A Realtor’s View of ThermaPure

We are very pleased with this short article that mentioned us in the Ventura County Star Sunday entitled, “Don’t Get Bit by the Termite Tent.” Thank you for writing this Brian Guevara! Here is what he had to say: 

abode-987096

Nothing is as frustrating to a homebuyer as the wait to move into the home they have just purchased because of a “termite tent.”

Ventura County real estate agent Brian Guevara has found away to move the process along: ThermaPure Heat Method.

Guevara has become a proponent of the system that kills termites and other bugs with heat rather than chemicals.

“I like it because it’s faster,” said Guevara, a RE/MAX agent with the Ventura office. “It costs about the same, and it doesn’t leave behind any chemical residue.”

In the ThermaPureHeat method, the extermination company skips the tent. Instead, it brings a number of heaters into the home and heats the interior of the home up to 150 degrees. (Lipsticks, candles and other items that might melt are safely placed in the refrigerator.) The heat kills termites and other small insects. It also takes care of any mold and pathogens.

After the interior of the home is heated for several hours, the home is cooled with fans.

The entire process takes about 12 hours. Tenting the home and treating it with chemicals will keep the homeowner out of the home for several days.

“I like it because the homeowner is anxious.

They want to move in. This lets that happen much sooner,” said Guevara. “The costs are comparable. And there is no chemical residue in the house. The guarantee is comparable to the traditional methods so the customer has nothing to lose.”

ThermePureHeat is a method developed and patented by Ventura County businessman David Hedman. The ThermaPureHeat method heats the ambient air inside structures up to 150 degrees for several hours in order to eliminate termites and other bugs, as well as mold, mites, allergens and other airborne pathogens. In water damage restoration, the method sanitizes the structure while it dries.

Brian Guevara is apracticing real estate professionalwithRE/MAXGold Coast Realtors.

He has been serving Ventura County for over 30 years and is a member of the Hall of Fame for RE/MAX International. He can be reached at 933-6600.

ThermaPureHeat® – A Restoration Process for Flooded Structures

flood damage

1000-Year Flood Events – Commonplace Occurrences?

This year’s storm experience in South Carolina is the sixth 1000-year flood in the past five years according to a USA Today report. What had seemed extraordinary is becoming common. These seemingly perpetual storms across the U.S. cause a multitude of problems.  One significant result is the presence of biological pathogens (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa) found in structures damaged by floodwaters. Structural pasteurization to dry and sanitize may be the best restoration process available.

Structural Pasteurization of Flooded Buildings

A process for a safe and effective sanitization of structures impacted by floodwaters is needed.  Pasteurization, a process used successfully for 150 years in food products, can be applied similarly to structures for disinfection. IICRC documents recognize “Structural Pasteurization”, but do not fully express the benefits. By reaching temperatures lethal to many of the pathogens associated with floodwater contamination, ThermaPureHeat® “pasteurizes” structures. ThermaPureHeat® is the most effective application of structural pasteurization.

Buildings impacted by floodwater are Category 3 water losses. Category 3 is defined by the IICRC as “grossly unsanitary”.  Structural pasteurization as a part of the drying process can return the structure to pre-loss conditions. Structural pasteurization with ThermaPureHeat® is one of the most thorough restoration processes because of both efficacy toward the target pathogens and the ability to penetrate inaccessible areas.  This process does not use chemicals or biocides and therefore no additional hazards are added to the space.  It is unique as a restoration process because it thoroughly dries the structure and kills the unwanted pathogens and their insect vectors.

Floodwaters Present a Severe Hazard

In the current aftermath conditions from these most recent storms, the extensive flooding will create a significant environmental health concern.  The potential contaminants in floodwaters include a variety of biological pathogens.  These pathogens present the opportunity for a number of water and excreta-related health problems and diseases for a significant period of time.  Many of these pathogens can remain viable in a structure for up to a year.  Some can remain longer in a moist environment.  As structures dry, many become aerosolized and migrate throughout the building.  Rodents and insects also act as vectors transporting these pathogens throughout a structure.  Disinfection of flooded structures is a complex and demanding problem.

Floodwaters present non-biological contamination problems as well.  Gasoline, pesticides and other chemicals may be carried by water into structures.  The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with many of these chemicals present a potential hazard to occupants as they slowly off-gas over the next several months. Structural pasteurization can speed up the process of off-gassing by increasing the vapor pressure of the impacted material. Chemical vapors are typically exhausted, but under certain conditions must be captured through carbon filtration.

Pathogens Found in Floodwater

Typical assessment of pathogens found in floodwater focuses on the measurement of coliform bacteria. The presence of coliform bacteria is used as a yardstick for the assumption of biological contaminants in structures impacted by floods or other sewage contaminated water.  Although this assessment is generally adequate to determine the presence of sewage related biological pathogens, it may not be adequate to determine the appropriate remedial response for the structure.  Some floodwater pathogens may be more difficult to kill or reduce to safe levels.

