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Discuss Panicked tenant re. boiler asbestos in the The Welcome Wagon :) area at PlumbersForums.net

jisseh

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Hi, posting here in the hope someone can help me. Just moved into a 1950s detached rental and really don't like the look of the back of the boiler re. asbestos. It's standing on the kitchen floor and there's a few inches gap between it and the wall. It's an Ideal Mexico of some kind so I know it probably contains asbestos, it just looks so...exposed. Plus the kitchen also has a washing machine so floor vibrations happen. For context, I have lost two close family members to horrific illnesses directly caused by asbestos. I might be working myself up but I'm sleeping at a friend's tonight because I'm so anxious. Don't know how I'm going to last out a year's lease without panicking and avoiding the kitchen. Please help. Have included a photo.IMG_20190209_172847.jpg
 

Craig Watson

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Asbestos is fine if left alone, the only thing I can see on the boiler that may contain asbestos is the rope seal, don't touch it and you'll be ok.
 
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jisseh

jisseh

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Asbestos is fine if left alone, the only thing I can see on the boiler that may contain asbestos is the rope seal, don't touch it and you'll be ok.
So the back panel isn't? And is the level of fray a worry, given the amount of vibration the room gets? I'm also concerned by the vent at the bottom of the front, so that anything problematic and crumbling that might be inside could be coming out. Sorry if I sound paranoid, it's just with what's happened with my family I had a full blown panic attack when I saw it.
 

Craig Watson

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There's nothing going to be crumbling inside that will be of any worry to you, the back panel I can see in the pic is cast iron and it's covered in dust that's all. The front grill is for air intake and again will only contain dust. It's understandable why when what has happened that you will be naturally anxious but in this case, try not to worry.
 

Craig Watson

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To put your mind at ease ask your landlord when the next gas safety check is due, if it's soon then ask if he can send someone sooner rather than later to give the boiler a thorough clean and Inspection and do the safety check while he is there.
 
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jisseh

jisseh

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Thanks so much Craig for your kind and helpful responses. I think I'm just in panic mode now and probably need to do something to put my mind at rest. Do you think it would be worth calling someone for an asbestos assessment specifically, or is a gas safety person better to deal with this? I have no idea what they check or whether airborne fibres would be something they would flag up.
 

Craig Watson

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Well that's where it gets a little tricky, an asbestos surveyor cannot look in the boiler as he isn't gas safe registered and a gas engineer may not have any formal asbestos awareness training, but really the only things within the boiler that may contain asbestos are the rope seal, some gaskets and the insulation boards located in the burner and neither of these are going to cause you any bother unless you start disturbing them.
 

rpm

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How come that "tail" sticking out is cleaner than the rest of the rope, what you up to jisseh?
 
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jisseh

jisseh

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How come that "tail" sticking out is cleaner than the rest of the rope, what you up to jisseh?
Haven't touched anything. It's exactly that bit and how frayed it is that's worrying me.
 
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jisseh

jisseh

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Well that's where it gets a little tricky, an asbestos surveyor cannot look in the boiler as he isn't gas safe registered and a gas engineer may not have any formal asbestos awareness training, but really the only things within the boiler that may contain asbestos are the rope seal, some gaskets and the insulation boards located in the burner and neither of these are going to cause you any bother unless you start disturbing them.
Thanks for this. My instinct just wants to put a big sealed box around the whole machine and cover the rope in duct tape but I am guessing that's not an option. Sorry to keep asking questions, but would vibrations from a very nearby washing machine count as disturbing it? Both the washer and the boiler are on a lino floor.
 

Craig Watson

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Unfortunately the boiler is open flued so you can't just box it up in a sealed box :D. The washing machine will be fine. To disturb it enough to release any fibres you will need to be handling the product, vibrations won't do anything.
 

MikeJhn

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Anyone who carries out an asbestos check will have instruments that measure the asbestos in the air (if any) they would then under analysis be able to identify the asbestos type and determine if it is harmful, they would not need access to the boiler, just its surrounding area and will issue a clean air certificate for the premises if appropriate.
 

Craig Watson

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under analysis be able to identify the asbestos type and determine if it is harmful.
Just out of curiosity which asbestos type is harmful and which isn't? :D

And the access to the boiler was to point out to the customer what the boiler is constructed of and show her she has nothing to worry about.
 

MikeJhn

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Asbestos needs to be contained in position, not left exposed, If the Asbestos fibres have started to break up, then vibration could cause them to float into the atmosphere, according to what type the danger is real, the option is to get the Landlord involved if it's their machine and ask for a clean air certificate.

Crocidolite
More commonly referred to as 'Blue Asbestos' and generally considered the most dangerous, Crocidolite fibres are short and spiked, meaning then tend to puncture the lining of the lungs causing long-lasting damage

Amosite
More commonly referred to as "Brown Asbestos". Voluntarily banned from import into the UK in 1980, Amosite is considered another very dangerous form of asbestos.


Chrysotile
More commonly referred to as "White Asbestos" Chrysotile is by far the most commonly found asbestos type, not just in the UK, but worldwide. Unlike Amosite and Crocidolite, Chrysotile is part of the Serpentine family of minerals and as such has different characteristics in terms of fibre shape. Chrysotile is made up from small curly fibres. This enables fibres to be breathed out more easily as they are less likely to become lodged in the lungs or other parts of the respiratory system.

 
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jisseh

jisseh

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Thanks Mike. I guess my big question is: what would you do if it was your family in this situation? Do a plumber check and accept what they say? Break the lease? Pay to replace the whole system if the landlord isn't bothered to?
 

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