Pipe insulation is a white, tubular, dusty material that was wrapped around hot water and steam pipes to prevent heat loss. Pipe insulation may be in basements, crawlspaces, and walls. We assume pipe insulation contains asbestos and generally don’t test for it.
You should have your pipe insulation removed by an asbestos abatement company if it contains asbestos, and if it might be disturbed. If disturbed, the asbestos in the duct tape could enter your lungs, and cause diseases such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Asbestos removal can be done in different ways depending on the type of material, the location of the material, and the ability of workers to safely access the material. In general, during pipe insulation removal, the abatement contractor will seal off the work area with multiple layers of plastic sheeting, set up a three-stage airlock, and depressurize the work area with specialized air handlers. The abatement workers will enter the work area with supplied air and protective clothing. They will wet down the pipe insulation, scrape it off, and seal it in doubled heavy plastic bags. They will sample the air at a variety of places including inside and outside the work area, and send those to a lab for testing. Once the air samples pass the tests, the workers will return to the site to remove the plastic sheeting.
After the job is complete, you will generally need to insulate the pipes.