Recent studies of E. coli contaminations indicate that there is a possibility of human infection up to ten months after the original contamination.[i]  Other species may have even greater durability.  Salmonella, for example, has a longer life outside of the host and therefore has the potential of infecting a larger number of species, including flies, cockroaches and other vectors.  This may be true of other microbes as well.  It is important to understand that floodwater contaminated structures can remain a health concern for a long period of time.  This is particularly true if the building is not properly dried and remains moist or wet.  In fact, the conditions will worsen for a period of time. In addition, most buildings are a catalyst for insect infestation.

The bulk of data used in this paper regarding pathogens in floodwater is found in studies provided to assist in the management or design of water supply and sanitation systems.[ii]  Because of the size and magnitude of some of the hurricane floodplains the contaminated water and attendant pathogens are most likely comparable to sewage contamination.  Efficacy studies regarding the thermal death rate of floodwater pathogens are derived from these sources.

Pathogens found in buildings affected by sewage-impacted floodwaters include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and helminthes.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) these pathogens impact human health.  Although it is not the purpose of this paper to understand specific health concerns associated with these pathogens, it is the intent to understand the resolution – structural disinfection of floodwater contaminated buildings.  Included in these categories are a few of the assumed water and excreta-related pathogens.

Bacteria Viruses Protozoa Helminths
Escherichia coli

Salmonella

Enterococcus faecium

Rotovirus

Enteric viruses

 

Giardia lamblia

Entamoeba hystolitica

Nematodes – roundworms,

hookworms, Ascaris

Cestodes – tapeworms

The potential for infection of occupants in a structure comes from various vectors.  The vectors found to transport or transmit these pathogens in buildings include[iii]: feco-oral, water-washed, water-based, excreta-based insect and rodent vectors, and aerosol.

The importance of this is to demonstrate the dynamic nature of a floodwater-contaminated building.  Occupants can be affected by a wide variety of routes and vectors making the resolution more complex.  ThermaPureHeat® is the only process that effectively treats all of the pathogens present as well as impacting the vectors and routes, while drying the structure.

Thermal Inactivity of Specific Floodwater Pathogens

Temperature is a more thorough intervention process in the inactivation of enteric pathogens.  According to the WHO, “…heating to pasteurization temperatures (generally 60C) for periods of minutes to tens of minutes will destroy most waterborne pathogens of concern”[iv].  This general statement may be adequate to recommend utilization of heat for the disinfection of floodwater-impacted structures.  However, for the purpose of this paper, more specific targets have been identified to further define the efficacy of the process.  The following table shows specific pathogens that can be rendered inactive by temperatures within the range of structural pasteurization:

Pathogen

Genus, Species

Family
Thermal

Death Rate

Time

Required

Source
Escherichia coli Bacteria 60C/140F 45 minutes Padhye & Doyle[v]
Enterococcus faecium Bacteria 60C/140F <45 minutes Spelina[vi]
Salmonella Bacteria 60C/140F I hour Feachem[1][vii]
Shigella Bacteria 55C/131F 1 hour Feachem[viii]
Giardia lamblia Protozoa 60C/140F 2-3 minutes Univ of Utah[ix]
Entamoeba hisolytica Protozoa 60C/140F 1 minute Feachem[x]
Rotovirus Virus 63C/145F 30 minutes G.N. Woode[xi]
Enteroviruses Virus 60C/140F 2 hours Feachem[xii]
Ascaris lumbricoides Helminths 55C/131F 1 hour Feachem[xiii]

Application of the ThermaPureHeat® Technology

The efficacy of ThermaPureHeat® in its simplest form is a result of the combination of temperature and duration.  The complexity of any thermal sanitization is achieving efficacy in all areas of the structure.  What differentiates ThermaPureHeat® is the ability to sanitize the entire structure, including inaccessible areas and difficult areas such as crawlspaces.

Buildings are complex and the requirement for uniform temperature throughout a structure is necessary to achieve efficacy.  Heat technicians are thoroughly trained in construction materials, thermal dynamics and the intended targets.  Buildings have materials that conduct heat, some that create radiant losses, and others that are heat sinks.  The heat technician must understand each of these conditions and others.  Temperatures are monitored in real-time in all areas including difficult to heat locations.  In a wooden structure these places might be under sill plates, between header boards, and in wall cavities.  Crawlspaces and sub-areas provide additional difficulties.  ThermaPureHeat® can treat all structures.  Additionally, this process typically includes laboratory testing to document the reduction of bacteria following treatment.

The process of pasteurization of a structure appears to uniformly impact these pathogens related to floodwaters.  Other methods of disinfection are not as uniform in result.  For example, Giardia cysts are resistant to chlorination and a wide range of pH.[xiv]  Other methods may not be ovacidal, for example with some helminths, such as Ascaris, the eggs are more resistant than the larvae.  Other processes are not as safe or not as effective, or both.  Heat, as a disinfectant, is uniform and non-discriminatory in application.  Pasteurization of a building is an effective process to reduce pathogens to safe levels.

Structural Pasteurization with ThermaPureHeat

All buildings affected by floodwaters should be sanitized.  The most thorough method is structural pasteurization with ThermaPureHeat®. It is a patented, non-chemical, engineered process that “pasteurizes” structures.  This process is the most effective because it is the only process that kills or inactivates the majority of pathogens present while thoroughly drying the structure.  Additionally, it is the only treatment that inactivates pathogens in inaccessible areas. It prevents pathogens from vectoring by other sources.  Vector sources include aerosol, rodents, cockroaches, and other insects.  Added value for the process is the reduction of VOCs that may have resulted from chemical contamination associated with the floodwaters.  Much like the pasteurization of food products, ThermaPureHeat® reduces the biological contaminants in a structure to levels safe for occupants.

