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Asbestos is best described as a type of mineral fiber that can be identified with the use of a microscope. Although people usually use the term asbestos when talking about this fiber, there are actually several different types of asbestos fibers. In the early1900s, scientists discovered the first case of Asbestosis, which is progressive fibrosis of the lungs. In 1931, the term Mesothelioma finally found its way into medical literature. This rare type of cancer can be caused by asbestos. By the 1970s, asbestos was finally banned from being used as a building material in the United States.
Although asbestos cannot be legally used any more in the creation of homes, there are still many old buildings in which asbestos was used in some fashion. A lot of homeowners find that old pipes or ducts are covered or wrapped in an asbestos compound. This is because asbestos was often used as a type of insulation.
Due to the fact that asbestos flakes and crumbles very easily, it is recommended that anyone who buys old houses should have them checked for the fibers. Once asbestos starts to flake, it releases very harmful dust into the air. Since the dust released by asbestos is known as a risky carcinogen, which can cause lung cancer, it is always recommended that the homeowner hire professionals to remove asbestos from a home. In some cases, asbestos can be enclosed and left alone. Only a professional can tell a homeowner if the asbestos has started to degrade to a point where it needs to be removed.
Since there are strict regulations in the removal of asbestos, it is recommended that homeowners contact professionals to remove it. Labor costs related to the removal of asbestos usually rage from $200 to $700 per hour.
Before hiring a contractor to remove asbestos, however, the homeowner will need to start with an inspection. This needs to be done both prior to and after the removal of the asbestos to make sure it has all been removed. The cost of doing a pre- and post-asbestos inspection is usually around $600 to $1,000. Thus, the overall cost of inspecting a home for asbestos and having it removed will usually run between $800 and $1,700, depending on the state and city in which the home is located.
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One reason why removing asbestos from a house costs so much is because of the special gear and materials that contractors have to use to safely remove it. This may not be a complete list of the materials that professional contractors need to remove asbestos from a home, and the prices are based on an average. The cost of each unit may be higher or lower.
Respirators - $150 per unit
Eyewear - $20 per unit
Disposable Coveralls - $50 per unit
Rubber Boots - $30 per unit
Disposable Gloves - $10 per box
HEPA Vacuum - $1000
When a contractor is cleaning up all of the asbestos after removing it, they will likely use a High Efficiency Particulate Air vacuum. In order to be considered a HEPA vacuum or an HEPA filter, it has to remove at least 99.97 percent of all particles that pass through it. The smallest size that the filters can catch is usually 0.3 microns. This is a very important number because the most common dust size that comes from asbestos is 0.5 microns, but there are some rare forms that can be smaller. These types of vacuums are very effective in cleaning up the dust that is left behind by asbestos. It is generally recommended that homeowners clean their entire house with a HEPA vacuum whenever they have had asbestos removed. This ensures that all of the particles that might have been left behind are safely disposed.
Not all HEPA vacuums are perfect for cleaning up asbestos. Just like any other product or device, there are a number of varieties of HEPA vacuums. Some of them simply work better than others. While some HEPA vacuums can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars, these are usually not industrial strength and will not do a great job at removing all of the asbestos. One of the key things that homeowners should keep in mind is the maneuverability of the vacuum. This should be one of the primary concerns. That being said, the maneuverability must be properly balanced with the power of the vacuum. If it is a large project, a larger HEPA vacuum is going to be needed. The homeowner will want a large vacuum to make sure that the job goes quickly. At the same time, the larger the vacuum, the less maneuverability it has.
Different Types of Asbestos
There are three major types of asbestos to worry about, and each one has a different fiber size. Thankfully, most of them are large enough to be picked up by a HEPA vacuum. The most dangerous type of asbestos is crocidolite. This asbestos ranges in size between 0.7 to 0.9 microns. A very rare type of asbestos is amosite, and it ranges in size from .20 to .26 microns. This is the only type of asbestos that can pass by most HEPA vacuums, unless it is industrial strength. Last is the most common type of asbestos, Chrysotile. The fibers that make up this asbestos range in size from 0.5 to 0.6 microns.