Asbestos Duct Tape Containing Asbestos (HVAC Systems, Venting, etc)

Asbestos Paper, Textiles and Felts

Asbestos Paper, Textiles and Felts – Asbestos paper on ducts (may be friable)

Often white in colour with a fibrous appearance, asbestos containing duct tape usually contains high levels of asbestos (between 35-65%) and is dangerous to disturb. Generally, it’s thick compared to modern duct tape and simply peeling it off a surface can cause asbestos fibres to suspend in the air. If your home was constructed before 1990 and you can see white tape on the duct-work take caution and do not touch without proper controls in place to prevent exposure. Sampling is not recommended for this ACM as its homogenous characteristics make it easy to identify so please assume it contains asbestos if uncertain. Asbestos containing fibreboard was also commonly used around heat registers and electrical panels as a fire retardant and like duct tape is a thermal system insulator. Equally high in content and sometimes friable (can be crumbled by hand pressure) great caution must be exercised when working around this material. A qualified abatement contractor should complete removal before any work on your ducts, registers or furnace (if in contact with asbestos duct tape) takes place.

Asbestos Duct Tape and Fiberboard

asbestos in a vent

Asbestos Fiberboard in the vents

Asbestos containing duct tape and fiberboard are high asbestos content materials that can be very dangerous if disturbed. If left undisturbed the likelihood of contamination or inhalation is low. However, as years pass the condition of this material can be damaged or degrade to a point where it is falling off duct-work and potentially contaminating areas of your home. A source of asbestos fibers in your home HVAC system can spread asbestos fibers throughout creating a harmful environment for you and your family.

Safe removal of asbestos containing duct tape and fiberboard is not a do it yourself job. To ensure your health and safety, contact a qualified abatement contractor who can follow WorksafeBC regulations and has the manpower to do the job right, the first time.

glove bag example

The glove bag process allows us to create micro containment areas for asbestos removal.

Safe removal of the material is the best line of defense against asbestos containing duct tape and fiberboard as a means to block disturbance of fibers into your duct-work or living space. Some areas of your duct-work and venting may have degraded. Lifting off a vent cover or encountering a piece of (damaged) hanging asbestos containing tape can put you at risk of exposure. Please ensure that the area is safe by consulting a qualified person to assess the risk before proceeding. Ensure that you pass any information along to new homeowners should you decide to sell the property, if the modern duct tape is inadvertently peeled off, a disturbance of the tape below will occur.

Here is an outline of the process we follow when  completely removing the duct-work, asbestos containing duct tape and asbestos containing fiberboard by a qualified abatement contractor. We setup a containment area which will be identified by signage and barrier tape, including a decontamination area for our workers exiting the work area. Work will begin by covering and enclosing the ducting with sealed ‘glove bags’ to contain and collect any material that may fall down or be released during the duct tape or fiberboard removal process. Saturation of the material is key to preventing any disturbance of the asbestos fibers while abatement work takes place. Many qualified abatement contractors have trade secrets to promote full saturation and allow handling with minimal disturbance. After saturation is confirmed the removal work begins, by removing the tape and fiberboard while keeping dust and debris to minimum (using HEPA vacuum) in the industry this is called the ALARA principle (as low as reasonably achievable). The key is being gentle and calculated throughout this process; it  requires great care, experience and attention to complete the work safely. Immediately double bagging or wrapping all waste is a means of adhering to the ALARA principle.
worker removing hvac ducting

Removing asbestos containing ducting

Once all material has been removed, we begin the hygiene process by both wet wiping and HEPA vacuuming all areas that have been disturbed. At this point a qualified person determines if all materials outlined in the initial scope of work have been fully abated, this is also called the supervisors inspection. If passed, tear-down of the containment may occur and a post abatement inspection report will be provided to the client for their records and, to pass along to future owners who may be concerned about the presence of asbestos.

asbestos duct tape

It looks as though someone tried to enclose the asbestos containing duct tape in the past – but it was not done properly.

Setup to remove vent fiber