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Insulation value of 90 year old asbestos vs. modern fiberglass

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Does anyone have any reference information on the insulation value of my original 1920s vintage asbestos insulation and today's fiberglass insulation? I assume a 2 inch thickness.
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Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,883
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    Why the comparison?

    Have it properly abated and replaced.
    exqheat
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 370
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    pecmsg said:

    Have it properly abated and replaced.

    Why? If it works, don't fix it.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
    Zmanexqheat
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,883
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    Precaud said:

    pecmsg said:

    Have it properly abated and replaced.

    Why? If it works, don't fix it.
    I agree it works but if or when something goes wrong it can literally become life threatening!
    Hap_Hazzardexqheat
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 370
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    That doesn't sound like realistic risk assessment to me. What's the likelihood of "something going wrong"?

    When I bought my place 30 years ago, the housing inspector said the asbestos should be removed and replaced. After examining it myself, I decided that he was giving CYA advice. Even with my lab situated down there and working in it daily, it has been easy to just leave it alone and not disturb it. That was 30 years ago... and it's still true today.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Mist, and encapsulate is the best, and most cost effective approach for asbestos.

    However if piping is in poor condition. Proper Abatement is a must.

    Canuckerexqheat
  • Fizz
    Fizz Member Posts: 547
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    the only danger is if you work with it frequently(plumbers, electicians, boiler forlks).l There's never been a documented case of meso or other forms of cancer due to living in homes with asbestos insulation. Heck, I'm 72, and grew-up with asbestos insulated pipes, which my brothers and I poked with pencils and screw drivers. Byw, both are older by 2 and 5 yrs and no asbestos maliaty. Nothing insulates better!
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Gordy
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    It seems the OP may want to insulate pipes better? If that is the case then misting, and encapsulating with new insulation.
    ChrisJ
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,436
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    I agree -- mist and encapsulate. The threat from asbestos is entirely from inhalable dust. No dust, no threat.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisJ
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    Encapsulation is fine until something leaks or breaks or there is a fire and spreads it everywhere...
    ChrisJ
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,436
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    mattmia2 said:

    Encapsulation is fine until something leaks or breaks or there is a fire and spreads it everywhere...

    This is, of course, quite true. If something breaks and you have to do maintenance, you had best be aware of the possibilities and take proper precautions. In my humble opinion, however, if you have a fire you may just have other problems to worry about... I'd rather worry about a little asbestos dust than the smoke from burning polyisocyanate, for instance. Or some upholstery foams... or some other plastics. On the other hand, maybe not. The asbestos has a small chance of making you ill in a few decades, while the smoke from the various plastics will kill you right away, and you don't have to worry any more.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    BobC
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    It is more the exposure to firefighters and the potential to spread it throughout the house such that it can't practically be decontaminated that concerns me.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    The pretense for abatement does not revolve around potential disasters natural, or otherwise.
    ChrisJSuperTech
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
    edited January 2020
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    That seems like rather a large oversight.

    Fire is a less likely event but I don't think a whole lot is done to protect first responders from breathing it after the fire is out and the building has been ventilated of smoke or from tracking it everywhere on their clothing.

    The thing that is very likely to eventually happen in most installations is that some sort of plumbing or outer envelope mishap is likely to soak a portion of it and spread it around at some point in life of the building.
    SuperTech
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited January 2020
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    Yes first responders need to be made aware of the risks. Good knowledge of the structures, and their potential hazards the department covers is a start.

    What you are saying is that any building with asbestos material should be abated. Not going to happen. There are far more asbestos containing materials in buildings than I believe you are aware. Low,medium, and high risk.

    It’s not just insulation. Floor tiles, ceiling tiles, wall board compound, fireproofing etc.
    Canucker
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,590
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    I watched the demolition of five very large buildings that were known by all (Local govt) to be laden with asbestos. They were knocked down while snow making machines blew water on the rubble and on the dump trucks before they went down the highway.

    So, I don't feel too bad about saturating my asbestos covered steam pipes with soapy water and let the slime fall into a large tote which currently sits safely ,well taped shut, and labelled in my crawlspace.

    The quote I received to properly abate was well beyond my reach yet, I had this problem. Live with this dangerous stuff because I have no money? Or deal with it...I chose the latter.


