Re-wiring Strip Lights with Asbestos

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
Hi all

I want to pick the brains of the lighting professionals here. I am by no way a lighting professional and learned everything I know hands on. As I have said before I use to be a technical director for a local youth theatre which had basically due to a financial issues went on hiatus. Well it looks as if the group is moving locations and possibly starting back up. WIth that being said many years ago we were donated some strip lights. These lights use regular flood light bulbs that you would use in your house the screw into a fixture and not the type of light bulbs that go into a stage light. The person that donated them to us said they have asbestos in them and need to be rewired. The wires coming out of them have on soft white over the little wires under them going to the plugs. So I know those need new wires. Does that mean inside them have asbestos as well? How easy would these be to rewire and is it worth it to rewire them? They are in good condition. I am not a electrician. I do rewire the stage pin ends on our other lights by following the wiring on the old end I am taking off on the new end I am putting on. So I can follow the wiring on what I am taking off with the new wiring I am putting on. If it is worth it what gage of wire do I need?

Do my questions are

Is there Abstoes inside as the stage lights as well as the wires going from the lights streps tp the plug?

Are they worth rewiring?

What gage of wire do I use to rewire?

Is it easy to rewire them?

Thanks
 

EdSavoie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Location
Windsor, ON, Canada
Is there asbestos inside?: Almost certainly.

Are they worth rewiring?: Probably not.

What gauge of wire?: This comes as a strike against if "you should" rewire them to be perfectly honest.

If you don't have the knowledge of how to determine the correct gauge of wire for this application (which is fair, not everyone does) you don't have the knowledge or equipment to protect yourself from disturbing or distributing the asbestos fibers.

I understand the motivation and lack of budget for wanting to do this, I really do, but I honestly don't think this kind of unit is worth the risk and expense to decontaminate and rewire.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Hi all

I want to pick the brains of the lighting professionals here. I am by no way a lighting professional and learned everything I know hands on. As I have said before I use to be a technical director for a local youth theatre which had basically due to a financial issues went on hiatus. Well it looks as if the group is moving locations and possibly starting back up. WIth that being said many years ago we were donated some strip lights. These lights use regular flood light bulbs that you would use in your house the screw into a fixture and not the type of light bulbs that go into a stage light. The person that donated them to us said they have asbestos in them and need to be rewired. The wires coming out of them have on soft white over the little wires under them going to the plugs. So I know those need new wires. Does that mean inside them have asbestos as well? How easy would these be to rewire and is it worth it to rewire them? They are in good condition. I am not a electrician. I do rewire the stage pin ends on our other lights by following the wiring on the old end I am taking off on the new end I am putting on. So I can follow the wiring on what I am taking off with the new wiring I am putting on. If it is worth it what gage of wire do I need?

Do my questions are

Is there Abstoes inside as the stage lights as well as the wires going from the lights streps tp the plug?

Are they worth rewiring?

What gage of wire do I use to rewire?

Is it easy to rewire them?

Thanks
@JimP0771
- "Are they worth rewiring?"
To me, probably not; to you, maybe.
- "What gauge of wire do I use to rewire?"
The answer lies in: How many lamps per circuit, at what wattage per lamp, for the total wattage per circuit divided by 120 volts will give you the current. Once you know the current per circuit, you can learn the minimum gauge required. It's probably safe to assume you'll use copper wire rather than aluminum.
- "Is it easy to rewire them?"
This will depend upon many factors, a photo of the innards would help, particularly detailing how the internal wiring connects to the sockets.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

tdrga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Location
Central TX
What gage of wire do I use to rewire?
Leaving aside the issues with the asbestos, one of the reasons it was used in lighting fixtures is that it allowed for the wiring to withstand the higher temperatures found inside lighting fixtures.
The other piece of the answer to what gauge of wire you should use is what type of wire.
Ordinary THHN building wire (easily found at your local big box home improvement store) is not rated for high enough temperatures. The proper wire would depend on exactly how things are wired inside the fixture but it could easily be several times the cost of THHN wire.
-Todd
 

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
I am about to the place of just sending them to the dumpster. ( I do not mean this by throwing them in the literal dumpster I do abide by all laws I mean this by getting rid of them) Wish I could save them. Although I really am not a fan of strip light due to the fact that you can not really do much with them. My high school had strip light and I did not use them for much when we did shows there. Most of the time those I would use for work lights when building sets before rehearsals or after rehearsals when upsetting up sound. I just thought it would be nice to rewire theses strip lights so I could use them if I needed to.
 
