush would just whip up the fibres making them harmful and airbourne. Even using the hoover will disturb the fibres causing them to fill the air. Even the professional advice will be to not touch it. So no matter how much you may think you are helping, never try to clean up asbestos yourself!
Do Not Try To Remove Asbestos Yourself –
Removal of the asbestos must be performed by a certified professional. There are techniques and methods for removal that can keep the risk of exposure to a minimum. Without the relevant training and qualifications you will not know how to do this. It doesn’t matter how detailed the video you watched on YouTube was! You might think that you are saving yourself a few quid by doing the removal, but ultimately you are playing with the safety of you and all occupants in the building. So leave your DIY ego at the door and seek out a professional.
What Will The Professional Do When I Call Them To My Property?
When you have called an expert to your home, they will determine a number of key factors. These will help them better understand the best course of action moving forward. They will perform the following tasks:
Full, detailed inspection of your property
Here the professional will look around the entire building. They will check the asbestos you have discovered yourself, to determine the condition and extent of the asbestos in your home. The expert will also take a look at the more common areas that asbestos can be found to see if there are more ACMs. If your expert is local they will likely know the common areas that this is found in your area (due to common building practices used in other buildings close to your home). Areas they could check include roof spaces, insulation, tiles, wall cavities and more.
The professional that you decide to use may well deem it necessary to test the asbestos they find. They will do this by collecting a sample and sending it off to a lab for it to be checked. This will determine the type of asbestos that is present. Once the expert has these results, they can gauge the appropriate removal method, or whether a removal is needed at all. You can get a DIY asbestos kit for yourself, more information can be found here. However, it is recommended to leave the testing to the professionals to minimise risk and damage to the ACM.
Determine The Appropriate Way To Proceed
Having fully identified the asbestos that is present in your home, the next step is to gauge the appropriate measures that will need to be taken. Here there are three outcomes that they can suggest:
- Leave The ACM to be – Here the professional will determine that the asbestos is not airborne and presents no risk to the occupants as long as it is left alone. This will mean that you can carry on your day to day life as normal, cohabiting with the ACM. This will be deemed appropriate if the ACM is at low to minimal risk of damage. They will provide you with the appropriate information you will need. This can often be the case if the ACM is the cement in your garage for example
- Encase The ACM – This action will be taken where removal is too risky or is simply not cost effective. The ACM will be safely encased to ensure that it is shielded from any possible damage. Examples of this can be in boilers or window seals that have plastic casing to protect the asbestos from the outside elements.
- Removal of the Asbestos – When the asbestos found in your home poses a risk to damage and can easily be removed, you can have an expert both remove and dispose of the material.
Hopefully from reading this post you have a better understanding of what to do should you discover asbestos in your home. The key things to remember are not to panic, don’t take action yourself and always call a professional.
For experienced asbestos removal experts in Essex, be sure to give Smart Asbestos Solutions a call on 07708 761540.