What You Need to Know About Asbestos Testing and Removal

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You can be forgiven if you think that it is no longer possible to find asbestos in homes in the United States. You may look to the fact it was banned for use in homes in 1989 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The problem is that homes built before then may have been built with materials that have asbestos in them. It has been found in siding, flooring tiles, insulation and roofing materials. The good news is that you can have a company come in and do asbestos testing on your home if you have any reason to believe the cancer causing substance may be present.

It has been estimated that millions of American homes still have asbestos in them. There are general contractors out there who will tell clients that there is no need to conduct asbestos testing on homes but if it is disturbed, it can cause serious and life threatening health conditions. Only a small exposure is needed to have this problems pop year years or decades later. If you are going to renovate you home, the costs of conducting the asbestos testing is less than the costs of health care later.

If there is asbestos in your home, the best way to handle it is to leave it alone. When it is not being disturbed, it will remain inert and should not cause you or your family any problems. The problems arise when people start working on home renovating projects. If it is in the siding on the home and that needs to be replaced or if the roofing needs to be replaces due to any interior water damage or water leak repairs that need to be made, for instance, the bad side of asbestos can rear its ugly head.

What is a homeowner to do? Look at the age of your home. If your house was built before the ban was imposed in 1989, houses built in the 1970s or earlier are the most likely to have been built with some asbestos, you should look into hiring a certified and licensed contractor to conduct asbestos testing on your home. They can use asbestos encapsulation for the short term and full asbestos removal for the long term.

The asbestos testing should not cost you a ton. The average amount that is charged for this service is in the range of several hundred dollars. The costs associated with asbestos removal will depend on how much asbestos is found when the asbestos testing is done. Typically, the price tag associated with this is about $1,500.

How do I find someone who is qualified to do asbestos testing in my home?

  • Talk to homeowners you know. Talk to your friends, neighbors, family members and coworkers. If you know anyone whose home was built before the ban, you may know someone who has had asbestos testing done in their home. If anyone you know has had to deal with mold cleanup, that same company may be able to handle your asbestos testing. Ask how they found the company and what they thought of the experience.
  • Learn your local and state laws. Licensing and certification of companies and contractors who handle asbestos testing is not handled by the federal government but is left to states and localities. Make sure the company you hire has whatever permits they need and has the right certification and licenses as dictated by the local and state authorities. Verify anything that they tell you.
  • Ask for references. When you talk to different companies about asbestos testing, you should see if there are any former or current clients that you can talk to. It is not enough to look at their websites and check out the testimonials they leave there. You should be able to talk to homeowners about their experience with the contractors.
  • Have asbestos testing done after the removal process is complete. The only way you will really feel confident that all of the asbestos is out of your home is to have another company come in and retest when the removal process is over.

Thinking about asbestos in your home can be very scary. The good news is that there are things you can do to remove it safely.


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