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Old 04-10-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
Doozer
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Default Furnace in a crawl space under house

This isn't exactly a garage question but the information might help some people on here.

I have a house built in 1955. It's a single story ranch style house in Georgia. The house is on a crawl space. The house was built with a furnace under the house in the crawl space. It hasn't been used in probably 20 years.

My question is....what are the odds that this thing has asbestos in it somewhere? None of the ducting or pipes externally do or did. I bought the house last year and the home inspector said the furnace wasn't an issue. I am thinking there might be some asbestos insulation inside the furnace.

This thing is huge, and I am looking at it seeing $$$$$ for scrap metal. So I want to get it out of there. Obviously if this thing has asbestos, I am just going to leave it alone and forget about it. Asbestos is fine as long as its contained and undisturbed.

Has anyone tackled something like this before?
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

Is the scrap value for a furnace even remotely worth you going through the effort of removal? Do you have to cut it up to get it out of the crawl? I would let that sleeping dog lie.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

I may have to cut it apart. I don't mind the work to make $200-$300 is scrap.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

I am afraid I can not answer your original question but I am curious what you are now using for HVAC in the home. Is there a Forced Air Unit with new ducts etc?

My son rents a home built in the '20s that still uses that type of underfloor furnance and ducts.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

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Originally Posted by Doozer View Post
I may have to cut it apart. I don't mind the work to make $200-$300 is scrap.
How much is steel selling for there?

The biggest, uglyist, heaviest furnaces I have pulled out of a house have been in the 500-600 pound range, I've had a few residential boilers top that but not by that much.

How about a pic or two so we can see what your dealing with.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

This scrap will be pretty low quality since it is sheet metal, other metals, bulky, painted, etc. If the scrap yards are paying that much for something the size of a forced air furnace then I need to do some garage sale hunting. Heck, a freaking broken wash machine is often free or 20 bucks on CL.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

The house is on forced a/c. Condenser is outside and evaporator is in the attic. The furnace is about the sice of a short bed pick up truck. It's huge. I will go under this weekend. Although I am expecting asbestos.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

Regardless of whether it has scrap value or not, I cannot imagine why you would want it to stay in place. Get it out of there. You may, someday want to sell the house. It increases your flexibility with your own property. Asbestos was outlawed in 1970. Asbestos was the "wonder drug" of it's day. It is in everything from that period. I'm sure I'm right. I have a lot of it in me.

I look at these environmental things mathematically, you know, where two negatives equal a plus! I worked with so much asbestos that I had to do something to offset it. So, as a fitter/welder I worked a few shutdowns on nukes and caught a bunch of zoomies (radiation). Now that I have a half life of my own, I figure that the negative affects of the radiation will offset the asbestos and buys and girls, the living' is fine! Details to follow
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

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Asbestos was outlawed in 1970.
Nope.

More like the late 1980s for most usages. Still being produced for some applications where nothing else has found to be viable.

That said, I can't offer insight into antique furnace construction. If there is ANY fibrous insulation in it, I would assume it to be asbestos. Along with any hardboard type products, but these are not an issue unless broken.

Personally, I would remove it either way. Not for scrap value.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

If the asbestos is all internal, it isn't a safety issue. Asbestos is only bad if it's disturbed and airborne. I am ok if it's contained in the furnace, as any inspector would be too. I just don't want to get half into the tear down and then find it. Now it's exposed and a potential problem.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:10 AM   #11
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

It won't be contained, you will be chopping the furnace into movable pieces. Plan on being exposed during the removal. It is a good thing to remove the furnace if it is an asbestos bomb becuase in the future, some overzealous inspector could wave a red flag when you try to sell and then you will have to pay big bucks for proper disposal.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

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It won't be contained, you will be chopping the furnace into movable pieces. Plan on being exposed during the removal. It is a good thing to remove the furnace if it is an asbestos bomb becuase in the future, some overzealous inspector could wave a red flag when you try to sell and then you will have to pay big bucks for proper disposal.
That's exactly what I said, except the part about the inspector.
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

I doubt that it had asbestos in it if it is 20 years old. However, that is the time period when asbestos was being identified and legislation written. Some imported products or products left from previous years were still used. I would crawl in there, carefully take a couple of samples of what you find (if anything), put it in a ziplock bag and take it to a testing lab. The test is cheap and then you will have a definitive answer. All the experts do is dampen it, take a little sample, and bag it for testing.
In NYS, a contractor has to be licensed to do asbestos work. A homeowner can remove it himself and toss it in the trash. I haven't figured out that logic, but that is the law. I used to be licensed but gave it up when I retired.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

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Originally Posted by 6768rogues View Post
I doubt that it had asbestos in it if it is 20 years old. However, that is the time period when asbestos was being identified and legislation written. Some imported products or products left from previous years were still used. I would crawl in there, carefully take a couple of samples of what you find (if anything), put it in a ziplock bag and take it to a testing lab. The test is cheap and then you will have a definitive answer. All the experts do is dampen it, take a little sample, and bag it for testing.
In NYS, a contractor has to be licensed to do asbestos work. A homeowner can remove it himself and toss it in the trash. I haven't figured out that logic, but that is the law. I used to be licensed but gave it up when I retired.
It's not 20 years old. It hasn't been used in 20 years. The house was built in the mid 50's and its original to the house.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

Is there a nameplate that you can find, hopefully with a manufacturer and model number? Researching that would be my first instinct.

Quite honestly, I'm not entirely sure what a furnace of fifties vintage would even look like. I'd be a bit surprised if the scrap metal value would be worth a big endeavor though, but who knows.

If it's mostly metal, my likely guess would be that any asbestos would be limited to the likely fiber gaskets between access doors or panels. If they haven't crumbled away by now, which unfortunately would make that asbestos friable. I could also imagine a transite asbestos heat shield protecting what went for the electronic control board at the time.
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:36 PM   #16
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

Most likely an old Niagra furnace. Not worth much in scrap, but worth getting it outta there.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:00 AM   #17
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Default Re: Furnace in a crawl space under house

I have to go under there this week to check my Coax (hooking up a second TV), I will try and snap some pictures.
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