Asbestos in Glass-Faced Radiant Heat Panels

Asbestos in Glass-Faced Radiant Heat Panels

Asbestos-containing products were standard components used to construct US homes during the early and mid-20th centuries. Asbestos materials were so pervasive that virtually no public or private structure built during that time was completely free of asbestos.

Many of these products are still in place today, and herein lies the danger: the asbestos issue has been successfully addressed in most cases but has yet to be eliminated. If your home or office was built before the 1980s, there's a good chance that asbestos-containing products could have been used in construction and are still present, posing the threat of severe asbestos-related diseases.

Radiant Heaters Made Safe With Asbestos

Despite the asbestos ban from 1989, homes and appliances continued to be built with asbestos years after. That is why an estimated 50% of US homes may still lurk asbestos somewhere within. Fireplaces were vital for houses then, so they should be checked carefully for asbestos.

Some radiant heaters from the 1960s with glass panels were made with asbestos in glazing putties and gaskets. If you have one of these in your home, assuming they're a source of asbestos exposure would be prudent. In glass-fronted and other radiant heaters, components of the heating element inside usually contained asbestos, as high resistance to heat was a must. Exceptional heat resistance was also required for other products such as:

  • Gas fires - today, they employ ceramic to achieve realistic log effects. Before, however, fake logs were fabricated from asbestos-containing materials. If these old asbestos logs are chipped, they may release asbestos dust particles into the air. If you suspect your old gas fire logs contain asbestos, replace them immediately.
  • Stove gaskets - sometimes called asbestos stove rope, were commonly used in wood-burning stoves to seal them against air leaks. These gaskets were so usual that even today, contractors often refer to modern stove gaskets made without asbestos as "asbestos rope." If your wood-burning stove is more than 20 years old, there's a chance that its gaskets contain asbestos.
  • Insulation - asbestos insulation was preponderantly used in and around the fireplaces in older homes due to the fire suppression properties of the mineral. Even if insulation made with asbestos was used in your fireplace, it may still be intact and, therefore, represents no immediate danger. But if it's starting to break down, you'll want to have it removed as soon as possible.

If materials in and around your fireplace contain asbestos, you can send samples to our partnered testing labs in your state. Upon asbestos identification, contact an accredited professional and consult them regarding the best way forward for your situation.

Suspecting asbestos-containing materials?

It's important to remember that not all asbestos present in your house represents an immediate danger. The risk of inhaling or ingesting the tiny fibers emerges when asbestos materials are disturbed. These microscopic particles can linger in the air for hours and endanger everyone's health in the house. But as a general rule, owners of older homes should remember :

  • Asbestos isn't necessarily a health hazard but should be handled cautiously.
  • Not all asbestos needs to be removed.
  • Some asbestos-containing materials can only be handled by a licensed professional.

It's advisable, and in some cases legally compulsory, to hire a qualified asbestos removal expert to remove the toxic material from your home. Our partners list is handy if you find yourself in this situation. For smaller removal projects where an advanced state of brittle asbestos isn't involved or there's a lack of financial possibility, our DIY asbestos removal guide can significantly help.

Why Should I Test Products in My Home for Asbestos?

It is often impossible to tell whether asbestos is embedded in a material, as the fibers are too small to be observed with the naked eye. Exposure to asbestos is responsible for serious respiratory conditions, so thorough testing is required to ensure your home is asbestos-free.