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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

How Do I Know If My Furnace May Have Asbestos in It?


The word asbestos is a frightening one to homeowners: even if they don’t exactly know what it is, they know they don’t want it in their homes. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber with high heat resistance, and this heat-resistant property has made it a common material in construction since ancient times. 

Unfortunately, this is what allowed asbestos to get easily into homes, usually as part of insulation. Breathing in asbestos fibers is harmful: long-term lung exposure can cause several respiratory illnesses, such as mesothelioma, a dangerous form of lung cancer.

One prime area where asbestos might lurk in your home is in your furnace. In this post, we’re going to look at the issue of asbestos in furnaces and whether this is a problem with your home’s furnace. If you’ve got an asbestos problem, call our team for asbestos removal in Eden Prairie, MN

Understanding Asbestos in Furnaces

Asbestos was used in furnaces primarily to create effective insulation and withstand high temperatures. It can be found in different components, such as gaskets, duct insulation, and heat shields. Although asbestos-containing materials in good condition are generally considered safe, the problem starts when it begins to deteriorate or gets damaged, which then releases harmful fibers into the air.

How Old Is Your Furnace?

One of the best ways to gauge if your furnace has asbestos is by its age. Modern furnaces no longer use asbestos because of the health hazard. However, if you have a furnace built before 1980, it has a high chance of containing asbestos. Old-style gravity furnaces and octopus furnaces (furnaces that don’t use blower fans to move around heated air) are the most likely models to contain asbestos. 

Although it’s not 100%, a furnace that’s this old is definitely one you need to replace. However, make sure you contact us to handle the replacement because we must carefully handle the old furnace to avoid spreading around asbestos fibers.

Professional Inspection

The quickest way to get a solid answer about the presence of asbestos in your furnace is to schedule a professional inspection with a licensed asbestos inspector or one of our technicians, who are qualified to handle this material. We can accurately determine the presence of asbestos without causing any disruption that will spread it. 

Visual Clues

There are several visual clues that may indicate that your furnace has asbestos-containing components. First, look for insulation that has a corrugated appearance. Asbestos insulation often has this distinctive corrugated or layered look, like a honeycomb. Second, look for white or gray fibrous materials around the furnace itself or the ductwork.

Dealing With Asbestos

If you suspect you’ve got a furnace with asbestos, please don’t attempt to remove it on your own, and don’t disturb it, as this can release harmful fibers. You need professional abatement services to encapsulate the asbestos and then safely remove and dispose of it. 

We offer asbestos abatement services as part of furnace replacement. You can arrange with our technicians to replace an aging gravity or octopus furnace so that there’s no danger of asbestos getting into your home. We’ll first remove the asbestos and then take care of removing the furnace and putting in a new one.

Contact Residential Heating and Air Conditioning today and “Feel the Difference”!

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