Ruwac Blog

Which Vacuum Should I Use for Vermiculite Removal?

Recently, Dust In Case addressed the topic of using an industrial vacuum cleaner to remove insulation. In some instances, safely removing the material from your attic or building requires additional care and precautions due to the dangerous nature of vermiculite and the potentially inclusive asbestos, two substances that in the past were heavily used to create insulation materials. Here is what you need to know about them, and how an industrial vacuum system can assist you in safely handling and removing vermiculite from your space…

What Is Vermiculite?

Vermiculite is a naturally-occurring mineral that when heated to a high temperature, expands to as much as 8 to 30 times its original size. Expanded forms of vermiculite are light-weight, fire-resistant and odorless, making it an ideal material used for attic and wall insulation inside houses and buildings. Vermiculite appears in the form of pebbly or porous shiny flakes.

Why Is Vermiculite Hazardous?

During the years 1919 to 1990, a mine in Libby, Montana was the primary source of more than 70% of the vermiculite being sold within the United States under the brand name Zonolite. The same mine also contained deposits of asbestos, thus contaminating all of the vermiculite being harvested there, as asbestos has since been discovered to include toxic properties linked to cancer and respiratory issues. Anyone who has vermiculite insulation in their building today should assume that it is contaminated with asbestos.

What If You Have Vermiculite Insulation?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, they recommend that you follow these safety measures if you discover that your insulation is made from vermiculite:

• Leave the vermiculite insulation undisturbed, as moving it without the help of a professional can cause the asbestos particles to be released into the air and contaminate other areas of the building.
• Do not store boxes or other items in attics or rooms containing vermiculite insulation
• Do not allow people into rooms or attics where vermiculite insulation has been installed
• Hire a professional asbestos contractor to make sure the material is safely handled, contained and removed in a manner that complies with Federal and State requirements

Vermiculite Removal Solutions for Contractors

If you are a contractor who specializes in removing vermiculite from buildings and attics, you need a specialized industrial vacuum system built for the removal of hazardous vermiculite. Such industrial vacuum cleaners should include the following features:

• Provides a safe vacuum environment without construction materials such as nails and staples from getting in your way during the removal process
• Can safely contain dangerous contaminants without letting the operator come into any contact with them during removing the vermiculite
• Has the ability to return only clean air while containing and filtering harmful materials through a pre-separation system and drum container

By informing yourself about the hazards of vermiculite and asbestos alongside the proper equipment to safely remove these dangerous substances, you will not only make a cost-effective decision to remedy the issue, but keep yourself and those around you safe as well. If you have any questions about picking a vacuum for vermiculite removal, Dust In Case would love to hear them. Let us know in the comments section below.