Home improvement questions? Ask a handyman for answers
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The photo you provided looks like a round metal duct surround by pink blown in insulation. Most blown in insulation is not asbestos. The only way to know 100% is to have it tested to see if it is "hot", but from the looks of it I tend to think not. If you have a transit pipe (usually a concrete looking vertical exhaust pipe), those usually have asbestos in them.
It is hard to tell the 2nd to last photo but the last photo looks like regular insulation wrapped around the duct. I understand what your HVAC guy is saying as he doesn't want to be in trouble or sued if you have asbestos and many products used before 1978 contained asbestos. The only way to be 100% sure is to have it tested. Many tests can be done from a certified tester for a few hundred bucks.
You can check yelp online for certified Asbestos, Lead, and Mold testers in your area. If you are near SoCal I can reference a tester. Note it is ok to have asbestos so long as it is not disturbed. Any asbestos removed need to be done so in accordance with EPA guidelines and is to be properly disposed of.
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