As an energy auditor I occasionally see vermiculite in the gas fireplaces. Does anyone know if any of the vermiculite they use(d) for fireplaces has asbestos fibers and if it's safe to run blower door?

Thank you

Tags: Fireplace, Vermiculite

Views: 3820

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I put a drop on the fire place  more for the soot  and light fibers.   You can get 3000 PPM CP  very quick with open flame with rock wool or vermiculite what flame hits.   I have vacked at whole room with a tear drop shape from the soot with open flame.  That fire place pipe is just 1/2 black pipe sc 40 with holes drilled it then the gas runs though the rock wool and other fibers to make it look like "real".   When I took at class on asbestos its listed as vemiculite as a holder.  

when in doubt pressurize. That may not be a bad idea for fireplaces in general. I was suprised the first time I saw vermiculite in a fireplace. By pressurizing you won't pull any air past the fibers from the gaps around the damper making it safe even if yuou have asbestos contaminated vermiculite.

 

Eric, if I understood you opinion correctly you would not do a blower door test if there is any vermiculite in the house no matter what. 

That brings me to an interesting question - what if the fireplace newer than 1978? I see newer houses, built in the 80s and 90s that that have fireplaces with vermiculite in them . 

I would assume that any vermiculite in use since 1978 should have been tested safe. 

Cory, I fully agree, pressurizing is always safer in case you have any sources of contamination. 

It wasn't until about 1994 that it was discovered that there asbestos was found in the vermiculite in the Libby-Owen Mine in Montana, which was the source for 70% of the vermiculite sold in the US. Vermiculite is now considered a hazardous material, unless it has been installed since 1994 and the source can clearly be documented. Lots of information on this topic on the Web.

You are allowed to pressurize the blower door test, assuming that you will not be disturbing asbestos fibers that could enter the house. If vermiculite is in the walls and attic, there may be little opportunity for notable energy savings, and you would not be able to determine where the leaks are with a pressurized test, so why bother?

I have never seen vermiculite in or around a fireplace here in Vermont. Where are you finding this vermiculite in fireplaces?

If you go to a fireplace show floor like midwest fireplace or troost fireplace,  they have 40+ working fireplaces mostly nat gas some wood some press wood with chains/dampers  The very high end home will have a mix of rock wool and vermiculite that nat gas or lp gas will burn into, right on the 1 lb poly bag says vermiculite expanded and its an add on,  replace each year,  mix for look.  I get 300 PPM CO off the flame and 100 +- in flue on low and high gets to 3000 PPM CO flame and 1000 PPM CO flue.    I have seen the vermiculite turn black soot then white soot if burn is good.  If you do not cover the soot/vermiculite/rock wool mix you will get a tear drop shape to the blower door.   Its sold to make the fire places look kinda like wood burning. 

Thank you very much for your reply, it was very helpful. 

I've seen a number of fireplaces with vermiculite both in NY and Oregon.

Does anyone have any data on asbestos in the house from running a blower door?  From the attic, basement or a fireplace?  

I'd check with the local installers as to when the orig. install was and what product they were using.  Grace, etc. stopped producing / selling ACM vermiculite in the mid. 90's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermiculite

Best,

RSS

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network.

Latest Activity

William H Nickerson replied to Kim Tanner's discussion Fantastic innovation
"So that's where you use those True Flow plates....."
1 hour ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

Passive House Testing Webinar with Kevin Brennan of the Passive House Academy at Online

September 29, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
Tests needed to qualify as a passive houseWhy we’re seeing an increase in PH buildingsBest…See More
8 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

DM32 Smart Gauge 101 Webinar at Online

September 22, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
Webinar Learning Objectives:Gauge settings and operationCalculate results in the gaugeUpdate the…See More
8 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

Blower Door 101 Webinar at Online

September 15, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
See how easy it is to do your first test. Learn tips to perform your first duct test in only twenty…See More
8 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

Zone Pressure Diagnostics (ZPD) with Bill Eckman of NME$A Webinar at Online

September 10, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
Benefits and limitations of Zonal Pressure Diagnostics (ZPD).Best practices for accurate…See More
8 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

Problem Solving- Air Tightness Tests of Large Buildings Webinar at Online

September 1, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
Effect of Stack Pressure during airtightness tests in tall buildings-caluculating the effectsHow…See More
8 hours ago
Kim Tanner posted a discussion

Fantastic innovation

What an awesome example of fantastic innovation!Check out the TrueFlow Capture Box CEE made!…See More
9 hours ago
Amina Lang posted events
10 hours ago

© 2015   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service