Asbestos in boilers...
Asbestos was commonly used in boilers until it was banned from use in boiler
manufacture in 1984.
Several pre-1984 boiler models are long-lived enough for examples still to be
in use. The problem with these boilers is friable asbestos seals (on combustion
chamber covers for example). These seals are fragile and disintegrate when
disturbed, shedding asbestos fibres into the atmosphere, presenting in my
opinion a serious health risk to any technician working on that boiler.
Here is a short list of boilers that I know from experience
contain seals that look to me like asbestos, and I prefer not to disturb these
seals due to the asbestos health risk.
These models are all at least 25 years old and I'm inclined to advise replacement if
you own one because keeping it maintained is likely to be ever more difficult as
fewer and fewer gas technicians are willing to work on them
Here is my current list:
Potterton Kingfisher MkI
Potterton Flamingo MkI
Potterton Netaheat MkI & Mk II
Potterton Avon II
Glow Worm Space Saver MkI
Ideal 'E' type
There are probably other boilers containing friable asbestos seals that
need to be disturbed during service/repair, and I'll add them to this list as I
If an asbestos seal needs to be disturbed, my preference is to wet it
with WD40 before and after disturbing it. This seems to lock the fibres
down and greatly reduce the rick of them from becoming airborne.
Update 28th June 2011:
I've just been sent a link to a very comprehensive list of appliances
believed to contain asbestos. It's here.
My list above turns out to be woefully inadequate!
In addition, if you are worried about the possibility of asbestos is your
home, there are a number of companies who will advise you. Most will analyse a
sample you send them to determine whether it is (or contains) asbestos, or visit
you and carry out an asbestos survey. One such company local to me is www.avasbestos.co.uk
(This is not a positive recommendation from me as I have no experience of
them. It is a link to their site given to me by one of my own customers who was
very happy with their asbestos identification service.)
First created 1st February 2009
Last updated 3rd June 2015