Tag Archives: thermapureheat

How to Safely Heat Treat for Bedbugs, Termites, etc.

ThermaPure® Overview of Heat Illness Prevention Programs[i]

ThermaPure Heat Problems

Heat Illness Prevention

The application of high temperature to a structure is currently being applied by a variety of different contractors, including restoration, pest control, environmental remediation and IAQ. These are industries that use process(es) to significantly increase the temperature in a target area. These contractors need to be concerned over the well being of their workers and workers need to be concerned with their health. Indoor heat is a potential worker hazard. It is important that these businesses have a Heat Illness Prevention program is in place.

Indoor Heat – A Potential Worker Hazard

Humidity increases the risk to worker health and safety. When performing pest treatments or while killing microbes if the substrates are dry the relative humidity in the work area will be low.  But as you begin to dry a wet building the relative humidity will increase in the work area and potentially cause a more dangerous environment for the workers.

In 2005 the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigated[ii] twenty-five cases of heat related illnesses that occurred between May and November of that year.  The cases investigated involved only men employed in various industries including agriculture, construction, transportation, service and public safety.  Over two-thirds of the individuals spoke Spanish as their primary language.  Most of the incidences occurred outdoors, although one involved indoor-only work.  The work performed was described as moderate in regard to degree of strain required to complete the tasks.  These 25 incidences resulted in 13 deaths and 9 hospitalizations greater than 24 hours, some for significantly longer times.

Heat Illness Prevention Standard – CA Title 8 §3395.

As a result of their investigation, on June 15, 2005 the State of California enacted a Standard[iii] proposed and developed by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for Heat Illness Prevention. This Standard was developed with a conviction that the best defense against heat-related illnesses and fatalities is through prevention.  The Standard was developed primarily out of response to heat related injuries in outdoor work settings.

Revisions to CA Standard– 2015

On May 14, 2015 Title 8 §3395, Heat Illness Prevention Standard was revised with new and additional information and procedural requirements. In the revised standard Heat Illness is defined as: a serious medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with a particular heat load, and includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat stroke.

California Standard Includes “Indoor Heat”

A November 2, 2015 News Release[iv] from the CA Department of Industrial Relations announced that “Cal/OSHA Wins Unprecedented Decision in Case Protecting Workers from Indoor Heat. In this decision, the ruling affirmed that California’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) can be used “to address hazards that the standard does not specifically identify, including indoor heat.”

ThermaPure® Encourages Adopting a Heat Illness Prevention Program

Companies that deploy high temperatures in or to a structure should familiarize themselves with the requirements of the California Standard.  ThermaPure® encourages this. If not, the OSHA “General Duty Clause” and Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and any other appropriate guidelines should be followed.  OSHA does not have a specific guidelines section for heat illness, but does have a webpage addressing the issue.[v]However, the Cal/OSHA Standard is reflective of a higher standard of care for Heat Illness Prevention and ThermaPure® recommends that it be considered as a best practice. For California licensees it is necessary that a Heat Illness Prevention Program is included as a part of the Illness and Injury Prevention Program. For licensees outside of California, this is the only specific heat illness prevention program available.

Heat Illness Prevention – Cal-OSHA – 2016

The following sections are taken verbatim from the Heat Illness Prevention e-tool from the California Department of Industrial Relations Cal-OSHA website.[vi] Some of the copied sections have comments added by ThermaPure for clarification primarily regarding the ThermaPure process:

  • Heat Illness – “More to the Story”,
  • Types of Heat Illness and Common Signs/Symptoms,
  • What Causes Heat Illness,
  • Loss of Heat Balance, and
  • Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness

Heat Illness – “More to the Story”

What Happens to the Body

Human beings need to maintain their internal body temperature within a very narrow range of a few degrees above or below 98.6 °F. People suffer from heat illness when their bodies are not able to get rid of excess heat and properly cool. The body losses it’s “heat balance” because it cannot shed heat at a fast enough rate.

When the body starts to overheat the blood vessels get bigger and the heart beats faster and harder. More blood flows to the outer layers of the skin from the internal “core” so that the heat can be released into the cooler outside environment. If this process does not cool the body fast enough, or the outside air is warmer than the skin, the brain triggers sweating to cool the body. Sweat glands in the skin draw water from the bloodstream making sweat. The sweat evaporates and releases the heat from the body. During an hour of heavy work in hot weather, the body can easily sweat out one quart of water.