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BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
Unfortunately, at least in states I'm familiar with, that would be illegal. I bought a house one with some asbestos pipe insulation - I had it removed legally - and now I'm the generator of the toxic waste. It's in a clear plastic bag in a landfill with my name on it forever.

So you have to make up your mind on playing by the rules and abating the asbestos or being an outlaw and putting hazardous waste in the dumpster.

When I work on building projects it's understood you never say the "A" word.
 

JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
Oh I would defiantly do it in a safe way. Never put it in a dumpster unsafely. I abide by all laws believe me. What I meant by that was to say that instead of keeping them i think that I will get rid of them. Probably should have said that instead of the way I said it. Anyways I could just leave them in the building and let the current owner of the building that expressed some interest in fixing them up have them so he could use them. Thanks for all the advice here.
 

Ravenbar

Active Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Location
NY
As someone working for a trash company, from what I understand, it would be perfectly legal to thow then in the dumpster(in NY, at least). Homeowners/individuals can throw it in the trash. The illegality only applies to businesses/contractors, and that, as I'm told, homeowners/individuals can do whatever. The legality, even in that case, is more along the line of making sure people aren't exposed to it(only is it's disturbed and becomes airborn) and not about the environment. It ends up in the bottom of the landfill cells, at landfills that accept hazardous waste.

If it were me, I'd(wearing a respirator) take them outside, hose them down real good, once dried, spray all the wires with a spray adhesive to prevent release of the fibers, wet everything down again, cut/remove the wires(while keeping everything wet), Double bag them, (possibly encapsulating the waste in spray foam, (professional technique for asbestos left in place)), and dispose of in the trash. Hose the fixtures down again(repaint if that's in the plan, to encapsulate any remaining fibers(painters are the first in a building once an asbestos abatement site is cleared(site being cleared is tersting for airborne asbestos fibers, not asbestos fibers in general), for this reason. If concerned about legal being 100% proper about disposal, call the trash company. Probably just a specific time you need to come in to dump, and a higher cost of disposal.
 
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JimP0771

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Upstate NY
Already taken care of. I donated them to another theater company that has the money and they plan to have them taken and professionally rewired and used them at there theater . So they will now have a good life in service for who knows how long. I am glad to see that see that they will go to a good home. I did warn them about the dangers inside of them they said no problem they had just dealt with some other stage lighting donations that had the same issues and sent them out to have the Aspostos cleaned out and have them rewired. ( What ever that means) and they have those lights working on there grid already.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
Do you know of any silicon products or any products for this purpose long term that are not affected by the heat? I couldn't find any in 5-10 minutes of googling.

And who is going to do it? Some one trained with the correct personal protective equipment presumably.

I've been down this road and the conclusion is it's always less expensive to bury the fixtures and replace them than abate the asbestos in full compliance with regulations, and still own the hazardous material.
 

EdSavoie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Location
Windsor, ON, Canada
You also run into the problem that you haven't actually dealt with the asbestos, and now based on the quality of the coating, you've just deferred the same problem to someone else once that coating breaks down.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Do you know of any silicon products or any products for this purpose long term that are not affected by the heat? I couldn't find any in 5-10 minutes of googling.

And who is going to do it? Some one trained with the correct personal protective equipment presumably.

I've been down this road and the conclusion is it's always less expensive to bury the fixtures and replace them than abate the asbestos in full compliance with regulations, and still own the hazardous material.
Yes. This is a 'cut your losses and walk away' proposition. Asbestos is a liability, not a re-work order.
 

JonCarter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Location
Meridian, Idaho, US
Asbestos: Yes, it is a carcinogen. Yes, the miner digging the stuff for a lifetime may well get lung cancer. Yes, the factory worker working with the stuff for 20 years may well get lung cancer. Yes, the pipefitter installing insulated steam lines for 20 years may well get lung cancer. Yes, you know there's asbestos-insulated wire in the strip lights.

Now, having said all that, you have a/some lighting instrument(s) (your strip light(s)) which serve your purpose and which you can control with your present control system (i.e., you have a dinner system and the instruments don't need to be DMX-controlled.) If this were my situation, I would CAREFULLY (preferably outdoors with the wind blowing away from me) replace the asbestol-insulated pigtails with NON-asbestos-insulated hi-temp pigtails and keep using the instrument(s) until a) they wore out, b) the theatre's budget would allow replacement, or c) lighting design requirements necessitated replacement.

Yes, asbestos is a carcinogen. But only if the fibers are inhaled. If asbestos-insulated wiring is enclosed in a strip light I wouldn't worry about it. In fact, I would be more concerned about the poor guys up the supply chain.

(I'm not selling new equipment; I'm getting the job done as best I can for the lowest cost and as safely as I can.)
 
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