Copyright 2018, Michael Bryant
Asbestos in boilers...
Asbestos was commonly used in boilers until it was banned from use in boiler manufacture in 1984.
Several pre-1984 boiler models are long-lived enough for examples still to be in use. The problem with these boilers is friable asbestos seals (on combustion chamber covers for example). These seals are fragile and disintegrate when disturbed, shedding asbestos fibres into the atmosphere, presenting in my opinion a serious health risk to any technician working on that boiler.
Here is a short list of boilers that I know from experience contain seals that look to me like asbestos, and I prefer not to disturb these seals due to the asbestos health risk. These models are all at least 25 years old and I'm inclined to advise replacement if you own one because keeping it maintained is likely to be ever more difficult as fewer and fewer gas technicians are willing to work on them
Here is my current list:
Potterton Kingfisher MkI
Potterton Flamingo MkI
Potterton Netaheat MkI & Mk II
Potterton Avon II
Glow Worm Space Saver MkI
Ideal 'E' type
Johnson and Starley J25-32
There are probably other boilers containing friable asbestos seals that need to be disturbed during service/repair, and I'll add them to this list as I encounter them.
If an asbestos seal needs to be disturbed, my preference is to wet it with WD40 before and after disturbing it. This seems to lock the fibres down and greatly reduce the risk of them from becoming airborne.
In addition, if you are worried about the possibility of asbestos is your home, there are a number of companies who will advise you. Most will analyse a sample you send them to determine whether it is (or contains) asbestos, or visit you and carry out an asbestos survey. One such company local to me is www.avasbestos.co.uk
(This is not a positive recommendation from me as I have no experience of them. It is a link to their site given to me by one of my own customers who was very happy with their asbestos identification service.)
First created 1st February 2009
Last updated 15th May 2018