Paint Inside Ductwork


  #1  
Old 05-30-08, 05:46 PM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Paint Inside Ductwork

Hello everyone. I posted this in the AC/Heat/Duct section and got some responses but I thought I'd post here too since it is regarding paint.

The inside register/boot part of our ductwork (just the first little area behind the vent) had been painted before (perhaps way before) we got the house, and the paint is now severely chipping and crumbled in some area. We want to have that cleaned up before our A/C goes on. Since the house is old, and we are aware of lead, what do we need to know before we clean it up. I have heard duct tape is good for picking up paint chips. Could we simply do that and paint over the rest to seal it in the case it is leaded paint? If so, what paint do we use seeing as this is inside of both return and supply registers.

Many thanks.
 
  #2  
Old 05-31-08, 03:56 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,097
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
Wow, I don't think I've ever heard of anyone painting the inside of heat duct.

Some locales have strict regulations on lead abatement and/or encapsulation so you should check that first. I'd also verify that it is indeed a lead coating on the duct. No sense in going thru a lot of trouble if it isn't lead paint.

While I've never done it, duct tape should be good at removing loose paint. Scraping and removing with a vacumn should also work. Don't forget you need to dispose of lead chips in accordance with local ordinances.

Ideally, you would remove all the paint and leave it unpainted. if it is lead based and you must encapsulate - consult your local paint store [not dept] for the best coating to use.
 
  #3  
Old 05-31-08, 08:20 AM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I was surprised myself that ducts would be painted, thought in my head it didn't sound like a great idea. However, in speaking with the guys at the ductwork forum, it is actually not all that rare, some of them had actually done it themselves. I'll look into picking up a lead test and checking.
 
  #4  
Old 05-31-08, 04:16 PM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I checked 2 hardware stores and another dept. store for DIY lead tests to no avail. I will check perhaps some paint only stores. I don't have a huge budget for having a laboratory out for a test.

If this turns into a "treat it like it is lead, because it could be" situation, what kind of protection do I need. I plan on using the duct tape method to gently pick up crumbled pieces and chips, and then I'd like to paint over to end further pealing.

Thanks again.
 
  #5  
Old 06-01-08, 04:37 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,097
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
The main thing is to contain any paint chips! You might try searching online for a lead test kit.
 
  #6  
Old 06-01-08, 04:59 AM
mango man's Avatar
Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sw FL
Posts: 2,122
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
  #7  
Old 06-01-08, 05:53 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 385
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The thing that really concerns me is what you do about any paint that has already flaked off. Those chips may be lurking further down in the ductwork.

Even after you encapsulate, remove, whatever, how do you get chips/dust out of the rest of the ductwork? (As in buried, unpainted, bits) I cannot imagine I would trust an ordinary duct cleaner to be able to remove the nasty stuff in a safe manner. In fact, they would probably make the problem worse.

This is a nasty situation with no good answers I can think of. I do believe it is time to call your county health dept., if you have not already, and if the lead test comes back positive.

SirWired
 
  #8  
Old 06-01-08, 09:15 AM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts


Above is a drawing I made of the duct. The painted areas are indicated in red. The most chipping and crumbling has occured on the sides and platform area. The small painted area of the actual duct that goes into the floor is not badly chipped, which is a good thing.

Either way, due to the problems that lead could cause, testing is a very important step. Thus before continuing I will make certain I get some (thanks for the link mango man).
 
  #9  
Old 06-01-08, 11:08 AM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Update: My tests have been ordered and should arrive within the week. I'll keep you all posted, and thanks for the information.
 
  #10  
Old 06-05-08, 02:39 PM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Update: My tests arrived today. I did two test on the vent paint. One appeared to show a tiny bit of yellow indicating lead, but it looked like the dirt from the paint was a bit yellowish. Second one looked basicaly clean to us. I am now waiting on the results of a semi quantitative test option from my kit.
 
  #11  
Old 06-06-08, 02:22 PM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Semi quantitative test came back negative. I will try one on the other vent to make certain, then we are okay!
 
  #12  
Old 06-06-08, 02:40 PM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Well everyone, randomly I decided to test a cold air return with one side paint different from the rest. The paint caused my test to change colors slighty, possibly indicating lead.

I am not a rich man and while AC provided by the vents may not be necessary, here in Canada the heat abosolutely is. I can't afford an expensive lead abatement, and these vents are very bad in some cases. Is there anyway I can take care of it? I am willing to go all out in the name of safety.

It is disturbing finding this lead. Any help is hugely appreciated.
 
  #13  
Old 06-06-08, 02:55 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,112
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
Ok, lead is only an issue if it is consumed in quantity or inhaled as a powder or vapor. Put on a good mask (respirator w/proper cartridge preferred), use the masking or duct tape to pick up all the loose stuff, maybe a putty knife to chip off some of the semi-loose stuff, bag it and either throw it in the trash or hold it for your local hazmat pickup date.

Personally, I'd get the loose stuff off, and paint over the rest with something that looks ok from the living side, throw the bags in the trash.

The minor amount you might put in a landfill doesn't even come close to the amount caused by a common weekend on a firing range anywhere in the world. Or for that matter people working in electronics or old plumbing.

The issue with lead (other than those who mine it, or work with it in an industrial setting) was that so many old tenements and public housing was painted with it and kids would eat the chips. Jeez, I guess they were the same ones who ate paste and drank glue, or woulda huffed spray paint if they had a chance.

You have a bigger chance of having a life threatening infection from a visit to the dentist!
 
  #14  
Old 06-07-08, 09:29 AM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hello and thanks.

Does everyone else agree this will work?
 
  #15  
Old 06-07-08, 02:22 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,097
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
I don't know a lot about lead abatement and in some locales it is highly regulated. Children are more at danger than adults are. But basically as long as the chips are contained and the rest is encapsulated [fancy word for covered with paint] you are good to go.
 
  #16  
Old 06-08-08, 08:59 AM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the information. Do you guys think a serious amount of lead would be in the ducts (the returns) from being sucked down. SirWired mentioned he wouldn't trust a regular duct cleaner - I'm curious what you think would be a good route of action? It is getting HOT here and we didn't put the air on since we didn't know how serious this is. Thanks again.
 
  #17  
Old 06-08-08, 09:19 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,112
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
Hey codyy,
Maybe I missed it here or in the other post, but how old is this house/ductwork?

Again, I don't think its such a big deal. Use a good pleated filter on the unit (you do that anyway, right? ), that should catch any chips small enough to be moved by the airflow. Larger chips are just gonna sit wherever they may be in the duct. And their shouldn't be any dust except what you may create in your cleanup. Maybe if someone before you tried to sand or scrape, but that has long been circulated out thru the system.

How long have we all done things, then we find out it was bad for us? Can't go thru life worrying about little things, then not see the semi running the redlight as you pull out.
 
  #18  
Old 06-09-08, 07:24 AM
Codyy's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 477
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the information, you make some good points. Also, I myself forgot to mention this is around 80 years old give or take a few years. The duct work could have been updated at some point, can't say for sure.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: