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What Does Asbestos Insulation Look Like In Attics

What Does Asbestos Insulation Look Like In Attics


Asbestos was mined throughout the United States and is possible in homes built before the 1990s as mines were still active. You can find it in flooring adhesives, roof shingles to pipe insulation. Additionally, it is one of the most common materials seen in attic and wall insulations. What does asbestos insulation look like in attics?  They are loose, lumpy, fluffy, granular, and pebble-like. The two types are loose fill and vermiculite.

Let’s take a look at the different types, what they look like, and if you need to figure out if you have asbestos.

What is Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral from rock and soil. When building construction is made, rock and soil are needed to collect particular materials. During this time, it is collected with the materials and never separated.

Types of Insulation That Contain Asbestos

As mentioned above, the two types that contain asbestos are loose-fill insulation and vermiculite.

Loose-Fill Insulation

  1. This type is also known as blown-in insulation.
  2. This type of asbestos insulation is fluffy, loose, lumpy, or has a texture that is granular.
  3. Different from most batt and blanket insulation because it doesn’t have paper or another type of backing.
Vermiculite insulation
Vermiculite insulation


  1. A common material that contains asbestos
  2. Sold under the name Zonolite
  3. Identified by looking like pebbles, silver gold, and gray-brown in color
  4. Comes from naturally occurring minerals in the earth

Where Did Asbestos Originate

Vermiculite insulation containing asbestos came from a mine located near Libby, Montana. This mine was active from 1919 – 1990 so unfortunately, the raw insulation material that was taken from the mine contained asbestos. This insulation makes up 70 percent of the vermiculite found in homes in the United States. Additionally, the last mine in the U.S. didn’t close until 2002 so it is possible there could be asbestos in your home.

Safe Types of Insulation

Fortunately, there are safe types of insulation. These are cellulose, loose-fill, and rock wool.

Cellulose Insulation

  1. Loose fill
  2. Gray, soft and no shine
  3. Made with recycled paper and doesn’t contain any minerals
  4. Comes in batt and blanket forms
Loose-fill fiberglass insulation

Loose Fill Fiberglass

  1. White and fluffy and very little shine
  2. Glass product and soft

Rock Wool

  1. Often confused with asbestos-containing insulation
  2. Soft, cottony like gray, brownish-white, white, or off white
  3. Usually a loose insulation

Cost to Remove Attic Asbestos Insulation

The cost to remove attic asbestos insulation can be rather high. There is a range that might not seem so daunting. However, the size of the attic space and the amount of asbestos insulation will dictate the amount that it could cost you for removal. The national average range that asbestos insulation removal could cost you is $800 to $15,000. That is a huge disparity, so make sure you are using the right asbestos insulation removal company.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are up in the attic and determining the amount of insulation needed to replace or add to the attic space, consider doing a thorough inspection of what needs cleaning. Oftentimes we neglect the attic crawl space and it becomes dirty and full of mold or mildew. Cleaning the attic crawl space is an important part of home maintenance.

While you are carefully looking around your attic, make sure that you don’t see any cloth-covered wires. Cloth-covered wires are a fire hazard and it is very difficult to secure homeowners insurance if these are present in the home.

Lastly, if you notice that your electric bill has gone up, it is possible that air is escaping in the home. It is important to air seal the attic and keep the cool air in the summer and the warm air in the winter.

When Do I Call A Professional

Calling on an insulation professional is vital to the health and safety of your home. Using a professional contractor allows you to have the attic inspected in full detail so they can identify asbestos insulation and it is removed safely and properly.

Typically, adding or replacing insulation is a key component for maintaining the integrity of heat loss or cool air loss. Also, you don’t want to move into a home that has asbestos insulation. This project completion is most important.

Categories Plumber

How To Stop Water Hammer When Toilet Fill Valve Closes

How To Stop Water Hammer When Toilet Fill Valve Closes

fter flushing the toilet, you expect that the water goes down and the fill valve closes quietly. However, you notice that after the fill valve shuts off, there is a loud bang in your pipes. What is that? That is called a water hammer. How to stop water hammer when toilet fill valve closes? It is a process that starts with opening up the cold water faucets and letting them drain. Let’s take a look at the process.