Shifting blood to outer body layers (the “shell”) causes less blood to go to the brain, muscles, and other organs (the “core”). Prolonged sweating can deplete the body of water and salt causing dehydration. Because the body looses water and the salts that are needed for the muscles to work, muscle cramping may occur. The physiological strain on the body from heat illness may cause the person to become dehydrated, weak, tired, and confused.

As dehydration gets worse the body can no longer keep its temperature within the normal range, sweating stops and severe heat illness occurs. In heatstroke, the person’s body temperature rises rapidly damaging the brain, muscles and vital organs causing death.

Rapid Onset

Heat illness can develop very rapidly and is not always obvious before it becomes life-threatening. During high heat, heat illness can develop faster and even employees who have been doing their job for sometime are a risk.

 

Variability in Symptom Recognition and Reporting

The symptoms of heat illness may vary between individuals. Also, employees may not accurately recognize and report the symptoms. As a result victims may be placed at a greater health risk. A person certified to provide first aid should be available at the work site to initially evaluate potential heat illness victims. See Emergency Response Procedures

Victims of heat illness may not report the full range of symptoms they are feeling because they:

·                     Choose not to for fear of negative consequences

·                     Deny that the symptoms may be serious

·                     Have not been trained to identify the symptoms of heat illness

·                     Are not physically able to report (e.g., they may have fainted)

·                     Are not fully aware of what is happening to their bodies (e.g., they may be delirious or mentally confused)

Types of Heat Illness and Common Signs/Symptoms

Heat illness affects the body, causing employees with mild symptoms to experience weakness, tiredness, and mental confusion, or even exhibit irritable or erratic behavior. Heat illness can also affect employees work performance and increase their risk of having accidents.

Employees should be encouraged never to discount any discomfort or symptoms they are experiencing when working in heat, after work or before the next workday. Heat illness symptoms can occur even after work has stopped. They should immediately report any problems they are experiencing to a supervisor and coworker, or a family member to seek prompt medical attention. Employees and supervisors must be fully trained on the prevention of heat illness before they are assigned to work in locations where they are at risk for heat illness.

 

Heat illness can be one or more of the following medical conditions including: heat rash, heat cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. The following symptoms are commonly associated with the different heat illness medical conditions. Given the variability in recognition and reporting of heat illness symptoms, the information listed below should be used only as a general guideline to train employees and supervisors.

Heat Rash (Prickly Heat) – Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating and clogged pores during hot, humid weather.

General Symptoms:

  • Can cover large parts of the body
  • Looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters
  • Often occurs on the neck, chest, groin, under the breasts, or in elbow creases
  • Uncomfortable so it can disrupt sleep and work performance
  • Complicated by infections

Heat Cramps – Heat cramps affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous work activity. Sweating makes the body loose salts and fluids and minerals. If only the fluids are replaced and not the salts and minerals painful muscles cramps may result.

General Symptom:

  • Painful muscle spasms in the stomach, arms, legs, and other body parts may occur after work or at night

Fainting (Heat Syncope) – Employees who stand for long periods or suddenly get up from a sitting or lying position when working in the heat may experience sudden dizziness and fainting. In both cases, the fainting is caused by a lack of adequate blood supply to the brain. Dehydration and lack of acclimatization to work in warm or hot environments can increase the susceptibility to fainting. Victims normally recover consciousness rapidly after they faint.

General Symptoms:

  • Sudden dizziness
  • light-headedness
  • unconsciousness

Heat Exhaustion – Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and the salt contained in sweat.

 

Cool skin temperature is not a valid indicator of a normal body temperature. Although the skin feels cool the internal body temperature may be dangerously high and a serious medical condition may exist.

General Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Painful muscle cramps
  • Extreme weakness and/or fatigue
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dizziness and/or headache
  • Body temperature normal or slightly high
  • Fainting
  • Pulse fast and weak
  • Breathing fast and shallow
  • Clammy, pale, cool, and/or moist skin

 

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is usually fatal unless emergency medical treatment is provided promptly.

