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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 Industrial

What To Do About Water Heater Leaking

What To Do About Water Heater Leaking

Water heater life expectancy is about 8-12 years. However, your water heater can start leaking before then. In this post, we are going to cover the complete guide on what to do if you have a water heater leaking.

Why Does My Water Heater Leak?

The most common reasons for water heater leaking are age and high water pressure.

Overtime, the natural minerals in water can create deposits and calcium build up inside the water heater. Then, the tank can rust and corrode. This is a natural process.

On the other hand, if your water pressure is too high, this can cause too much strain on the TPR valve, drain valve, or other components.

Sometimes, other components can just become faulty which may lead to a leak at the supply pipes or elsewhere.

Here’s what to do about your water heater leaking.

Step 1: Shut Off Water Supply, Power, & Gas

The first step in any water leak situation is to shut off the water supply. This will lessen any water damage as you find the source and make repairs.

Your water supply can be stopped in many places depending on your home. The easiest place is the pipe that leads water into your water heater. However, you can also shut-off your water at your main valve or water meter if you cannot find the valve just before your water heater.

Take a look at the images below to find these valves. Keep in mind, cold water goes into the water heater and then hot water leaves so your water shutoff should be on the cold side (inlet) which is typically on the right. Use your hand to feel the temperature of the pipe and ensure it is the inlet.

After you have shutoff the water, head to your electrical panel and turn off the water heater breaker.

electrical panel

Finally, if you have a gas water heater, you should shut off the gas to your home. After the water, gas, and power are shut off to the water heater, you can begin finding the water heater leak and repair it.

Step 2: Draining the Water Heater

If your leak is bad enough, you may want to consider draining the water heater to prevent further water damage.

To do this, simply connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Then, lead the hose outside the home. Be sure that gravity will naturally allow the water heater to drain.

Next, use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the drain valve and empty the water heater.

Allow the water to fully drain.

This maintenance should be completed at least once per year to remove any sediment build up.

Step 3: Finding The Water Heater Leak & Repairs

By this point, you should see your water heater leaking and know if it is a lot or a small drip. In most cases, water heater leaking is at the bottom, however, it could also be other places. Before moving forward, take a look at this diagram to understand where your water heater leak may be.

water heater diagram and labelled

Water Heater Leaking At The Bottom

As mentioned, most water heater leaks are at the bottom of the water heater in the drain pan.

Your water heater may not have a drain pan, and that’s okay! Just know for your next water heater, you should have a drain pan to catch the water leak. In addition you should have a PVC drain pipe connecting the water heater drain pan to the exterior of the home. You can see in the image above, the drain pan has a PVC pipe that drains to the lowest part of the garage floor.

water heater leaking from bottom

If your water heater is leaking from the bottom like the image above, most likely your water heater is older and rusted. Therefore, you would need a new water heater since the rust cannot be repaired. We recommend contacting a plumber to replace your water heater for you. However, replacing a water heater can be done on your own if you are handy.

Water Heater Leaking At TPR Valve

If your water heater is leaking from the TPR Discharge Tube, as seen in the image below, this is typically an easy fix by replacing your TPR Valve.

TPR discharge tube leaking

Water Heater Leaking From The Top Pipes

If your water heater is leaking from the top pipes/connections where your inlets/outlets are, most likely you will just have to redo those connections. If this is something you are comfortable with, you can do this on your own. Use this video below for guidance.

Water Heater Leaking From Drain Valve

If your water heater is leaking from your drain valve, this is usually an easy fix by tightening the drain valve with a wrench. If that does not work, you may need to replace the drain valve.

Here’s how to do that!

Water Heater Maintenance & Preventing Another Leak

After fixing this leak, you will want to complete some steps to prevent another water heater from leaking.

Drain Your Water Heater Yearly

The first thing you should remember to do is to drain your water heater yearly. To do this, simply connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Then, lead the hose outside the home. Be sure that gravity will naturally allow the water heater to drain. Next, use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the drain valve and empty the water heater.

Check Your TPR Valve & Discharge Tube For Leaks

The end of your discharge tube should easily be visible. You should monitor this area for leaks every so often and repair as needed. If your TPR valve leaks, it is a sign that something is wrong.

You can also watch this video for more information

Drain Pan & Pipe

Ensure you have a proper drain pan and pipe that leads outside the home. In the case your water heater leaks again, you can count on your drain pan and pipe to carry the water out of your home and preventing water damage.