    .
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,883
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    > @Fizz said:
    > the only danger is if you work with it frequently(plumbers, electicians, boiler forlks).l There's never been a documented case of meso or other forms of cancer due to living in homes with asbestos insulation. Heck, I'm 72, and grew-up with asbestos insulated pipes, which my brothers and I poked with pencils and screw drivers. Byw, both are older by 2 and 5 yrs and no asbestos maliaty. Nothing insulates better!

    B S
    Wives have died from mesothelioma by simply doing her husbands laundry. He worked with it.

    Asbestos was a great insulator but carries a very high price with it.
    SlamDunk
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    I just completed my osha 30. There is a whole section on asbestos abatement procedures.

    In the OPs scenario the best procedure is leave it alone. If you want more insulation mist while encapsulating with the new insulation.

    The hazards come from disturbing it. Disturbing turns low risk into high risk.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,436
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    There is a side benefit to encapsulation vs. abatement... when you tell the real estate tax assessor that there is asbestos insulation on some of the steam pipes, they turn pale and reduce (as indeed they should) your "fair market value" and hence your taxes. Asbestos siding helps too, along with lead pipes in the drainage system...

    Ask me how I know!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    vaporvac
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited January 2020
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    I just read that the EPA has approved asbestos in some manufacturing processes and products again. What about those who will be working with that stuff?
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Fred said:

    I just read that the EPA has approved asbestos in some manufacturing processes and products again. What about those who will be working with that stuff?

    You have to take into account that the construction industry has advanced immensely in using proper PPE, risk assessment, and procedures for tasks involving potentially hazardous materials.

    Back in the day asbestos was at its peak no one knew the risks of the material from mining to handling of the finished product.

    Going forward in the decades to come, I’m quite sure what we see as safe today will come to be bad as asbestos in the future.

    Unfortunately time is the only real way of knowing. Like asbestos most related diseases do not set in until 15 years, or more after exposure. The amount of exposure etc.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    If I am reading that inspectopedia link correctly and it is correct (both big ifs), aircell was only like r 1 per inch which really doesn't make it a good insulator at all.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,436
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    Actually 1.4, according to Inspectapedia. Which isn't great -- but dense fiberglass isn't much better. Don't compare that to fiberglass batts, which are much less dense.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    @Gordy , yea, either that or someone said "hey we've got a huge opportunity to reintroduce this stuff back into mainstream America and we can make a fortune! Put a few restrictions on how it is mined/handled/processed and let's see how it goes.
    vaporvac
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    It’s under review by the epa. The asbestos community does have heavy lobbying.
    vaporvac
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,436
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    I will make the same comment here that I have made in another context -- no technology (or material) is bad in and of itself. It is only in what we do with it that it becomes useful -- or harmful.

    Asbestos is no different. There are some applications where really good alternatives simply don't exist. Used carefully, with proper precautions, use it. Same with dynamite. Same with a bottle of soda.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    In WWII there was a satellite shipyard about a mile from my house right next to the airfield that Amelia Earhart had an interest in. That area laid dormant for decades before they started building condo's on it - oceanfront condo's are pretty pricey these days.

    At one point they found a fair sized block of asbestos under some old rubble. This was in the middle of a field on the edge of an old runway. You would have thought they uncovered an operating nuclear reactor, in a day men in moonsuits were busy standing around figuring how much they could make from this calamity.

    If I found a block of asbestos in a field I wanted to build a condo on I'd dig a good size hole, bury the block and pour the foundation - no muss no fuss.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    BobC said:

    In WWII there was a satellite shipyard about a mile from my house right next to the airfield that Amelia Earhart had an interest in. That area laid dormant for decades before they started building condo's on it - oceanfront condo's are pretty pricey these days.

    At one point they found a fair sized block of asbestos under some old rubble. This was in the middle of a field on the edge of an old runway. You would have thought they uncovered an operating nuclear reactor, in a day men in moonsuits were busy standing around figuring how much they could make from this calamity.

    If I found a block of asbestos in a field I wanted to build a condo on I'd dig a good size hole, bury the block and pour the foundation - no muss no fuss.

