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Deteriorating asbestos wrapped pipes need help

JimHP
JimHP Member Posts: 11
The basement pipes for our radiator heating system are currently asbestos-wrapped, but the wrap is missing in some places and coming apart in others. Is there a product we can use to re-wrap the pipes to cover the missing pieces and touch up the broken places? We are not in the money enough to remediate the asbestos and have them all re-wrapped, but we know we are losing heat into the basement instead of the heat making it to the upper floors, where we want it. I don't mind a little, or a lot, of manual labor and mess, it is a basement and keeping the mess contained will be the least of our problems.
Any help, suggestions, or product links are very much appreciated. We would like to get this done before next winter (Highland Park, MI resident).

Thanks,
-Jim

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,473
    Yes, there is a product. Plaster impregnated gauze bandages, really intended to make casts for broken bones, but also sold for modelling work. This stuff: https://www.micromark.com/Plaster-Cloth.

    It's a bit messy to work with, and isn't classed by anyone as remediation (which, of course, it isn't), but by completely encasing the asbestos makes it so it isn't a hazard. You will want to wear a good dust mask, and you will also want to keep the sections of asbestos on which you are working damp, so they don't dust.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JimHPPC7060
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,142
    Sections that are missing can be replaced with fiberglass. Possibly painting the asbestos that is in "good" condition will seal it up. I have also herd of smearing on a skim coat of drywall mud don't know how well that works.

    Use a disposable Tyvek suit & a good quality respirator if you attempt this which I can't recommend.
    JimHP
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,191
    You can also buy the actual encapsulating mastic from numerous sources. I do not recommend this as a diy project. I know someone in Brighton where their house ended up being demolished because a contractor tore out a wall with asbestos containing rocklath without testing or containing it and demolishing the house was cheaper than cleaning it up.
    JimHP
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,570
    JimHP said:

    The basement pipes for our radiator heating system are currently asbestos-wrapped, but the wrap is missing in some places and coming apart in others. Is there a product we can use to re-wrap the pipes to cover the missing pieces and touch up the broken places? We are not in the money enough to remediate the asbestos and have them all re-wrapped, but we know we are losing heat into the basement instead of the heat making it to the upper floors, where we want it. I don't mind a little, or a lot, of manual labor and mess, it is a basement and keeping the mess contained will be the least of our problems.
    Any help, suggestions, or product links are very much appreciated. We would like to get this done before next winter (Highland Park, MI resident).

    Thanks,
    -Jim

    Unless trained I can't recommend messing with it.

    You need a licensed and insured professional to deal with it. A small section detreating can be delt with a glove bad safely. If it's coming loose over larger areas time for full abatement.
    JimHP
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,473
    I beg to differ. While I cannot recommend the encapsulation method with plaster impregnated gauze, since it is not approved by the Powers That Be, it works to remediate the hazard, which should be the objective. If the objective, is to protect you and your family and guests from the hazard posed by the asbestos, then just do it.

    If the objective of the exercise is to satisfy regulatory concerns, however, there really isn't much choice except full remediation -- which is very expensive. There is some risk -- which I cannot evaluate for you -- that the Authorities may determine that the hazard presented by the asbestos is a Risk to Public Health and condemn the structure unless it is remediated; the remediation may well be more costly than the structure is worth.

    There is also this consideration: the presence of asbestos, even though it has been safely remediated by encapsulation, will reduce the value of the structure if a sale is planned. There are several aspects to this, not all bad. First, if you were to sell the structure you would get less money for it than you had hoped, and you may have difficulty in arranging a large mortgage. Second, you may have difficulty obtaining homeowner's insurance for it (though there are other reasons for that, such as having fuses instead of circuit breakers). Third, however, because of the first, you should be able to argue for significantly lower real estate taxes, which are supposed to be based on fair market value.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JimHP
  • JimHP
    JimHP Member Posts: 11
    Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it.
    There is no way we are paying for remediation, and the house was just bought (and we will be here a long time) and passed inspection, so we are not worried about anyone from the state coming in and telling us it must be done, or that the house must be condemned because of the asbestos.
    Our goal is twofold: most important is reducing the heat loss happening in the basement, and also - though much less important - to enclose the deteriorating wrapping to reduce possible health risks. My wife and I know the risks with asbestos, and we also know if it is left alone the danger is significantly lower than if it is being disturbed.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 669
    @JimHP As a fellow DIYer you have my respect and admiration for trying to improve your home.
    This is supposed to be Heating Help. How about we try to HELP Jim instead of telling him to "Let them eat cake"?
    HIGHLAND PARK, MICHIGAN is a long way from Brighton, Michigan and the fancy pants east coast towns many of the Heating "Helpers" live in. I'm not talking about distance.
    In 2000, the city's median household income was $17,737. Males had a median income of $31,014 versus $26,186 for females. The city's per capita income was $12,121. About 32.1% of families and 38.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.1% of those under age 18 and 30.8% of those age 65 or over.
    22 years later in 2022, I doubt things are better.

    Jim, If I were faced with your project, I would:
    Buy the best respirator I could afford.
    Remove a very few items I that I could not bear to part with (wipe them down with damp rags)
    Hose down the floor and remaining items (they may be contaminated w asbestos)
    Carry out wet items you are discarding
    Hose down and mop up the empty basement
    Encapsulate the asbestos insulation
    Hose down and mop up again
    Enjoy your clean and safe basement
    I expect to get criticism for my post from the 'let them eat cake crowd" who have no clue as to how things are in Highland Park, Mi. These people don't live in the real world. Since they have more money than common sense, perhaps they would like to send Jim some a lot of cash so he can afford to hire everything out like they can?
    GGross
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,142
    @WMno57

    We all know what we would probably do in our own house.

    We are just trying to point out the risks involved, and the op seems to understand that.

    He came here for advice but who are we to tell someone to do a potentially wrong thing?
    GGross
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,191
    2000 Highland Park is very different from 2022 Highland Park.
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 411
    There are two main types of asbestos (afaik), I forget the names but one type is more like very small straight hairs or rods, the other one is like curly hairs. You need a microscope to determine. The rod ones are quite dangerous to inhale. When disturbed they easily float everywhere, get stuck to clothing and transported elsewhere etc etc, including stuck forever in your lungs.
    You can take a small sample (like half a cup or such) in a ziplock bag and bring it to a materials testing lab. Should cost maybe $50 ?
    Maybe it's not asbestos ?
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,191
    if you are going to do that, get it wet first.
    PC7060