Most people have a pretty good idea of how harmful asbestos exposure can be to the respiratory system. It's also fairly common knowledge that asbestos can sit undisturbed in buildings for a long time, only becoming a hazard when it's disturbed and the fibres become airborne.
Unfortunately, this knowledge can be a problem. As asbestos was widely used when it was still legal, there are a lot of homes that have it hidden within their structure. If your home is one of them, you probably have your suspicions based on its age or the materials it contains, but you might not have had it tested because you assume it's nothing to worry about.
Here are the reasons you should always have it tested to find out for sure, so you can do something about it.
Unexpected damage can release fibres
Those asbestos fibres might be safely enclosed in building materials at the moment, but there are things outside your control that can change that. Flooding, weather damage and other unexpected disasters can all cause damage to your home, which includes the structural elements with asbestos. If this happens, you and your family are at risk of inhaling the fibres.
Some asbestos-containing materials will naturally degrade
There are two types of materials with asbestos: friable and non-friable. Non-friable materials are things like solid building materials, which are generally sturdy and unlikely to decay on their own. Friable asbestos, on the other hand, is used for things like insulation. It's crumbly and easy to damage, and it shouldn't be left to degrade and release fibres without warning.
You never know when you'll want to renovate
You may not have any remodelling plans for your home in the near future, but that can always change. If you do, you'll need to be careful to have any asbestos removed. This can be a lengthy process, putting your plans on hold until it's done. It's better to get your home tested and any asbestos removed now so that you won't run into problems in the future.
It might be in more places than you realise
Asbestos was used for quite a surprising range of different purposes. If your home is likely to have some asbestos, it might just have a lot. Because you don't know where it all is, the only way to be safe is to have a professional test your home for the presence of asbestos. If you just leave it, you could damage something that contains it and not even realise. For more information, contact your local asbestos testing service.