100yo boiler and pipes covered in Asbestos

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Old 09-13-19, 01:18 PM
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100yo boiler and pipes covered in Asbestos

We're looking at a house built in 1924 that has the original boiler. The boiler is covered in Asbestos as are the many pipes leading away from it. We had a Asbestos removal company come in and look at it, says they'll removed the boiler and hence the Asbestos on it for about $10k, this doesn't include the pipes. They're recommendation is to leave the pipes as is and don't disturb them, but after 100 years, just how safe is leaving the Asbestos on the pipes and behind the walls?

I'd like to just forget about the house but my wife loves it, and where we live (Ontario Canada) we're in the middle of a housing bubble with little supply. Even this basic repair is going to cost at least $23k, and who knows what happens when there's a problem with the pipes.

Any advice, recommendations?
 
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Old 09-13-19, 02:24 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Wow..... remove the boiler only for 10k !
I don't see how they can remove the boiler and not remove the asbestos from the pipes.
Anywhere it's exposed it should be removed. It's fine enclosed inside the wall.

It's only a problem where it's disturbed and the dust becomes airborne.
 
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Old 09-13-19, 02:37 PM
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Welcome to the forum.
I'm also from Ontario.
I would suggest getting a second quote as they should do both boiler and pipes.
I have seen some of these old cast iron monsters and without taking the Asbestos into account, it's a big job.
 
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Old 09-13-19, 02:38 PM
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Wondering if I can just leave the entire thing alone? Appears to have worked for nearly 100 years, and the boiler is in a closet room I could lock closed. But yeah, they were going to charge $10k cdn money just to remove the boiler asbestos and all. Then I'd have to buy another boiler with an additional $8k to $12k. Maybe I should lower my offer?
 
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Old 09-13-19, 02:47 PM
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What town are you looking to buy?
Depending on where you are dealing with could be an issue of disposal of the asbestos. I know a lot of small town dumps won't take it.
 
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Old 09-13-19, 02:55 PM
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South Walkerville in Windsor.
 
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Old 09-14-19, 04:41 AM
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I live north of Pittsburgh, Pa. and was in the heating business for 40 years. These old boilers can last until some part leaks and a replacement part can not be found. I have seen boilers well over 100 years still operating OK. How long yours will last is a guess that no body can answer. The asbestos will not hurt you as long as it is covered and the covering is intact. If the covering is showing it's age and some of the asbestos is exposed, you could paint the covering with several coats of a good latex paint. That being said, I would not buy this building unless I could justify the price of the building which would include a complete boiler and piping replacement. At some point in the not too distant future you will have to replace the boiler and some of the piping. One last thing, boilers from that era were not very efficient and your heating costs may be excessive. my 2 cents
 
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Old 09-14-19, 09:06 AM
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Asbestos

I worked for almost 30 years in a state environmental regulatory agency (basically a state version of the EPA). Asbestos is a particular form of silicate. Asbestos is composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each fiber being composed of many microscopic 'fibrils' that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes. Inhalation of the "asbestos dust" can lead to the well publicized medical problems.

In commercial and industrial settings, asbestos is required to be "abated" when it is in a "friable" condition. This means when you can reduce the asbestos to a powder when you apply simple hand pressure.

If the asbestos is NOT friable, theoretically, there is relatively low risk of exposure (breathing asbestos dust).

If it is friable, there is an extremely high risk of exposure and it should be abated. "Abatement" can consist of removal of the asbestos or "encapsulation."

Removal must be done in such a fashion that you don't generate asbestos dust in the process.
Encapsulation means what it says. You encase the asbestos within a substance that prevents the fibers from becoming airborne. As one person said, friable asbestos can be encapsulated by applying several coats of paint (the more the better, you don't want to be able to get through the coating to generate asbestos dust).

If you don't remove the asbestos now, it will have to be dealt with eventually. If you need to repair a leak in a pipe with asbestos insulation, you have to get through the asbestos to get to the pipe, that means the possibility of generating asbestos dust, if it is not done correctly. The asbestos will have to be addressed when the system is eventually replaced.

Hope this was helpful.
 
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Old 09-14-19, 10:52 AM
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May be a stupid question, but can you try and negotiate on the price of the house for them to come down at least $10 to $12,000 to help pay for half of this cost? The current owners must be aware of this.
 
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Old 09-14-19, 03:05 PM
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Unhappy

That being said, I would not buy this building unless I could justify the price of the building which would include a complete boiler and piping replacement.
Couldn't imagine what that would cost, if just taking the asbestos covered boiler is going to cost $10k. I'm not feeling very optimistic since the abatement person said they'd get back to me by today at the latest and I've still heard nothing.

As for encapsulating, not sure how that could be done for those pipes behind walls? And how would one know if its "friable" if it can't be seen? We spent a lot of time negotiating and planning to buy this in a market where house prices are increasing rapidly (25% since the beginning of the year). We've missed many opportunities to buy something else in this time. and we only have a couple months left to find something (no rentals either).
 
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Old 09-14-19, 03:38 PM
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The pipes and insulation in the wall are ok as they won't be disturbed.
 
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Old 09-15-19, 06:33 AM
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Chances are the wall insulation (as opposed to any pipe insulation) is deficient by today's standards. And it is undesirable to add foam board or other insulation or add a paneled/double wall with 2x3's or furring strips to the inside wall surface since any of that greatly increases the chance of the pipes' freezing.

So the chances are having to open up the stud bays and in turn remediate the asbestos covered pipes inside are quite great.
 
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Old 09-15-19, 09:54 PM
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"I'd like to just forget about the house but my wife loves it, and where we live (Ontario Canada) we're in the middle of a housing bubble with little supply."

Smart man. It's only a house, don't let emotions drive your decision.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/housing_bubble.asp
 
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Old 09-16-19, 11:50 AM
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As long as asbestos dust cannot become airborne, it is considered safe - for the time being. But, if one of the pipes within the wall starts to leak ...

For the time being, you may not have to address it. But, it is a near certainty that sooner or later, you will. Do you think you would be able to turn around and resell the house to someone else who would not take asbestos in the walls into consideration? I think that is wishful thinking.

I agree with Steamboy. The value of the house has got to consider the full remediation of the asbestos. It boils down to - How much is the house worth to you (and your wife)? Consider two people who worked with asbestos in their career are telling you the same thing.
 
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Old 09-17-19, 09:11 AM
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Tried to get the owner to drop the price a bit to compensate for the cost of removing the asbestos. The response was that asbestos isn't a problem (just don't touch it), the boiler works well, and they're probably not going to come down on the price. Since its a for sale by owner situation they want me to make a formal offer through my lawyer at my expense and then they'll decide. I pretty much have, not to go forward. My wife isn't of the same opinion.
 
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Old 09-17-19, 09:42 AM
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Personally, I think you're doing the right thing. I remember a house around here that was for sale by owner, in which they were asking too much. They couldn't sell. After a couple of years, I stopped checking on it, so don't know if they ever sold it or what. These people may not wait that long and then you can make another offer, if you're still looking.
 
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Old 09-17-19, 10:00 AM
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Well, you remember what the real estate market was like in the US in 2005, 2006 and 2007? It's like that here now only worse. They could probably sell it with asbestos flying around and the house burnt down, its that bad.
 
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