Furnace replacement - asbestos?

Asbestos removal from a furnace.
I’m in Ottawa Canada. We have to replace our OLD OLD, coal burner converted to oil furnace. 2 of the companies asked for quotes have indicated that there is asbestos in these old furnaces and that must be removed by a qualified (possibly licensed) party. The other 2 companies have simply said that they will disassemble and remove the old furnace.
Is it possible for me to disassemble the furnace myself, wearing the appropriate gear? Does asbestos removal require a licensed removal company to be removed?
Any advice is very appreciated. I’ll try and get a picture of the furnace up to my web space. It will be labeled furnace.jpg
http://www3.sympatico.ca/jdmst /
Thanks john
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Jdmst wrote:

I would want to check on the asbestos issue first. Just sitting there the asbestos is not a problem, but when you start taking it apart, especially breaking it apart, that stuff is going to start flying. You really don't want it in your home, and you especially don't want to be working on it. Check with the local authorities and find out who can tell you for sure about the problem.
BTW I believe you would find that with or with out asbestos, taking that thing apart and getting it out of there is going to be a bigger job than you think. Also note that after removing it you would need to dispose of it. Are you going to be able to find someone who is willing to take the parts after you get them out?
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Yes.
Check your local laws. It has to be removed and disposed of in special landfills in most cases.

I can't tell you what to do, nor will I condone breaking the law. I do know that the hysteria over asbestos is over rated. It is only in dust form that it is harmful and it is possible to take precautions to eliminate the hazard. Abatement crews will put up plastic sheeting to contain the potential dust. It can be wetted down to keep it from dusting. Double bagged it is harmless, IMO, in the trash in a landfill, but I'm not working for the EPA.
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I no longer live in the UK, so I have no idea what legal actions might have been taken there wrt asbestos in stoves.
In my youth we had an "Aga" range that burned anthracite and heated the water as well. (We lived on a farm with no gas supply and no electricity except our 32v DC generator.) Since the water was very hard, the pipes and the whole tank frequently became clogged, and we had to call in the service people, who would have to pull the whole thing apart and -- I think -- replace the tank.
There would be white powder everywhere during this operation. I don't recall whether the service people wore any kind of protective gear. This was during the 1940s and 1950s.
MB
On 08/14/04 09:00 am Edwin Pawlowski put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I agree, I can do it my self, but, it will be a big job. The uncertainty of the asbestos issue is something I will have to think about. One of the people who were in just said to wet it all down well and then remove it myself, basicaly the same as you mention below. I can see the asbestos sheeting in some of the ducts immediatly above the furnace. But, is there asbestos in the interior of the furnace proper?

If we go with one of the companies who will not remove the furnace then I think I will try and do it myself, and be as carefull as I can about it. Sealing off the area with poly and setting up venting fans in the nearby window.
Thanks for the advice Edwin John
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Does asbestos removal require a licensed removal company to be removed?
To the best of my knowledge, there is no law in Ontario preventing a homeowner removing asbestos from their own home. I sure hope there isn't, because I'd be in trouble :<)
Because I have encountered this stuff in my 160-year old farm house several times, I've done some research. Asbestos has made some people very sick, but mainly people who were exposed to high levels for a long period of time (miners, factory workers, professional demolishers and auto mechanics who work on brakes). A single case of short-term exposure seems to do little harm, the body just eliminates any fibres that get breathed in.
Of course, it still makes sense to use a dust-mask and keep the place well-ventilated, and after you are done wash yourself and your clothes and vacuum the house.
If you have a fair amount of it, you might want to enquire about land-fill regulations, but simply disposing of small amounts in the garbage is not a big deal. Unlike things like heavy metals, toxic liquids, oil etc, it is harmless once buried. Just make sure any bags are securely sealed to keep any fibres from blowing around.
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I don't know what the law is in Ottawa, but I'm pretty sure you won't find out here. I do know that there is risk in exposure to airborn asbestos particles of certain types, that the risk was no known until fairly recently, in part because the disease takes a very long time to become malignant, and that the professionals who remove asbestos use equipment far superior to what you or I are likely to be able to obtain. They seal the area and use filters and respirators that can trap the tiny particles; the respirators and filters you are likely to find at a retailer are not as good. One of the hazards to doing it yourself is that you are unlikely to seal off the area completely, so you will be likely exposing anyone else in the home. When you vacuum (!) afterwards, you will just be recirculating the particles, as household vacuums won't trap these tiny particles.
I don't know about the conflicting estimates you got. Perhaps the ones who are willing to work without abatement think the only asbestos in your case is in the ducting, and they won't be touching that, or perhaps they are just willing to take the risk themselves, and aren't concerned about the risk to you. I don't think that one can say with any certainty that only people who worked with asbestos over a long period of time are at risk; they may be at a higher degree of risk, but anyone who has been exposed is at some degree of risk. I am almost 60 and have never worked with asbestos, but like many my age I am certain that I was exposed some time (we also played with mercury), and when I had a recent cat scan they diagnosed scar tissue consistent with exposure to asbestos.
So yes, you can probably do it yourself, but there is certainly some risk involved, and not just to you.
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