Chimney from asbestos-cement pipe: honestly about the difficulties and disadvantages

We frequently search for safe, affordable, and effective solutions when it comes to home heating. A chimney is a common element of many houses, and it is essential for venting gases and smoke from heating systems and fireplaces. While there are many materials used to build chimneys, asbestos-cement pipes have received notice—for all the wrong reasons.

When building a chimney, asbestos-cement pipes might initially seem like a sensible option. After all, asbestos was once commended for being durable and fireproof. But as we’ve discovered, using asbestos in any form carries serious health risks. When disturbed, asbestos fibers can easily become airborne and inhaled, which can result in serious respiratory conditions like mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Some homeowners may still have chimneys made of asbestos-cement pipes, even though the risks of asbestos exposure are well known. This might be because the chimney was constructed before the risks associated with asbestos were well known, or it could be the result of ignorance of the dangers. For whatever reason, it’s critical to discuss the challenges and drawbacks associated with having a chimney constructed of asbestos-cement pipes.

The possibility of asbestos fibers being released into the air is one of the main issues with chimneys made of asbestos-cement. Damage from renovations and repairs, along with general wear and tear, can cause the asbestos-containing material to become disturbed over time and release dangerous fibers. When appropriate safety measures are not followed, even standard maintenance duties like cleaning and inspection can become dangerous.

Difficulty in Installation Installing an asbestos-cement chimney pipe can be tricky due to its weight and fragility, requiring careful handling and specialized equipment.
Risk of Health Hazards Asbestos fibers, if released during installation or maintenance, pose serious health risks when inhaled, potentially leading to respiratory diseases like asbestosis and lung cancer.

Asbestos-cement pipes often burn and burst

An asbestos cement pipe can burn and burst quickly if it is installed in the lowest portion of the chimney, where the temperature is at its highest. When building or installing a heater, keep in mind that the entire chimney channel will need to be rebuilt.

Burnt cement and asbestos pipes

Sort by Category Since the heat from solid fuels, such as coal or wood, is significantly higher than the temperature of natural gas combustion products, it is not permitted to construct chimneys using asbestos-cement material for heating appliances.

Installing asbestos concrete pipes in brick stoves is forbidden.

The porous structure of this material allows it to effectively absorb the condensate that forms, hastening the pipe’s destruction where it penetrates the roof. Because the foundation of the roof is typically composed of easily ignited wooden beams and bars, this presents a fire hazard.

In the realm of heating and insulating your home, there"s a growing conversation around the use of asbestos-cement pipes for chimneys. While they were once a popular choice due to their affordability and durability, it"s time to talk honestly about the difficulties and disadvantages they present. Asbestos, a material once hailed for its fire resistance and insulation properties, is now recognized as a serious health hazard. When these pipes degrade or undergo maintenance, they release harmful asbestos fibers into the air, posing a significant risk to human health. Additionally, asbestos-cement pipes can be prone to cracking and deterioration over time, leading to potential leaks and structural issues within the chimney system. In light of these concerns, homeowners should carefully consider the long-term implications of using asbestos-cement pipes for their chimneys and explore safer and more sustainable alternatives for heating and ventilation needs.

During the Soviet era, asbestos pipes were widely used because they were reasonably priced and could be used to finish stove construction quickly. Furthermore, strict technical control was applied to the production process and this building material was produced in accordance with specific GOSTs.

Since manufacturers no longer have to adhere to rigid standards, the products they produce today are of a much higher caliber than those that were produced in the past.

But even in our day, asbestos-filled pipes can be seen towering above the rooftops of dacha cooperatives. However, it should be mentioned that the majority of dacha residents do not live outside the city year-round, so they do not heat the furnace during extremely cold temperatures, nor do they put the pipe through daily extreme testing when there are large temperature fluctuations. This lengthens the material’s shelf life.

However, it is a very good solution for ventilation.

The same pipes are employed for different purposes, where they clearly have more advantages than when used as a chimney. For instance, they work well for sewerage and ventilation systems and are also utilized in foundation building.

Installation of asbestos-cement pipe as a chimney

If the choice was made to use an asbestos concrete pipe for the chimney device for gas heating appliances, all installation, insulation, and fastening steps must be completed correctly.

It should be mentioned that using this kind of pipe only for the upper section of the chimney will extend its lifespan.

