Can a new AC unit be incorporated into the ductwork of a 1930s gravity air furnace that has asbestos ductwork?
I seriously doubt I can afford to replace the huge gas furnace, but I'd like to get central air, and I'm wondering if an HVAC company can use the existing furnace ductwork. Also, is a certified environmentalist required to remove the asbestos, or can I spray it down and remove it myself? If a specialist, where does one find such a person/company? I'm assuming that's quite costly. I know the recirculating vent either needs replacement or fixing, as well. Can an HVAC company tackle that?
The best thing to do with asbestos is to seal it. Yes, asbestos removal is to be done only by certified professionals.
Regarding the gas furnace, I recommend you get a mini split system heat pump installed in the rooms that need it most. This will pay for itself in energy savings over running that cast-iron beast.
For more information:
Read Wikipedia's article on asbestos abatement here.