What is Water Hammer

Water hammer is water that is moving along and slams into a valve that closes. Then the water goes from the water to the pipe and into the frame of the home. Also, if the pipes are loose or not attached properly, then they will move. This sound is loud and echoes through all the plumbing in the home. This happens during the filling process of a flush.

Water hammer is found usually with washing machines, dishwashers, toilet valves, and faucets and can happen because of faucet washers that are worn or damaged. Also, when there is build-up on minerals and rust that are inside shut-off valves. These are in the walls of the home.

Let’s look at how to stop this from happening.

Turn off main water supply to start the process of getting rid of water hammer when the toilet fill valve closes.

How to Stop Water Hammer

  1. Shut off the main water supply to the house
  2. Starting with the highest floor in your home and working your way to the bottom level, open the cold water faucets.
  3. Now, flush all the toilets that are in your home.
  4. Water will drain from the open faucets. Wait for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Turn the main water supply back on.
  6. Then, wait 5-10 minutes so the faucets can create a strong flow of water.
  7. Starting on the lowest level of your home and working your way up to the top level, close the cold water faucets and the toilets will refill.
  8. When you have all faucets closed and the toilets have filled, flush the toilets. This will allow you to listen for water hammer.

To control water hammer, you will need to have permanent air chambers or water hammer arrestors or both of them installed.

Permanent Air Chamber

This is a vertical section of copper pipe. On the end of it is a cap and it attaches to the supply line with a T- fitting. This supply line is near a shutoff valve or appliance. Installed on hot and cold water lines, it is filled with air and absorbs the force of the water.

This is usually installed during construction of the home in the walIs, however, you may still experience water hammer. This is because the air in the chambers is absorbed by the water over time. Sometimes there are difficulties with these because of the space they take up so it is necessary to use a water hammer arrestor.

Water Hammer Arrestor

This is an alternative to the air chamber and can be installed in a home during new construction or when an air chamber isn’t working out in your home. An arrestor has an air bladder and spring and can absorb the force of moving water. However, it may not give the protection needed if there are pumps and shutoff valves on the same line. They are used in commercial and residential settings and never have to be recharged.

If this isn’t working, focus next on the toilet.

  1. Shutoff valve must be open all the way by turning the handle counter clockwise.
  2. Flush the toilet and see if the noise has stopped.
  3. If you still hear the noise, turn it clockwise to close the valve.
  4. Open the valve and flush it again. If there is debris stuck inside the valve, this will help get it out.

If this doesn’t work, it could be the washer inside the valve is damaged, or you may need to replace the shutoff valve. The fill valve in the toilet tank may need replacing as well. Replacing these may fix your problem.

The shut off valve plays a part in getting rid of water hammer when the toilet fill valve closes.

How Much Does It Cost

Washer – about $8-10 for a package of 100

Shutoff Valve – about $25

Fill valve – about $12

Water hammer arrestor – $15 and up

You may be able to take care of these on your own by purchasing them at the local hardware store or online. However, you will need to know what you are doing. If you want to hire a professional to do this for you, keep in mind the labor charges can be $75 and higher per hour.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are looking into how to stop a water hammer, consider also reading up on why my toilet makes a whistling sound. You might be able to solve both the water hammer and whistling sound with the same repair.

Water pressure issues can happen in the home as well so keep an eye out for them.

Also, if you notice that the water is not flowing freely in the sink, you may need to increase the water pressure. This can be done by checking the aerator or looking for a blockage in the faucet or in the pipes.

Lastly, if you notice that there is a sewage smell in your bathroom, it may be from the Jacuzzi tub, shower drain, sink, or toilet. It is important to find out what is causing the smell and fix it quickly.

When Should I Call A Professional

Issues with plumbing and toilets, in general, is never fun. Unless you know what you are doing, it is worth spending the money for a professional. Calling a professionally licensed plumbing contractor allows you to save time and money on your plumbing projects. They will get the job done quickly, figure out what is causing the issue and correct it. Consider calling on your local home inspection team to get a thorough home inspection, which can include your plumbing.