Larry D. Chase, Consultant to ThermaPure, Inc.

Original article reviewed by Sean P. Abbott, Ph.D., E-Therm Inc., Scientific Advisory Board

October 2015

[i] Varma, J.K., et al, (2003). “An outbreak of Escherichia coli infection following exposure to a contaminated building”. Journal of American Medical Association, 290(20), 2709-2712.

[ii] Feachem, R. et al,(1983). Sanitation and Disease Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management. Wiley, Dorchester, England.

[iii] Mara, D.D., Feachem, R.G.A., (1999) “Waterborne and Excreta-Related Disease: Unitary Environmental Classification”, Journal of Environmental Engineering-ASCE, 125 (4), 334-339.

[iv] Sobsey, M., (2002) “Managing water in the home, accelerated health basis of improved water supply”, World Health Organization.

[v] Padhye, N.V. and Doyle, M.P. 1992. “Escherichia coli 0157:H7: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and methods for detection in foods”. J. Food Protect. 55(7):555-565.

[vi] Spelina, et al, (2007). “Thermal Inactivation of Enterococcus faecium, National Institute of Public Health, Prague, Czech Republic.

[vii] Feachem, R. et al, (1983) Sanitation and Disease Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management, Wiley, Dorchester, England, p278.

[viii]  Feachem, R. et al, (1983) Sanitation and Disease Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management, Wiley, Dorchester, England, p294.

[ix] Wilderness Medicine, (2005) University of Utah, School of Medicine.

[x] Feachem, R. et al, (1983) Sanitation and Disease Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management, Wiley, Dorchester, England, p342.

[xi] Feachem, R. et al, (1983) Sanitation and Disease Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management, Wiley, Dorchester, England, p188.

[xii] Feachem, et al, (1983)

[xiii] Feachem, et al, (1983).

[xiv] Feachem, et al, (1982) p354.

Wildfires – Smoke Remediation with ThermaPureHeat

fire and smoke damage

What are the Health Effects of Smoke and Fire Damage?

Extreme heat and drought occurring across much of the western United States are creating the perfect condition for increased numbers, size and duration of wildfires.  The wildland fire season of 2015 has already broken records and may yet be the worst fire season in recent history. This fire season was significant for the number of wildfires and the associated harm to the increasing number of humans living in wooded areas, as well as to wildlife, timbers and structures. Whole communities have been severely impacted. In a recent Senate Committee hearing, Thomas Tidwell, head of the U.S. Forest Service, testified before a committee on energy and natural resources that the fire season now lasts two months longer and destroys twice as much land as it did four decades ago.  Fires now, he said, burn the same amount of land much faster. Through September 18, the 2015 fire season has seen nearly 9 million acres burned from wildfires.

What is Smoke Made of?

With this increased potential of wildland fires, health concerns for certain individuals raise significantly.  Forest fire smoke is made up of small particles, gases and water vapor.  Water vapor actually constitutes the majority of smoke.  However, what remains is significant in terms of health effects.  The remainder includes carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, irritant volatile organic compounds (VOCs), air toxics and fine particles.  Although smoke can be harmful to all individuals, it may be dangerous to certain populations, especially those already at risk for heart and lung diseases.  Individuals with congestive heart failure, COPD, emphysema or asthma are at greater risk.  Additionally, children and the elderly are more susceptible to harm from smoke.

Wildwood fires that occur in more populated areas, such as the 2013 occurrence of the Black Forest fire in Colorado have increased health concerns when structural components become fuel.  When structural fires are a part of the wildfire, the types of fuel increase and include all of the building materials – paint, carpet, floor coverings, wall coverings, insulation, manufactured materials, plastics, electronics, furniture, clothing, etc.  Chemicals, such as pesticides, cleaning agents, and aerosols also become fuels. Many of these household chemicals are known carcinogens.  Others can be damaging to structural components because of their corrosive nature.  All of this may be a part of what we refer to as “smoke”.

Smoke Contamination in Structures

Particles are classified by their size.  In a wildfire, hundreds of thousands of tons of respirable particulate matter is released.  The vast majority of this particulate is smaller than 0.3 micron.  To get a sense of size, a human hair will range from 30 to 120 microns.  Because of the small size of this particulate, it is easy to see how smoke will infiltrate your house, even though you may have had doors and windows tightly sealed.  Smoke damage is a common occurrence in structures near wildland fires.  Generally, what we notice after a nearby wildfire is the presence of “soot” and the odor of smoke.  Soot, or carbon black, is a relatively small component of the complex elements of smoke; however, it is the most easily recognized or observed.

