Asbestos Home Testing Kits vs Professional Inspectors: Which is better?
When it comes to asbestos inspection, DIY home testing kits are becoming a great option for some homeowners. Not only are they inexpensive, but they’re also very DIY-friendly, which is the very reason why people love them.
However, like most homeowners, you must also have your own reservations about these testing kits. You might be asking yourself, “Are they reliable?” or “Are they safe?” Or “Should I buy and use one?”
Well, don’t worry, in this piece, we’re going to answer all your burning questions about asbestos testing kits. But first, let’s dig in a little deeper and see what DIY asbestos testing really is.
Asbestos testing kits are basically a collection of basic equipment needed for DIY asbestos testing.
Packaged into a kit, these basic tools allow you to take a sample of areas and items in your home that you suspect may be asbestos-containing materials (ACM). This kit usually includes these basic tools:
- Disposable coveralls and gloves
- Safety glasses
- Face mask
- Bags for samples
- Cleaning wipes
Normally, there are only two steps involved in using these asbestos home testing kits. Here’s how the process plays out:
First, you’re going to use the tools provided to take samples of ACMs from your house.
You are then going to ship these samples to a testing laboratory where experts in the field are going to confirm whether the samples you took contain asbestos, or not.
There are also DIY testing kits in the market, that allow you to execute the entire process yourself. They provide a chemical agent in the kits that you need to apply to the suspected ACM.
After doing that, it’s basically up to you to read the results correctly based on the given guidelines in the kit.
Asbestos testing kits are the go-to options for homeowners who are a little tight on the budget because they’re convenient and generally cheaper than hiring professionals to inspect your home for asbestos.
However, these DIY kits have been the subject of discussions for a long time. And below are the questions that people ask regarding these testing kits.
From a professional standpoint, asbestos testing kits are not as reliable as the intricate and accurate processes of a professional asbestos inspection. Not unless the technology behind these testing kits catches up to what a team of experts and a full accredited lab can do.
There are two reasons why these DIY kits may not be as accurate or reliable as professional asbestos testing:
The technology behind the kit itself – like we’ve mentioned earlier, these kits are not as advanced as the equipment that a professional inspector would have.
Asbestos inspection companies invest a lot of money in equipment and in training their inspectors to make sure that the entire process is as accurate and safe as possible.
Lack of experience – while asbestos testing kits promise a fast and easy process, the accuracy of these kits also depends heavily on the person who will take the samples.
We don’t mean to underestimate anyone but knowing what asbestos containing materials could look like or which parts of the house you should take samples from is a skill that is acquired over years of training and practice.
Your house may contain asbestos in it, but you won’t be able to detect it if you take the wrong samples.
Aside from its reliability, the overall safety of using these DIY testing kits is in question as well. And as you already know, whenever you’re dealing with asbestos, safety is always on top of the priority list.
Collection of samples from asbestos-containing materials, whether friable or non-friable, can be very tricky. Because every time you dig in for bits and pieces, you could disturb the asbestos if you’re not very careful. As a result, these ACMs could release asbestos fibres into the air.
That’s why the standard procedures are: first, you must prepare the area by sealing off all doorways and windows to prevent contamination and secondly, wear protective equipment.
Most, if not all, asbestos home testing kits only provide very basic equipment like disposable gloves, coveralls, glasses and masks. They won’t provide you with the materials to seal off the area that you’ll work on.
And without the proper equipment, the asbestos fibres may spread in the entire house, and you and your family can get exposed to asbestos easily.
If you suspect that your house contains asbestos-containing materials, there’s nothing really wrong with using asbestos home testing kits. Especially if you’re a little tight on money and you don’t want to go through all the hassle of hiring companies.
Just keep in mind, however, that while asbestos testing kits are relatively cheaper, you would still have to pay additional fees to the lab that will evaluate your samples.
There are available kits that are already packaged with laboratory fees, as well, however these can be quite costly.
The big thing is you just have to know the pros and cons that come with it so you could make a better decision. And one disadvantage that often comes up is the risk of getting exposed to asbestos.