Before the last or penultimate row of the chimney, pieces of reinforcement are inserted into the brick pipe to ensure the stability of the asbestos portion of the chimney. Following the hardening of the mortar, the header is affixed to the protruding pieces of reinforcement within, and the space between it and the brick pipe is filled with a cement mortar mixture containing claydite. You can first wrap pieces of any material around the pipe to stop such insulation from leaking into it.

The asbestos chimney’s passage through the roof needs to be extremely well waterproofed if the changeover from the brick pipe to the asbestos pipe takes place near the attic room.

Because of an apron’s elasticity, roofing passages that will snugly adjoin to a pipe and a roof with any volumetric drawing can now be found in specialized stores for this purpose. Sealant holds it affixed to the roofing material.

Insulation of asbestos-cement pipe

Because asbestos is a porous material, soot deposits grow very quickly on the inside surface of the chimney. Furthermore, condensate, which forms at temperature differences, is added to the soot in this instance. These phenomena have a detrimental effect on the asbestos cement and hasten its demise.

An approximate plan for an asbestos-cement pipe’s thermal insulation

Insulation techniques are used to keep condensation out of the chimney. Insulation that resists heat is arranged externally. Brickwork can be used to reinforce the pipes further, which will greatly boost the thermal insulator’s effectiveness.

You can cover the pipe with bricks or specific blocks.

An additional choice is to cover the asbestos pipe with a metal casing that is insulated with minwool. As a result, you receive a sandwich that effectively protects the pipe from abrupt temperature changes. Thermal insulation needs to be installed over the whole height of the asbestos concrete chimney section in order to function to its maximum potential.

Insulation of the asbestos-cement chimney’s exterior

The asbestos pipe is covered with a metal umbrella to prevent moisture from the outside from entering.

The pipe header will be finished with a precipitation-resistant umbrella.

An alternative method of thermal insulation involves the use of specialized slag concrete blocks that are fixed in the shape of a box around the asbestos-cement pipe. Depending on the climate in the area where the chimney is installed, there may be as much as 10 centimeters or more between these prefabricated components and the pipe. Slag, mineral wool, or expanded clay are used to fill these cavities that have formed.

Main disadvantages and consequent risks of using asbestos-cement pipes

It is not unnecessary to issue another warning: before selecting one material over another for the stove pipe’s construction, acquaint yourself with all the drawbacks of asbestos-cement pipes for the chimney device so that you are prepared for the emergence of different situations during operation.

  1. This material cannot withstand high temperatures – when exposed to them, the pipe can burst or even explode.
  2. The porosity of the material contributes to the absorption of formed condensate.
  3. In such a pipe technologically impossible to arrange hatches to control the condition of the pipe.
  4. This material is virtually impossible to clean from soot deposits because of the same porosity.
  5. Chimney made of asbestos concrete does not give the opportunity to create a sufficiently high draft due to the lack of heat capacity of thin-walled material.

The chimney is an important consideration when choosing a heating system for your house. Because asbestos-cement pipes are inexpensive and long-lasting, they have been utilized in the construction of chimneys. Nonetheless, it’s critical to understand the difficulties and disadvantages this information presents.

The possible health hazards associated with asbestos-cement chimneys are one of their main disadvantages. When disturbed, asbestos fibers can become airborne and present significant health risks if inhaled. The risk of exposure persists even with precautions taken to reduce it, like sealing or encapsulation.

Additionally, specialist maintenance and repairs may be necessary for chimneys made of asbestos-cement. Materials containing asbestos must be handled carefully, frequently calling for the assistance of qualified experts. For homeowners, this may mean higher expenses and more trouble, particularly when compared to other chimney materials.

Apart from maintenance and health issues, chimneys made of asbestos-cement might not provide the best insulation possible. For a home to be energy-efficient and to stop heat loss, proper insulation is necessary. Compared to other materials, asbestos-cement might not offer as much insulation, which could result in higher energy costs and less comfort.

Even with these difficulties, it’s crucial to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of an asbestos-cement chimney. Although durability and affordability might be desirable qualities, it is important to consider the possible health risks and upkeep needs. Alternative chimney materials that provide comparable advantages without the related disadvantages should be investigated by homeowners.

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Sergey Ivanov

I like to help people create comfort and comfort in their homes. I share my experience and knowledge in articles so that you can make the right choice of a heating and insulation system for your home.

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