It is difficult to assess the level of smoke contamination in a structure.  Certainly there are tests that can be conducted.  One example of a smoke testing is the ASTM D6602-03b test method “Standard Practice for Sampling and Testing of Possible Carbon Black Fugitive Emissions or Other Environmental Particulate”.  This method requires a wipe sample and a specific analytic protocol.  It will provide you with an assessment of the presence of both char material and carbon black in particle sizes of 1 micron and larger.  Other tests may be used to determine the presence of specific chemicals.  All of these tests are complex and must be conducted by a qualified consultant.  If it is necessary to determine and quantify the presence of smoke contamination, a qualified environmental professional should be used.

Smoke Odors in Structures

Generally, contamination will be determined by odor.  The presence of smoke in your structure will provide a recognizable smoke smell.  Odor brings awareness to the human olfactory system of the presence of airborne chemicals.  Awareness of odors can also be from stimulus, triggering unwanted irritation to eyes, nose, and throat.

Smoke can affect anyone, not just those at increased health risk.  “The odors from smoke can leave you feeling nauseous or with headaches, as well as an overall sense of annoyance at the constant smoke irritation,” said Janie Harris, Texas AgriLife Extension Service housing and environment specialist. “The smoke infiltrates homes and the lingering odor persists.”

Harris said the smoke smell persists, even after a good scrubbing, due to tiny microscopic particles that cling to walls, furniture, floors and clothing inside the home.  “Removing the smell of smoke can be a difficult job involving time, effort and money,” she said.

Smoke Remediation

The most effective way to eliminate the smell of smoke is to remove the source.  Other methods are often attempted, such as masking the odor or changing it chemically, but source removal is the preferred method.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides wildfire smoke remediation guidelines in a pamphlet titled “Tips from State and FEMA on Smoke Removal and Fire Cleanup”.  This guideline provides some tips on steps that should be taken.  Their course of action includes the following:

  • Pressure wash, scrub or disinfect all exterior surfaces including walls, walks, drives, decks, window and deck screens, etc.
  • Wash and disinfect all interior walls and hard surfaces with mild soap or other appropriate cleaning solutions or products, and rinse thoroughly. Don’t forget inside cabinets, drawers and closets.
  • Launder or dry clean all clothing.
  • Wash, dust or otherwise clean all household items, including knick-knacks.
  • Disinfect and deodorize all carpets, window coverings, upholstered furniture and mattresses with steam or other appropriate equipment.

Following these tips will most likely reduce the surface particulate to acceptable levels.   However, it may not reach all areas and it may not eliminate the odor.

Structural Pasteurization as Odor Remediation

The process of structural pasteurization can be used to finish the job and have odor reduced or even eliminated.  Structural pasteurization, a process used by ThermaPure® licensees, increases the temperature of a structure with the goal of reducing a targeted chemical(s) or organism to an acceptable level.  This technology has been used in mold remediation, bacterial disinfection, pest eradication and chemical reduction processes.

With regard to chemicals, the temperature in the structure is elevated to 105ᴼ-120ᴼF, increasing the vapor pressure of the various chemicals which speeds up the natural process of off-gassing.  This temperature will be maintained for varying periods of time, from hours to a few days, depending on the complexity and severity of the smoke odor.  ThermaPureHeat® is applied as an engineered process; which includes air filtration, temperature control and monitoring, and air pressure control which will provide uniform air and temperature distribution to the structure.  This allows a more rapid off-gassing of chemicals while maximizing protection to the structural components and furnishings.  Air filtration will use HEPA filters to capture much of the particulate and may use carbon filters to capture vapors.  In many situations the structure will be heated under negative pressure, allowing both ultrafine and fine particulate to be exhausted along with vapors.

Case Study – Fire in Structure with Smoke Damage Throughout

The case study project is a high-end, multi-story single family residential structure. The exterior consists of stucco/plaster over wood framing. The interior walls and ceilings are constructed of gypsum drywall and/or thin coat plaster over wood framing. The flooring is a combination of carpet, tile and wooden materials. The residence is located on a hillside with beach access in Malibu, CA.

The garage and primary entry is located at street level. The residence is approximately six stories from the entry area to the beach. The residence has approximately five levels which would be considered livable floors. The fire loss occurred in the kitchen of the residence. This area is located on the third level from the beach.

The insurance adjuster retained the services of Environmental Testing Associates (ETA), a southern California environmental consulting firm, to provide fire damage assessment and recommendations.  The purpose of the requested work was to determine the amount of char material and/or ash/fugitive dust, if any, that may have contaminated the subject property and to gather informationnecessary to assist in the planned services necessary for the successful cleaning and restorationfollowing the loss. This information would be used in conjunction with the accepted standards ofcare for treating, cleaning and the decontamination of the impacted areas.

ETA concluded that several areas had been contaminated by char materials and remediation/cleaning was necessary.  Smoke-like odors were also noted within the subject property on all floors.

ETA’s recommendations were specific to each floor and included cleaning, removal of materials that could not be cleaned, and removal of loose items and either cleaning or replacement.  An all encompassing recommendation was the use of filtration.  Here are ETA’s filtration recommendations:

All areas of the residence: HEPA filtered air filtration units should be equipped with charcoal filters. Equipment should be placed generously throughout the residence and must be allowed to run during the entire restoration process. The filters within these units should be frequently/aggressively replaced.