That’s why, as much as possible, you must follow the provided guide properly. Wearing the proper protective equipment or preparing the area that you’ll work on are two steps that must be taken seriously.
If you fail to follow these guidelines, you’re only increasing your chances of getting exposed to this hazardous material.
There’s a reason why asbestos was completely banned in Australia and other western countries. The health risks that are associated with asbestos are very serious and, worse, potentially fatal.
If you are old enough to remember the 9/11 terrorist attack in the USA, it’s the perfect example of how dangerous and fatal asbestos fibres can be.
The first responders who were tasked with rescue and clean-up operations were exposed to significant amounts of asbestos that scattered everywhere because of the crash. Twenty years later, the same responders are suffering from asbestos-related diseases.
Below are only some of those major diseases:
Mesothelioma – This is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the protective linings of the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs. Most patients that are diagnosed with this disease often live less than one year after the cancer was discovered.
Asbestosis – is also a lung condition that is characterised by the scarring of the lungs caused by inhaled asbestos dust. Some of its symptoms are shortness of breath and chest pains.
Over time, the symptoms could get worse. And the worst part is, that there is no cure yet for this progressive disease.
Lung cancer – yes, you can get lung cancer even if you’re not a smoker. What happens is that once you inhale the asbestos fibres, it can lodge in your lung tissues and cause cellular damage.
Some of the symptoms are non-stop coughing (sometimes with blood), shortness of breath, wheezing, and more. The worse thing about lung cancer and the other asbestos diseases that we just mentioned is that they will only appear more than 10 or 15 years after exposure.
That’s why you need to be very careful when using asbestos home testing kits for DIY testing.
As a rule, it’s always better and safer if you leave anything asbestos related to the pros, from inspection to removal, and disposal processes. Here’s why:
First of all, asbestos is a health risk. So, it must be treated like one. And there’s no better way to do that than to hire professionals to collect samples from your house for asbestos testing.
Asbestos inspectors have all the knowledge and experience to make sure that the entire house won’t be contaminated with asbestos fibres as they collect a sample from ACMs.
They will also make sure that everything will be cleaned up once they finish collecting samples. This way, you won’t accidentally inhale any of the asbestos fibres that were disturbed.
Keep in mind that the goal of asbestos testing is to confirm whether there is asbestos in your home, or not, so you can make the right decision moving forward.
That’s why you really need accurate asbestos test results. Thankfully, you can always hire asbestos companies like us, Greenlight Environmental Services, for asbestos testing or asbestos air monitoring.
With our years of experience in the biz and highly skilled team of experts, we know exactly what and where to look for and how many samples are needed to confirm the presence of asbestos.
Also, with our high-end tools and equipment, we’re confident that we can always deliver accurate results while also keeping the safety of your home and your family in the process.
While asbestos home testing kits are cheaper than hiring professionals, trust us, you’ll also save a lot of cash by getting our professional services.
Like we’ve said before, asbestos home testing kits are not always the most accurate option. If you try to use these, there’s a chance that you might get a false negative result and, of course, believe it.
The problem with that is that when you plan to renovate your home yourself or have it demolished, you’ll unknowingly disturb the asbestos and accidentally inhale its dust.
Then it can only go south from there (knock on wood). You might end up spending an entire fortune in hospital bills later in life.
If you suspect that there are asbestos-containing materials in your home, don’t hesitate to shoot us a message.
We offer a sample collection service in Metropolitan Melbourne, where one of our consultants can visit your property to obtain a maximum of 2 samples for testing. The cost for this service is $350 + GST. If you require additional samples, we can also collect these for an additional $90 +GST. This is a particularly great option if you wish for one of our consultants to take the necessary samples from a particular area of your property on your behalf for testing.
Following testing of the sample/s, a report will be issued to you with the findings. Should the outcome be asbestos, we will make a recommendation in the covering email to you of a specialist company who will be able to provide a quotation for removal of the asbestos based on our report/findings.
If you want to chat about this service or anything asbestos relation, you can give us a ring at 03 9048 4411 or fill out our contact form here!
Our team of qualified experts will contact you the soonest as possible and help you every step of the way!