Asbestos Boilers

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Do old boilers contain asbestos?

Asbestos containing materials can be found in various locations, both within the structure of a building and also in fixed items of plant and equipment, such as an old boiler.

Pre 1984, when the UK banned the use of asbestos in boiler manufacture, boilers were the cause of asbestos contamination in many of our buildings.

These buildings would include factories, schools, homes, power plants, industrial and military premises.

Nowadays, it is still possible to find asbestos in the form of boiler insulation in many UK homes.

The reason being that back before the UK ban, asbestos was frequently used in boiler pipe insulation in order to reduce energy costs and prevent fires, due to it’s excellent heat retaining properties.

Asbestos was also used around boilers because it is fireproof, non corrosive and it doesn’t conduct electricity.

So what does asbestos boiler insulation look like?

In very old boilers, you will typically find asbestos boiler insulation around a boiler’s stove, tubes and doors which will be in the form of cement, and it will measure at least 1 inch in thickness.

On the internal pipework, the asbestos boiler insulation looks similar to corrugated cardboard and is made up of between 75 and 90 percent chrysotile asbestos.

Old asbestos boiler insulation
Old boiler with asbestos insulation around pipes that’s been damaged

Other components that contained asbestos were portals and pipes (asbestos gaskets were used) and rope seals on the stove doors.

Is a boiler with asbestos dangerous?

The asbestos insulation on boilers is highly friable, which means that any disturbance or damage caused will release a great amount of harmful asbestos fibers into the atmosphere.

If these asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cause serious medical problems and lead to an asbestos related disease such as mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer.

Therefore, anyone attempting to remove asbestos boiler insulation such as pipe lagging is putting themselves at huge risk of asbestos exposure.

Hence why only asbestos removal professionals should take apart and dispose of old style boilers that contain asbestos, as recommended by the Health and Safety Executive.

boiler with asbestos insulation
asbestos insulation around the outside of pipes

How much does it cost to remove the asbestos?

The cost to remove asbestos boilers varies greatly due to the type of asbestos to be removed, the extent of damage and it’s location.

But to start with, as a guide, boilers are typically expensive to remove as they will consist of pipe lagging, which contains the most dangerous forms of asbestos.

Pipe lagging removal is also expensive because the removal of it will create lots of dust, which is a huge risk to health because of airbourne asbestos fibers.

Boilers are usually also in small and confined spaces which can be hard to reach, further adding to the cost to remove them.

As such, you can expect the cost of removing asbestos pipe lagging and insulation from boilers to be into the thousands of pounds.


Did you find this article interesting?  Then check out our other interesting articles below.

Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their properties, carrying out an asbestos survey in their building so as not to put employees at risk.

So make sure you contact our Armco office to arrange an asbestos survey, before it’s too late! 

Whether you need an asbestos management survey, or a refurbishment/ demolition survey, contact us on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/

Finally, for all your asbestos training needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/to book an asbestos awareness training course.

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Published Sep 04, 2019
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