A local restoration company was used to provide the cleaning restoration services.  Once cleaning was completed, there was still a significant smoke odor remaining.  The homeowner’s wife was chemically sensitive and although low VOC cleaning compounds had been used, there was still a concern that any additional use of chemical cleaners may not be effective and also may be harmful to the client.  ETA recommended the use of a non-chemical remediation process, ThermaPureHeat® to complete the off-gassing of smoke-related chemicals and reduce or eliminate the odor.

A southern California based ThermaPure® licensee, was retained to provide the heat services.  Because of the magnitude of the smoke odor and the size and complexity of the structure, it was determined that the target temperature would be between 110ᴼF and 120ᴼF for a duration of 10 to 15 days.  Multiple types of heating equipment were used, dependent on access, ingress, size and complexity of the area.  Electric heaters were used in some areas, hydronic heaters with heat exchangers were used on several floors and some direct-fired propane heaters were used nearer to ground level.  In addition to heaters, fans and negative air machines (HEPA), moisture was introduced to the ambient air to reduce the potential damage effect of long term drying and also to expedite the off-gassing of the smoke related chemicals.  The air exchanges were significant with approximately 3000 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) exhausted.  Particulate that had not been accessible to hand cleaning was aerosolized and captured by the HEPA/carbon filtration, but the bulk of vapor was exhausted to the exterior.

It is extremely difficult to eliminate smoke odor, but on the final walk through the client indicated that he did not detect any odor.  This was a very successful smoke odor reduction project.  Client and adjuster were extremely satisfied with the outcome.  The alternative to this process would have been the expensive removal of many high priced decorative and structural elements.

Written by:

Larry Chase

ThermaPure, Inc.

September 21, 2015

Industry Leaders Scrutinize ThermaPure

Mold

 

In recent blog posts, restoration professionals questioned ThermaPure’s heat methods and structural pasteurization for remediating mold. Here is what industry consultants and ThermaPure replied:

Question from Amrit S: Can mold be killed with Heat?

Answer from Richard Grey: The answer is yes. I have been an indoor environmentalist for over ten years in California, Carriers welcome Pasteurization due to the fact it not only saves the build back caused by anxious gross re-mediators, but the displacement for the client is usually only one to two days when pasteurization is implemented, which is a primary concern to carriers. Exactimate now include line items for heat, which should indicate to hard core gross re-mediators there is a para-dine change taking place.

Question from Diane K: I don’t think there is a question that it kills mold, but what happens with the “dead mold” once it has been treated. If your going to remove it, then why not remove it traditionally to begin with.

Answer from Richard Grey: your answer is: the same folks that leave live spores in walls post gross remediation

Question from Blaine P: I am surprised by your stance on this subject. Are you stating dead mold killed by heat application alone is all that is necessary to achieve a successful remediation?

Larry of ThermaPure: For the past 13 years I have coached ThermaPure licensees in the application of heat for a variety of biological targets, including mold. Heat will kill mold. Heat may destroy protein based mycotoxins. Allergens are probably unaffected by temperatures that will kill mold.

Inaccessible areas are really defined by cost, not accessibility. Inaccessible areas treated with heat at appropriate temperatures will have better results than no treatment at all because the live mold will be greatly reduced.

Typically, the ThermaPure process is a part of a remediation protocol. Removal of visible mold, damaged materials, etc., should always be a part of the protocol. There really is more to the process than just the application of high temperature. Structures treated with ThermaPure are cleaner. We will pass clearances that traditional remediation may not. We are often used as a treatment of last resort, because traditional methods have failed. I could site many projects as examples of this.

Our licensees are trained in the application of heat to a structure, the protection of potentially damageable items, moisture removal, etc., as well as traditional remediation. The examples of humidity problems would not have occurred if dehumidification had been added. This should have been a part of the protocol if the moisture levels were known. I encourage you to learn more about this process and consider it as a part of your protocols. Visit the ThermaPure website www.thermapure.com.

Question from Slade S: I fail to see the beneficial use of heat then. I thought previously you stated insurance carriers like this method because it speeds up the process of remediation. If the remediation process is followed properly and materials must be removed and cleaning must be done…then how in the world does heat save time. Seems to me heat would require a significant input of energy…which is a huge cost. In fact Mr. Chase stated the following: “Structures treated with ThermaPure are cleaner.” What in the world does that even mean? How does heat clean? I think these types of statements and ideas are wildly inappropriate and factless in science.

Larry of ThermaPure: Slade, we measure “clean” a variety of ways. I had said there was more to the process than just the application of heat. To accomplish uniform heat in a structure or portion of a structure they will use a convective heating process which will greatly disturb particulate and release aerosol. With good filtration they will capture the particulate. We will produce more particulate than typical remediation methods. We can and have measured that. You may be targeting mold, but heat will kill bacteria, insects, etc. We may not actually measure that, but they will be reduced. Most insects die at temperatures less than 120F. Oftentimes, they are vectors for mold and other contaminants. Increased temperatures will increase off-gassing of VOCs and other chemicals. If they are using heat in an open system, that is using outside air as makeup, the VOCs will be reduced. Heating speeds the process of off-gassing. So maybe “clean” wasn’t as precise a word, but without getting into some of the other benefits of heating, it seemed to work. We use many words for clean, most of them have precise meanings – disinfection, sanitize, sterilize, etc. The point that I was trying to make is that the application of heat will do more than just kill mold. In fact, that is one of the benefits of the technology. Sorry for not being more clear.

