Exposed insulation - is this hazardous?

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Posted by: from Brampton
8/26/2012 at 5:55:25 PM

There's a random piece of insulation surrounding a metal pipe/vent near our basement stairs on the ceiling. It's exposed and there are wires wrapped around it, is it hazardous?

What should I do? I've attached a picture.

exposed insulation - is this hazardous?
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Date/Time8/26/2012 at 9:20:15 PM

If you have any concerns with old, exposed insulation, it's best to call a professional. Asbestos is very dangerous.

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John from Accu-Struct in Belleville
Date/Time8/26/2012 at 10:03:32 PM

Don't be concerned about that it's perfectly fine, that is a heating duct and the insulation is there to provide a heat seperation between the 2 basically so the heat from the furnace duct dosent come into contact with the electrical. Also it provides protection for the wire against the metal it is common practice. No need to be concerned with that at all.

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Date/Time8/26/2012 at 10:18:10 PM


I would not be concerned as this is a regular practice. It looks as though it is fiberglass "pink" insulation, ... not a hazard. It is there for a purpose as mentioned by John, Don't remove it.

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Date/Time8/26/2012 at 10:46:22 PM


Just as John and Mark have stated: the fibreglass is there to separate (and to provide a simple heat shield) the plastic-sheathed electrical conductors (Romex) from the heating duct.

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Date/Time8/26/2012 at 11:03:04 PM

As a certified electrician i can confirm the response given by a few of these guys, This falls under the Canadian building code and it is a REQUIREMENT to protect all loomex wires from ducts.

That being said the pink fiberglass insulation isn't a health hazard material but i do advice you to put on gloves when you are handling it because it does make your skin itch quiet a bit specially if you are not used to it and also wear a mask because breathing this stuff in isn't alot of fun, make your throat very dry and itchy aswell.

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Date/Time8/26/2012 at 11:07:30 PM

If you want to remove the insulation, you would need to find some slack in the wire and make the "loop" larger. However in that case, it may be well below the lower edge of the floor joist and would be difficult to finish the ceiling.

That is the reason why the insulation is used.



John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time8/27/2012 at 12:20:02 PM

Good Morning:

I have a new home electrical inspection failure because the electrician did not insulate the wires from the heat ducting.

It is code for this insulation to be put in place. This has been mentioned to you in various responses sent to you. It may look like it is haphazardly put in place, but it is necessary.

Your question was a valid one, mainly because it appeared to be sloppy workmanship.

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Date/Time8/27/2012 at 10:38:17 PM

Like others said, I see no issues with this.


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Harpinder in Brampton
Date/Time8/28/2012 at 4:58:51 PM

Thank you all for your replies. They were really helpful.

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Pete in Toronto
Date/Time9/5/2012 at 1:44:30 PM

I can not believe not a single reply address the potential risk when the fiberglass gets airborned and is inhaled.

Check out this link

Here's a couple fo excerpts:

(NaturalNews) The case against asbestos in building materials was finalized after decades of research traced several severe lung cancer incidents to asbestos poisoning. Now fiberglass, the replacement for asbestos, is under similar scrutiny for the same reasons.

Learn more:

That quote is: "asbestos causes cancer not because it is asbestos, but because it is a Respirable Durable Fiber (RDF). RDFs completely unrelated to asbestos such as fiberglass and rock wool are equally carcinogenic."

Learn more:

I would wrap/seal the exposed fiberglass if I were you.

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Benjamin in Woodbridge
Date/Time9/13/2012 at 8:15:40 AM

@ Pete,

Sir, as above stated by experienced people (not saying you are not), what is in the picture is not hazardous and is a common pratice to protect the wire from a heating duct. Now I understand the concern about it going airborne. However; looks to me like the basement is being finshed, so on that note the ceiling will be sealed and nothing will be airborn. Further more, that is not Aspestus. Aspestus was 1930's era I believe and won't find it in a newer looking basement like that. It is R12 insulation. Commonly used in walls (depending on what the client wants).

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Bruce from Interior Craftsman in Vernon
Date/Time9/19/2012 at 12:32:09 AM

At this point, I would not be concerned, but at the same time, I would not be disturbing the insulation if it is not necessary.

Contary to what other posts have said , there is a big difference beteween asbestos and fibreglas, asbestos has a microscopic barb that once embedded it continues forward (into lung sacs. etc), fibreglas does not have the same properties, however, I agree that it is the next hazard that will rear its ugly head once all the asbestos contraversary has gone, but fibreglas fibres do not have the same properties, they are not safe to breath but if left undisturbed they will not present any immediate concern, just don't disturb them if not necessary. The reason you see them around the heat pipe is to provide insulation for the wires from the heat pipe..

Hope this leviates any concerns you may have.

Bruce Crawford

Interior Craftsman

6486 Blue Jay Rd

Vernon, BC


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Yogesh in Pickering
Date/Time11/30/2012 at 1:42:32 AM


Read following for Pink insulation.

1. It is itchy, if you come in contact. If you leave it open like this it will slowly spread on floor & come in contact with skin, particularly with children. If you want to try, rub little bit insulation on your arm skin.

2. When furnace/ Air conditioning runs, it picks up glass fibers , sends every where in house, some of them enters in your lung, as you breath this contaminated air. That effects your lungs. You can imagine what happens when it goes into your eyes.

3. For more info get phone # of manufacturer of Pink insulation & talk to them. They should tell you all type of hazards. Get MSDS sheet, it tells you all hazards.

4. Contractor should not leave any insulation like this. It looks like that it is done by electrical contractor. Call Electrical safety Authority & ask what is expected from contractor. Also call contractor & ask it to replace with proper material.

5. At least cover it with Aluminum tape. Stop Spreading of Glass fibers. Everywhere you see this type of open Glass fiber insulation. Best way is to replace with Foam rubber insulation (Black color) tubing.

6. Any type of dust in house or outside is health hazard, protect your & your family health (Lungs).

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