Many older houses, apartment buildings, businesses and other buildings contain products made with asbestos. When they start to break down, it’s important to remove them before the fibers become loose or “friable.” Loose asbestos fibers can make their way into your lungs and sit there for years or decades before spurring the growth of cancer tumors.
Naturally, when it comes time to remove the asbestos from your home, you might think about hiring a professional. While the federal government doesn’t regulate the removal of asbestos from private residences, many states do. Trained professionals can find, contain, remove and dispose of asbestos in a way that minimizes your odds of harmful exposure. So, how much does this work cost?
Not cheap, not as expensive as many think
Generally, when you hear about asbestos removal, it’s in the news, and it involves something like a business, school or church. As a result, the numbers associated with the work are often much larger than you might face for work on your home. To be fair, professional asbestos work isn’t cheap, but it’s not so nightmarish as some may think. For example, the commissioners who ordered the asbestos removal of an old church in Kansas had feared the work could cost as much as half a million dollars. Instead, it cost $65,000.
Work on your home is likely to cost far less. But experts remind us there are many factors involved. As the Minnesota Department of Health notes, these may include:
- The square footage
- The amount of material to remove
- Where the asbestos is located
- Complications that increase the time required
That said, both Angie’s List and Home Advisor claim the average cost of asbestos removal in the United States is just over $1,900. If you need work on your whole house, you’re likely looking at a price more in the range of $15,000 to $30,000.
This cost often includes:
- Sealing the area
- Disposable materials and equipment
- Waste disposal
- HVAC cleaning
Of course, the $1,900 average is bound to change with regional differences. You’ll also likely receive different estimates from different contractors, as you would with any significant project.
Is asbestos removal worth the cost?
The problem with asbestos is that it is a known carcinogen. When it gets loose, you can breathe it into your lungs or absorb it through your skin. On the other hand, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says you don’t need to remove materials simply because they contain asbestos. If those materials remain intact and don’t threaten to release asbestos, you may not need to remove them.
However, there’s no amount of asbestos exposure known to be safe. That’s why the EPA regulates it as a hazardous substance, and the owners of nearly all public buildings need to follow the EPA’s rules. These include rules for testing, removal and disposal. Only licensed professionals should work on public buildings. Even if your state doesn’t force you to follow similar guidelines, hiring a professional to handle the removal is likely the best way to protect your family and yourself.