The confusion regarding cost benefit is related to how we define “inaccessible”. If you were to use the technology as an added benefit because you want the space “cleaner” (sorry Slade I used it again:-), then you will have a higher cost because you have added another element. But, if you are willing, or your client is willing, to accept the risk of leaving dead material behind a wall cavity, then you can reduce cost by not removing materials that are not damaged. You would still remove visible mold and damaged materials, but you might choose to leave undamaged materials if you could at least kill the mold that was hidden. For example, an expensive kitchen with granite countertops might not need to be pulled out if it wasn’t damaged and you were comfortable with killing most of the hidden mold. We make these decisions all the time, but we label the materials left behind as “inaccessible”. Earlier I said inaccessible really is “unaffordable”. What is unaffordable to your clients? To me, that’s a good question. Does that make sense?

Question from Slade S: So I still fail to realize how the heat methods can be used as a remediation protocol. Everything you say and I read on your website, your papers, etc. talk about the methods being used to “kill” organisms…which I don’t disagree with. That method is 200 years old. It’s a disinfection type of step but the notion it should be used to replace traditional remediation and cleaning is grossly misstated.

Jared of ThermaPure: Slade, Currently some of the largest institutions in the United States are actively recommending and using Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure. The IICRC S520 references Structural Pasteurization in the mold standard. The U.S. EPA conducted a study of heat’s effect on Stachybotrys, which shows the degrading of mycotoxins (click on link to access EPA study)http://1drv.ms/1fAOQNS . Sophisticated multi- billion dollar institutions which are actively using Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure include the following: HUD (specification attached)http://1drv.ms/1LOy3Dr, The California U.C. system, the largest college education system in the world (click on link to access specification) http://1drv.ms/1GVOFCG , California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD for hospital infection control) (Contact me for a copy of the hospital case history on this project). The same consultant who specified the use of Structural Pasteurization for California Hospital work has also written mold specifications for Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure work for the United States Navy.

Dr. James Craner, Dr. Sean Abbott and David Hedman, the co-inventor of Structural Pasteurization presented a paper at the Super Storm Sandy Symposium. The real proof of Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure is that it has now been used over a decade on tens of thousands of mold projects successfully. Dr. Craner makes the point that the human organism is the best clearance protocol, and this proves Structural Pasteurization works.

We are now seeing mold drying projects cases in the United States that have either sued or threatened to sue because Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure was not used. As an environmental consultant or remediation company you have an obligation to at least offer the best technology available to your clients. According to numerous third party sources and case histories Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure dries building 40%-50% faster and costs approximately 50% less when one considers the build back costs. The bottom line is, if you do not use Structural Pasteurization in your tool bag, and actively offer it to your clients, you may be liable.

Cambridge/RxHeat Press Release Regarding ThermaPure Highly Misleading


hammer-719061_1280 (1)

For immediate release:

July 2, 2015 – The recent press release from Cambridge Engineering and RxHeat regarding the settlement with Thermapure is flat wrong; the case settled after Thermapure won two key rulings.  The parties settled the patent infringement lawsuit before trial on terms acceptable to all parties which included a confidentiality agreement not to divulge the terms. The settlement which was reached after Thermapure won its motion for reconsideration on a ruling that Cambridge Engineering and RxHeat could be liable for infringing Thermapure’s 6,327,812 patent through the sale of their Z9000 heaters.  Please see the attached (162) opinion.

Thermapure also obtained a summary judgement against Cambridge Engineering and RxHeat regarding their frivolous counterclaims.  Please see the attached order (188) from the United States District Court for The Northern District of Illinois.

Thermapure’s patents relating to the use of heat to dry or sanitize structures include:

1. Patent 6,327,812     issued December 11, 2001

Method of killing organisms and removing toxins in enclosures.

2. Patent 6,892,491 issued May 17, 2005

System and Method for Removing Harmful Biological and Organic Substances from an Enclosure.

3. Patent 7,690,148 issued April 6, 2010

Method of Treating for Pests

4. Patent 7,837,932 issued November 23, 2010

Method for removing or treating biological organisms and chemical substances.

5. Patent 8,221,678 issued July 17, 2012

System and process for removing or treating harmful biological and organic substances.

6. Patent 8,256,135 issued September 4, 2012

Method for removing or treating harmful biological and chemical substances within structures and enclosures.

7.Patent 8,272,143 issued September 25, 2012

System and process for removing or treating harmful biological and organic substances within structures and enclosures.

8. Patent 8,499,489 issued August 6, 2013

Method of killing organisms and removal of toxins in enclosures.

9. Patent 8,852,501 issued October 7, 2014

Method for removing or treating harmful biological and chemical substances within structures and enclosures

162_Memorandum Opinion

188_Minute Order

The Safe Heating of Drywall

By David Hedman and Larry Chase

ThermaPure Building

In 1917, there were three major inventions brought to market that changed the way Americans would live in their homes forever. They were the invention of gypsum boards known as drywall, the light toggle switch that allowed you to flip one switch to turn lights off and on, and … marshmallow fluff.

