February 16

Can Asbestos Be Found inside Boilers


Understanding How Asbestos Can Be Found Inside Boilers

Starting from the late 18th century up to the years leading to the 1970s, several fuel sources such as wood, oil, gas, and coal were utilised for heating water in steel boilers. The heated water was then moved to radiators via a system of pipes to reach the centralised heating of a place. Unluckily, during this time when boilers were being utilised on a large scale basis, it coincided with the discovery of asbestos. Being touted as a ‘miracle mineral’ due to its properties, it wasn’t long before it was integrated into residential, local establishments, and school boiler components, particularly in insulation.

What is Asbestos?

The discovery of asbestos was seen as a giant step forward in the field materials. Given its fire and heat resistant properties, it was a popular choice for many establishments to have it installed as their boiler insulation. But it wasn’t until later on that the discovery of tiny microscopic fibres was made. These microscopic fibres were found to be unavoidable once they became airborne and could cause the onset of conditions like mesothelioma or asbestosis.

Research into asbestos found it had the potential of causing severe health complication, forcing extreme steps being taken to ascertain its removal. Even to this day, asbestos removal continues to be a necessity in most UK residences, offices, and other establishments. Don’t attempt to conduct the asbestos material by yourself, it is highly recommended that you contact a professional asbestos removal team to deal with your problem.

Can Asbestos Be Found inside Boilers?

Chances are that if your boiler is old, then it’s likely that it has asbestos insulation fitted. So it’s not surprising to find asbestos in boilers in industrial sites, schools, and homes these days. It was used in insulating boiler pipes to help in preventing fire outbreaks and minimising energy costs. Generally speaking, asbestos boiler insulation appears like a ridged cardboard and was used to encapsulate boiler pipes.

In older types of boilers, this insulation could be fitted around the boiler’s doors, pipes, and stove. You would typically find around 1-inch of asbestos concrete layer wrapped around a boiler. Boiler rooms in military sites, schools, homes, and industrial sites were a cesspool of asbestos contamination. Even with the combination of other chemicals to act as adhesives of the tiny fibres to the insulation, fibres were still released to the air and surfaces and thus contaminating the room.

Types of asbestos

There are generally three types of asbestos and they come in three colours, including blue, brown, and white.

1. Chrysotile or white asbestos: This is the most prevalent type of asbestos. It’s extremely toxic and inhaling it exposes you to the risk of asbestosis or lung cancer.

2. Amosite or brown asbestos: This asbestos type is heat resistant and strong, and was generally used in electrical insulation, plumbing, and cement sheets. It also has the risk of contracting cancer upon exposure.

3. Crocidolite or blue asbestos: The fibres in this asbestos type are extremely thin and after inhalation, they will get attached to your lungs with ease. And it among the most dangerous forms of asbestos.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations implemented in the United Kingdom bars the importation, distribution, and usage of Asbestos. Second-hand distribution of asbestos is also illegal. More importantly, with the potential dangers of asbestos being common knowledge, you’ll find that most plumbers and boiler engineers will be less inclined to work on your boiler if they discover the presence of asbestos. Given how dangerous this material is, it’s best to enlist a professional removal service if you want to guarantee safe removal and proper disposal of the asbestos in your boiler system.


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