Home Owners and Asbestos Exposure

Historically, asbestos has been included in products around the home and have been one of the sources for construction material in the early 20th century. Both homeowners and construction workers have dealt with asbestos concerns during repairs, remodels and demolitions. In many cases, the presence of asbestos goes completely undetected, placing those on site at risk for inhaling airborne asbestos fibers.

The use of asbestos in homes was so extensive that it’s best to assume most homes built before the 2003 ban could contain some amount of asbestos products. Homeowners who perform do-it-yourself projects should especially understand the risks of asbestos exposure and familiarize themselves with common locations for asbestos products so they can avoid them.

Most countries have established strict regulations to minimize exposure levels and prevent future asbestos-related diseases from developing. According to the International Labor Organization, about 100,000 workers pass away from an asbestos-related disease each year.

Health Concerns

Asbestos exposure has been linked to lung cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma and other cancers. All of these conditions cause respiratory problems and are difficult to treat. Common symptoms include coughing, chest pain, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath, but such symptoms can take 50 years to arise after exposure occurs. If you experience respiratory problems and suspect you were exposed to asbestos during a home project, it’s important to undergo screening by a doctor who is familiar with asbestos-related disease.

What to Look For

Homeowners should not be too concerned about asbestos if their home was built after 1980. But a home built before this date is likely to contain asbestos-containing materials and certain locations present more hazards than others. Common locations for asbestos products include:

  • Attics
  • Roofs
  • Ceilings
  • Basements
  • Exterior siding
  • Flooring

Areas inside homes that needed insulating and fireproofing were hotspots for asbestos-containing materials. Some of the most common asbestos products used for home construction included:

  • Insulation
  • Roofing felt
  • Shingles
  • Exterior siding
  • HVAC parts
  • Popcorn ceilings

Safety Recommendations

It’s important to understand that not all asbestos-containing materials present a health hazard. If asbestos products are in good condition and aren’t damaged, asbestos fibers will not become airborne. However, any disturbance to asbestos products can result in airborne asbestos fibers.

If you’re performing a construction project and suspect the presence of asbestos-containing materials, hire a professional to come check them out. Handling asbestos is very dangerous and strict laws regulate how asbestos can be removed from a home. Proper disposal procedures are required as well.

Bio: Jensen Whitmer has been writing for the Mesothelioma Center for more than three years and he has an interest in spreading awareness about the hazardous effects of asbestos exposure.  I thank him for being a “guest blogger” on my site and for sharing this important information.

Properly Responding to Mold in Your Home (Video)

There is an industry that is growing as rapidly as mold, itself, that sometimes feeds upon the fears of home owners who find or suspect “toxic mold” in their homes.

Knowledge replaces fear … and I found this video to be informative and entertaining.

While I have not independently researched or evaluated the accuracy of the descriptions of medical conditions addressed in the video and cannot personally confirm their accuracy, I enthusiastically support the emphasis that is stressed on identifying the conditions and addressing them rather than spending large sums of money to test, identify and remove the colony – only to have it return the next time you run your air conditioning unit.

This video describes the importance of identifying and addressing the conditions that cause mold to appear and how to properly address them.

Whether the home owner decides to pay to have their mold “tested” and identified or not, they should NEVER hire the same person/company who is “testing” their mold to remove it.

Enjoy.

There are many good points, here. Whether it is mold, structural or energy issues … prundent home owners should never hire the person “discovering” the damage to fix it.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions, IAQS

#1 Mold Scam: Mold Inspections Performed by Mold Remediation Contractors

The biggest mold scam is and always has been – mold remediation contractors who perform mold inspections. When it comes to mold, you do NOT want a mold inspector who is motivated to find mold removal jobs for himself.

Mold remediation or mold abatement is a very profitable business and engaging in both mold inspections and mold remediation is a serious conflict of interest. The potential for fraudulently creating thousands of dollars in bogus mold removal work that never needed to be done is tremendous and – unfortunately – an everyday occurrence in this industry.

This is fraudulent practice of securing your own work by inspecting for mold then offering to remediate the mold is against the Law in the State of Florida.  Your Mold Remediator and Mold Inspector MUST be Licensed by the State.  Under the Florida Licensing Law…

View original post 1,899 more words

Energy Efficiency and Your Water Heater (Part Two)

Conventional gas water heaters present an additional challenge to the home owner improving the energy efficiency of their water heater.  In addition to the energy loss through demand, standby and distribution (as previously discussed), the conventional gas water heater will waste a greater percentage of energy than electrical water heaters due to the design of the burner and ventilation system.

The wasted energy specific to gas and oil water heaters are:  excess air, dilution air and off-cycle air circulation.

Excess Air

Approximately 15 cubic feet of air is required to efficiently burn one cubic foot of gas.  Wasted heat and combustion by-products are carried by air through the chimney and are not heating water.  Some of this waste cannot be avoided, but the more excess air that flows through the burner the more energy is wasted.

Dilution Air

Dilution air is air from within the room that enters the flue at the draft diverter during combustion to assist in providing the draft needed to carry the dangerous combustion by-products to the outdoors.  Some or all of this dilution air is air that has been heated or cooled from the home.

Off-Cycle Air Circulation

Surrounding indoor air circulates through the burner and flue, carrying the heat away from the water (and conditioned air away from the home) and up the chimney.

There are improved gas and oil water heaters that reduce these losses that are directly related to ventilation by restricting the air that flows through the flue and chimney.  Some designes have eliminated the draft diverter.

By restricting the air flow through the flue and chimney, air circulation carrying the heat away from the tank has been reduced.

None of these are modifications that the home owner should do on their own since proper drafting through the flue and chimney are necessary to ensure that the dangerous by-products and gases produced during the combustion process are safely vented to the outdoors.

Since gas is a less expensive energy resource than electricity, many home owners will want to find the way to efficiently use it as opposed to replacing their gas appliances with those using more costly electricity.  The professional who conducts the diagnostic home performance evaluation will assist the home owner in locating a qualified contractor who can safely affect these changes.

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