Repair Asbestos Taping with Duct Tape

Roll of duct tape

Geary is concerned about some asbestos tape that has separated from the outside of his heating ducts and plenum on the forces-air heater in his 38-year-old home.

The question: Is this a condition he should attend to, and if so, how?

The asbestos tape was originally used to help hold the ducting together at the joints, and to assist in preventing air from escaping from the system at those joints. Modern duct tape is asbestos-free.

There’s not much asbestos in the taping. You can remove the old tape yourself. Moisten the old tape and remove as much as possible. Then, simply retape all the joints with two or three winds of new 2-inch-wide silver duct tape.

Contractors are allowed to work on up to about 120 feet of asbestos piping without special restrictions. A few inches of asbestos tape fall well within safe limits.

Also, here’s a suggestion. Since you can see the duct tape on your metal heat-supply ducts, it is apparent to us that they are not insulated. While you are at the store getting duct tape, purchase a few rolls of 1-inch-thick by 12-inch-wide insulation and wrap those ducts. Save yourself some heating-bill bucks this winter.

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