    Bob

    To be fair, you'd do what the local inspectors and codes tell you to do, just as those contractors did.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    vaporvac
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,436
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    And to further comment on Bob's asbestos block -- the firm I worked for before I retired was based almost entirely on remediation work -- the men and women in moonsuits to whom he refers. Allow me to assure you that we made lots of money. The regulations are such -- and getting stiffer at least until recently -- that if we really looked for contamination on a site, we'd find it. It didn't matter whether it was a farmer's field or a former hazardous waste dump with green bubbling water. So... out come the moonsuits and up step the lawyers and off we'd go.

    It all made us very very cynical, as it was obvious that there was, in 99% of the situations no hazard at all, but the regs said clean it up, so we did; if some idiot is going to pay you big bucks, and the job is (as civil engineering jobs go) easy...

    Oh and yes -- it doesn't matter how or when the "contamination" got there; it's the current owner who's on the hook for the bill. And you wonder why former manufacturing sites don't get redeveloped? Or abandoned gas stations? You'd be a complete idiot to buy one.

    Did you know that a head of broccoli contains enough semivolatile polyaromatics to be regarded as hazmat?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Precaud
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Well the funny part is, where does it all go? To another site that will someday be another super fund site.....
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,021
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    Wow! I didn't expect such an interesting dialogue of differing opinions. I was just looking for some numbers, so I could try to estimate the payback period in terms of cost to convert versus future cost savings in possibly having a more efficient system, if the change would even increase efficiency. That's all.

    That being said, as a Boomer, I am somewhat skeptical of the paranoia associated with infrequent/casual exposure to asbestos, lead paint, etc. What about lead pipes/joints in city water systems?

    While I have a respect for those who encounter hazardous material in their line of work, my father worked in a copper refinery and my father-in-law worked in a chemical plant, I believe the vast majority of rank and file people are unaffected in their everyday lives.

    Lastly, unfortunately there are lots of stupid, careless people who don't have respect for hazardous materials. Except for man-made carcinogens, let's not forget that asbestos and lead come from the earth. I am not a student of radon, but do understand it is naturally occurring and does exist in the basements of some houses, thus being available to be breathed, unlike casual direct exposure to many other carcinogens.

    Nevertheless, the dialogue is appreciated and worthwhile.




  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,883
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    Gordy said:

    Well the funny part is, where does it all go? To another site that will someday be another super fund site.....

    Designated Areas that are tightly controlled.
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,021
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    At least broccoli doesn't smell like brussell sprouts...enough said.
    KC_JonesCanucker
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    pecmsg said:

    Gordy said:

    Well the funny part is, where does it all go? To another site that will someday be another super fund site.....

    Designated Areas that are tightly controlled.

    You believe that?
    I’ve been involved in lead, PCB, asbestos sites.
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
    edited January 2020
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    Gordy said:

    pecmsg said:

    Gordy said:

    Well the funny part is, where does it all go? To another site that will someday be another super fund site.....

    Designated Areas that are tightly controlled.

    You believe that?
    I’ve been involved in lead, PCB, asbestos sites.
    He probably also believes everything collected as recyclables actually gets recycled even if it's cost prohibitive.

    If there's no profit in it, it's not happening. That's that.

    Don't get @Robert O'Brien Started on that one. ;)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,590
    edited January 2020
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    I have been around enough abatement projects to know that not everyone who is licensed follow the rules. Which means most of us are exposed even if we dont know it
    Gordy
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 370
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    That being said, as a Boomer, I am somewhat skeptical of the paranoia associated with infrequent/casual exposure to asbestos, lead paint, etc.

    You should be afraid. The guy who built my house (in 1930), and raised 6 boys in it (three of them had bedrooms in the basement with the asbestos-laden pipes running overhead), only lived to be 92. And his boys are all still "suffering"... i.e. doing fine. :smiley:
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,590
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    You should be afraid. The guy who built my house (in 1930), and raised 6 boys in it (three of them had bedrooms in the basement with the asbestos-laden pipes running overhead), only lived to be 92. And his boys are all still "suffering"... i.e. doing fine. :smiley:


    But, on a serious note, if you ever see someone with asbestosis, or mesothelioma, it is painful to watch.

    Canucker