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Well ...

Posted by Jay J on August 9th, 2000 12:27 PM
In reply to cutting through asbestos siding for a heating/cooling unit by Christine on August 9th, 2000 11:27 AM [Go to top of thread]


I have to respectfully 'disagree' with Dave, for the moment. In my municipality, and many around me, the homeowner of a single family home can legally remove asbestos cement shingles. AND, in small quantities, throw them into the 'regular trash' for pickup. W/O checking w/your municipality, you won't know if you can do it yourself, or if your contractor can do it. (Just ask if you OR the contractor do it w/o any special 'paperwork'. By finding out the answer to the 'latter part' of your question, you won't know if the contractor is, unecessarily, going to charge you for 'work' that's not required, like 'bagging' and 'taping' and so on.) I also checked w/my County, my State, and the Federal EPA. Here's more ...

Asbestos cement shingles are classified as non-friable asbestos material. In other words, in order for the asbestos to 'pose a threat', one needs to sort-of-smash-it in order for the asbestos to become airborne. The asbestos you 'know about' that is wrapped around heating pipe in old buildings is considered FRIABLE. By simply crushing it in your hands, you've 'posed a serious threat'. You can't do that with the shingles (well, at least NOT very easily.) If you were to simply remove the nails/tacks that hold up the shingles and remove them, you have 'no airborne threat'. If you remove them and go dropping them to the ground, and such, where they break all up, you've 'posed a threat'. The shingles, for the most part, contain 1% asbestos which is a LOT less than the 'stuff' that's wrapped around heating pipes in the old building (like the Pentagon in Wash., DC.)

Dave may be right but you won't know for sure unless you check it out w/your local authority. Now, assuming you can do as I described, AND, you find a contractor who will remove a few shingles to install a wall air conditioner, where does that leave you??? I have to tell you that 'old' shingles are a bit hard to work with. NEW shingles at the Home Centers aren't that hard to work with. BUT, the problem may be with the color of your house AND the color of the NEW, replacement shingles. If they're all white, you're in luck! If not, you either have different colored shingles around your new A/C unit, or, you have the contractor try to re-use some of the 'original' shingles. (The latter is the better way to go but it may not be as easy as you think.) Remember, the shingles on the house are 'weathered' already ...

Now, as for HEATING the upstairs (assuming you mean the 2nd floor), the A/C unit won't do that. I'm no expert on this part of your question but maybe someone knows of a wall unit (if this is what you're looking for) that can do BOTH heat and cool. I'll be watching. (I think it will be expensive to heat if you do it this way.) My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J

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