While the marshmallow fluff might be delicious and the light switch is convenient, the invention of drywall changed the nature and simplicity of home and office construction, allowing for the easy partitioning of rooms and privacy for the occupants.

Most jobs in which the ThermaPureHeat method is used involve structures with drywall walls. The ThermaPureHeat method heats the ambient air inside structures up to 150 degrees for several hours in order to eliminate termites and other bugs, as well as mold, mites, allergens and other airborne pathogens. In water damage restoration, the method sanitizes the structure while it dries.

Many studies conducted during recent years show that the heating does not harm the composition of drywall, which is the basic component of so many structures. Change is hard in many industries, especially when a disruptive technology such as structural heating is used. As the ThermaPureHeat method has grown in popularity, many in the restoration industry have recycled old beliefs that high temperatures damage the gypsum in drywall. Extensive studies show that permanent temperature damage to gypsum occurs only when temperatures exceed 176°F. Temperatures fluctuating between 140°F and 176°F will experience dehydrating, but the studies indicate they will be restored to ambient levels, and the quality of the drywall will not be degraded.

The following are quotes and references from scientific studies on the relationship of ThermaPure-type temperature ranges (generally, 105°F to 150°F) and gypsum board:

  • “Calcination is a chemical and physical change in the nature of common GWB produced by heating to temperatures in excess of 80°C (176°F).” (Kennedy 2003)
  • “Gypsum board, depending on ambient air humidity, either gains or loses free water when continuously exposed to 140°F, and may be stable to occasional short exposures at much higher temperatures.” (Meyer 1982)
  • “The mass loss remains almost unchanged up to 100°C (212°F). Between 100°C (212°F) and 160°C (320°F), the mass loss of the different boards decreases between 15 percent and 17 percent as moisture is driven off. These results are reasonable as gypsum with no additives contains about 21 percent by mass of water.” (Benichou 2001)
  • “In a separate experiment, paperless wall board was exposed approximately four hours to a cool/sooty fire as a ‘ceiling’; the maximum temperature of the exposed surface was approximately 66°C (150°F). Hemp, polyurethane foam and asphalt paper were used as the fuel to produce the smoke … No dehydration of the wallboard occurred in this exposure.” (Mann 2009)

The warranties of several drywall manufacturers also bear out the evidence that the ThermaPureHeat method does not damage sheetrock. The warranty sheets warn against “continuous exposure” to high temperatures or high humidity.

The verbiage in the warranties implies some discretion. The warranties use language such as “exposed to sustained temperatures,” “for extended periods” and “prolonged exposure.” Elevated ThermaPure temperatures are typically used for only several hours and likely would not qualify as extended periods or prolonged exposure.

Some may believe that you cannot use air temperatures over 104°F to 125°F when drying gypsum. This would not only be impossible, but the impact on many industries, not just restoration, would be significant. Gypsum board will exceed both of these temperatures in many normally occurring situations. For example, here are a few instances where these temperatures are exceeded:

  • Transportation – Trailers, rail cars and pods in transit will exceed these temperatures. A 2001 study by the International Safe Transit Association measured trailer temperatures in excess of 140°F.
  • Storage – Many outdoor storage areas in the south or southwest will exceed 104°F during summer months as outdoor air temperatures exceed this regularly. Storage in facilities without air conditioning commonly exceeds these temperatures. Roof temperatures in a simulated structure in Madison, Wisconsin reached 168°F in a study by the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, resulting in a space temperature over 120°F (Winandy 1995).
  • Installation – During summer months in the southwest, drywall is installed before the air conditioning or ceiling insulation. This is normal building practice, and drywall temperatures regularly exceed 120°F in this scenario. Phoenix experienced 33 days in 2011 of outside temperatures in excess of 110°F.
  • After installation – Drywall installed in garages or other unconditioned areas will far exceed 104°F. In some areas, such as Arizona, outside temperatures will exceed 110°F for lengthy periods of time and can reach extreme temperatures over 150°F in unconditioned spaces. It is common in some southwest states not to have insulation in garage ceilings (with no livable space built over), leaving this drywall directly exposed to the high attic temperatures. Temperatures in unconditioned attics may approach 200°F during summer months in the southwest.

A number of studies validate the idea that ThermaPureHeat does not damage sheetrock. For copies of these specific studies, contact Jared Perez at 800-375-7786 or jperez@thermapure.com.

In addition to the use of nine U.S. patents, the ThermaPure licensees receive extensive training on the safe heating of building materials. The training program uses a 300-page training manual and a test flood house for real-time experience.

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

ThermaPure Brings the Ultimate Safe Harbor: Restoration Made Easier, More Effective

Restoration professionals explain how ThermaPure’s heat method benefits their companies.

C&R January 2015 ThermaPure

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

Everyone has heard the theatrical maxim: The show must go on. But what if the actors, stagehands and musicians are ready, but the production office beneath the stage flooded 36 hours before the scheduled show?

That’s what happened at a stage show in Orange County, California, in April 2013. Operators managed to dry the production office completely, kill the mycobacterial residue and eliminate odor prior to the show, thanks, in large part, to the ThermaPure Heat method.

