Can ThermaPure’s Heat Levels Damage Drywall/Gypsum?



Many clients and members of the industry have expressed concern about heating gypsum board, also called the plaster of Paris, a common building material.

What many people don’t realize is that these building materials are exposed to temperatures similar to a ThermaPureHeat treatment before they are used in construction. Often, materials are shipped through the deserts of Arizona and California, packed in trucks that are not temperature controlled. These temperatures may even exceed ThermaPure’s temperatures. Additionally, these temperatures are not monitored or distributed with the same expert care that ThermaPure technicians use.

Scientifically, gypsum board is used in buildings because of its unique and resilient properties. Gypsum board, like any other porous building material, will lose moisture through evaporation as the material is heated.  Heating to 100°C (212°F) will increase conductivity of the material, increase thermal expansion of the material, but the mass loss of the material is virtually unchanged.  As the gypsum board heats the energy is used in the gypsum to begin dehydration.  All of these minor physical events occur as the material begins to dehydrate.  This takes place up to the beginning of calcination at 100°C.  It does not appear that any damage is done when this activity takes place over a fairly rapid period of time, as is done in a ThermaPure process.  The significant changes to the material occur after calcination begins and most occur between 100°C and 200°C.

There are few studies that show what happens to a gypsum material that is heated up to 100°C (212°F) and then returned to ambient temps.  The sense is that the restoration to ambient temperatures will return the material to a normal state because no chemical change has taken place. Calcination is a process that occurs in gypsum board in which the level of both liquid and vapor moisture are dehydrated.  It appears this process begins at 80°C (176°F).  There are several citations in which the researchers talk about temperatures of 100°C (212°F) as the approximate temp that calcination begins.  Either of these temperatures are typically in excess of a ThermaPure process.  One of the research papers (Fuller) states that comprehensive strength of gypsum board actually increases up to 100°C.

With years of experience, and thousands of jobs completed successfully, ThermaPure is familiar with the complexity of heating structures. We have taken a simple concept, pasteurizing buildings, and applied it to modern homes and commercial buildings. Each job is analyzed individually for the best results.

Why Heat Over 105° F?

This article was originally published in the November/December issue of C&R magazine and has been reprinted with permission from the Restoration Industry Association

When you apply sauna-like temperatures to a structure and use filtration to capture contaminates before they spread, you use a method similar to the one that has been effective on food for more than a century. But only recently has the process been created to use in structures.

ThermaPureHeat uses heat on structures in a way that is similar to how Dr. Louis Pasteur used heat on food. Pasteur determined that by heating food products to a temperature of approximately 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) for several minutes, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, molds and yeasts in the food would be reduced to levels that would no longer cause the food to spoil or harm those who ate it. Pasteurization improved the shelf life of food products and, more importantly, reduced levels of contamination to allow for safe consumption without damage to the food.

Today, similar principles are used in structural pasteurization. Structural pasteurization is a process in which the temperature of a building or portion of a building is increased to a level that will reduce the targeted organ­ isms to acceptable levels while minimizing damage to the structure. This is a main component of ThermaPureHeat. Joe McLean, chief executive officer and co-founder of Alliance Environmental Group Inc., headquartered in Azusa, California, stated: “ThermaPure is a significant part of our business and provides us with a unique tool for our clients. Over the past three months, Alliance has done nearly 500 ThermaPureHeat projects. We solve many indoor problems with ThermaPure.”

During the past 10 years, ThermaPure  has acquired  the rights to insect patents;  been granted  patents for the remediation of mold, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic  com­ pounds in structures; and has eight patents that strengthen the control  of the technology for a range of indoor  air quality uses. Additionally, the intellectual property includes more than 3 5 trademarks and foreign patents. Although the company started as a technology to control insects, it has expanded the method to other uses, such as in the restoration industry. A structure damaged by water can be effectively remediated through heat. The results can be better than traditional restoration methods.

ThermaPureHeat as a Structural Drying Tool

ThermaPureHeat as a Structural Drying Tool ThermaPureHeat is a complete water loss restoration process because it combines high-temperature drying and sanitization in a single restoration process. The application of high-temperature drying has been increasing as many restoration contractors are now using it. Additionally, it is defined in the most recent version of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) SSOO, Reference Guide for Professional Water Restoration. Structural pasteurization is recognized by the IICRC remediation standard, S520, as a process that can be effective in killing organisms.

According to an Xactimate/ThermaPure report, ThermaPureHeat is an effective restorative drying process for the following reasons:

  • High-temperature applications will dry most structures more quickly.
  • Applied appropriately, high-temperature drying is more thorough, reaching previously inaccessible areas such as wall cavities.
  • High-temperature drying is more effective with porous materials, resulting in fewer replacements.
  • The duration of the restoration process is faster, so loss mitigation is reduced by minimizing build back.
  • By reducing the duration of the restoration processes, Category 1 water losses are potentially resolved before they become contaminated.
  • High-temperature drying will sanitize the affected areas.
  • In a Category 2 water loss, structural pasteurization can resolve bacterial contamination concerns.
  • In a Category 3 water loss, ThermaPureHeat is effective in killing most species of bacteria, viruses, helminths and other unhealthy contaminants.
  • High-temperature drying and structural pasteurization are both processes recognized in the IICRC drying standard, SSOO, and the mold remediation standard, S520.

The Move Toward High-Temperature Drying and Structural Pasteurization

The  process of high-temperature drying and structural pasteurization  are becoming the preference  because it saves time and money, and it is effective in resolving issues before they turn into bigger problems. Specifically, ThermaPureHeat reduces drying cost (this has been demonstrated using Xactimate calculations), relocation expenses and business interruption costs, and it reduces or eliminates secondary damage (microbial contamination), demolition requirements and restoration/rebuild costs.

Recently, an independent testing facility, CodeBlue, tested “directed heat thermal energy drying against traditional drying methods.” Once the drying was complete, results were compared and it was confirmed that high-temperature drying reduces drying time.

By Larry Chase and Tim Gallagher

ThermaPure in Cleaning & Restoration Magazine

What is the advantage of using ThermaPure? A new article in C&R magazine, a publication by the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), answers this question. Check out the article, entitled “Why Heat Over 105 Degrees F” in this months issue.

C&R ThermaPure Article 1 Cover