The method has been growing in popularity in the restoration industry. Firms that previously used only the wire brush and scrape or replace methods now have another choice: ThermaPure Heat.  It essentially pasteurizes a space by heating the area to a lethal temperature, up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature reaches that point, the structure is dried and bugs and bacteria are killed.

“It’s great,” says Fred Ananian, owner of Coast Risk Management based in California. “This gives me a tool in the bag for restoration work that I never had before.” The heat method reduces the time spent in restorative processes by half and often reduces the cost by well more than that. Ananian faced a job in an engineering firm’s office space that was flooded on a Tuesday. He started the job Wednesday and finished clean-up on Saturday. “After that project, I got a call from the insurance adjuster who said, ‘Fred, you didn’t charge me enough because you saved me about $120,000 in reconstruction costs.’”

Bill Weber is one of the pioneers of mold remediation; he has been at it since 1998. “I was skeptical about this, but the result was good,” says the regional manager for the Anderson Group in Northern California and a leader at DKI, the largest restoration contracting organization in North America. Weber tells the story of a long-term roof leak into a one-bedroom apartment on the sixth floor of an apartment complex that had created a large water problem. “Typically I follow all the IICRC  standards: sanding, wire brushing and so on. In this case, Jared [Perez of ThermaPure] challenged me to do the gross removal and then heat it up. The process took one day for the heating and two days for the removal. We had a post- remediation verification, and it came up clean.”

Rich Wasvary has used ThermaPure Heat more than 1,500 times for his clients in the New York and New Jersey area. That region has been hit with hurricanes and storms that have changed the nature of the aquifers and landscape. These changes have caused thousands of homes and offices to flood.

“The difference with ThermaPure is that you are cleaning the actual structure, even in places that you cannot see,” he says.

He faced particular challenges after Superstorm Sandy hit the New Jersey coast in 2012. “There was a time demand on those jobs. The owners wanted to get the properties ready for rental in the next season.” If the company was forced to do major deconstruction and reconstruction, the properties would not be ready, and the owners would lose rental income. ThermaPure helped dry the structures and reduce the amount of construction time needed.

John Nelson, project manager for Alliance Environmental Group, Inc., says about 60 percent of his firm’s restoration work in California and Arizona relates to flooded crawl spaces. “We are talking about areas that have been completely saturated with water. Areas that have inches or feet of water in the crawl space. Our restoration clients extract the free water, and they have no efficient way to dry the crawl space. We are able to use elevated temperature for three or four days to dry the crawl space and dry the framing. We are able to increase the temp to kill any mycobacterial. Any sewage loss? We would kill that.”

Nelson says that the process has additional tangential benefits: It kills odor and small bugs. Traditionally, contractors use ozone or a fogging method to mask the odor.  “It didn’t reduce it – just got it to an acceptable level,” Nelson says. “But with this method, we are able to heat the area, and then use air movers to move air flow through the area and actually remove the cause of the odor.”

Ananian has been an early adapter of ThermaPure Heat, and it has created a reputation and a business advantage for him in the high-income area of Orange County where he operates, he says.

“We had a high-end  customer who had moisture trapped under the marble he had just laid. The marble was sitting on top of about a three-quarter-inch mud pack and the contractor had sealed the slab. No matter what they tried, they had floor efflorescence,” says Ananian. “We used ThermaPure to heat the area and dry out the moisture. Problem solved.” Another home had water damage and $200,000 worth of murals painted on the walls. Ananian’s team was able to dry the area without removing and destroying any of the murals.

John Martin, president and owner of Certified Disaster Cleaning and Mitigation based in Salinas, California, says homeowners and insurance companies are fans of the heat method because of what they don’t have to do.

“A typical case for us is a leak behind a dishwasher,” Martin says. Repairing the damage can be costly and difficult without using heat. “We would have to pull it out of there and, depending on the extent of the damage, rip out dry wall and cabinets and granite countertops. And you know that can run $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000,” he adds. Using ThermaPure Heat allows contractors to leave drywall intact, for the most part. “The homeowners are happy and the insurance companies are even happier,” he says.

ThermaPure Heat is being used in restoration projects such as:

◾   After-water damage in a residential structure, particularly in structures in which the crawl space has been flooded.

◾   Crime scene clean-up. One firm is using ThermaPure Heat to clean up the sites of homicides or former methamphetamine laboratories

◾  Disaster clean-up. One ThermaPure Heat licensee in New York relied on the method extensively after Superstorm Sandy.

◾   Removal of odors. Anything from a kitchen fire odor to a heavy stench of cigarette smoke can be taken care of.

◾   Floor efflorescence in a basement or under a finished floor.

◾   Leaks in confined spaces.

◾   Structural pasteurization and rodent removal/decontamination.

By Tim Gallagher and David Hedman

Thermapure’s Infringement Claims Against RXHeat and Cambridge Engineering are Reinstated

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer issued an Order January 7, 2015 reinstating Thermapure’s patent infringement claims against Cambridge Engineering and RXHeat.  The claims were originally dismissed on summary judgment, but after a motion for reconsideration, Judge Pallmeyer determined that Cambridge and RXHeat were not in fact entitled to summary judgment. Attached is Judge Pallmeyer’s Order.

Order Reinstating ThermaPure Case