General Symptoms:

  • No sweating because the body cannot release heat or cool down
  • Mental confusion, delirium, convulsions, dizziness
  • Hot and dry skin (e.g., red, bluish, or mottled)
  • Muscles may twitch uncontrollably
  • Pulse can be rapid and weak
  • Throbbing headache, shallow breathing, seizures and/or fits
  • Unconsciousness and coma
  • Body temperature may range from 102 – 104 °F or higher within 10-15 minutes

If the muscles begin to twitch uncontrollably, keep the person from self-injury. Do not place any objects in the mouth.

Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until emergency medical treatment is provided to the victim.

What causes Heat Illness?

The following is taken from the Cal/OSHA website:

T8CCR 3395 (b) Definitions states the following:

“Environmental risk factors for heat illness” means working conditions that create the possibility that heat illness could occur, including:

  • Air temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Radiant heat from the sun and other sources
  • Conductive heat sources such as the ground
  • Air movement
  • Workload severity and duration
  • Protective clothing and personal protective equipment worn by employees

“Personal risk factors for heat illness” means factors such as:

  • Water consumption
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Degree of acclimatization
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Use of prescription medications that affect the body’s water retention or other physiological responses to heat.
  • An individual’s age
  • Health

More on what causes Heat Illness:

Loss of Heat Balance

Heat illness results when the body is out of heat balance. Heat balance means that the heat the body produces equals the heat it looses. When the body is out of Heat balance it produces and retains more heat than it looses causing heat illness.

Sources of Body Heat

Heat building-up inside the body from moving muscles during physical work activities is the major source of heat build-up in the body. About 75% of the stored energy the body uses to do physical work is converted into heat. Only about 25% of the energy is converted into the movements required to perform work. The more strenuous the physical activity, the more internal heat the body produces. Performing physical work activities when risk factors for heat illness are present increases the internal heat the body produces.

Added to this internal heat is the external heat load on the body which comes from working where environmental risk factors (e.g., hot air, direct sunlight or lack of effective shading) are present. A major danger from warm and hot weather, high relative humidity and lack of air movement is that these factors greatly slow the body’s natural processes of releasing heat to the surrounding environment. All of these and other risk factors can increase the risk of heat illness.

Body Heat – Losses and Gains

The body looses and gains heat in various ways. These include:

  • Evaporation– the loss of heat through sweating. This is a major way the body loses heat. High relative humidity reduces this heat loss and thus reduces the body’s main cooling mechanism. Therefore, during periods of high relative humidity (such as in a water restoration application) there is a greater risk of developing Heat Illness. An indication of how relative humidity affects the risk of developing Heat Illness is called a Heat Index Value. Heat Index Values or Apparent Temperatures, are given in degrees Fahrenheit and measure how hot it really feels when relative humidity and air temperatures are both considered.
  • Radiation– the transfer of heat through space. The body loses or radiates heat to surrounding surfaces if the body is hotter than these surfaces. The body can gain heat from these surfaces if they are hotter than the body.
  • Convection– the transfer of heat in a moving fluid like air. Air flowing past the body can cool the body if the air temperature is cooler than about 95 °F. The body can gain heat through convection if the air is hotter than about 95 °F.
  • Conduction– the transfer of heat between surfaces touching each other. The body can loose heat directly through the skin if surfaces it touches (e.g., clothes, chairs, floors) are cooler than the skin. The body can gain heat through conduction if the surfaces it touches are hotter than the skin.
  • Inhalation/Exhalation– the loss of heat from warming and wetting of the air by breathing in and out. Accounts for about 10% of the body’s heat loss.
  • Heat Storage– some heat is lost through storage in the body.
  • Excretion– excretion of urine and feces accounts for about 3% of the body’s heat loss.

Risk Factors

Heat build-up inside the body from physical work activities is the major source of heat load. In combination with this, working where the environmental and personal risk factors listed above are present, creates an even greater possibility that heat illness could occur.

Cal/OSHA investigations (Study 2) showed that in 2006 heat illness cases occurred in temperatures as low as 80 °F.

Environmental risk factors can increase the external heat load on the body. Personal risk factors may increase an individual’s susceptibility to developing heat illness. For example, not drinking enough water or drinking alcohol can both cause dehydration. Other personal risk factors which may increase the risk of heat illness include previous heat illness, excessive weight of the person, and poor levels of fitness. They can also affect an individual’s ability to acclimatize or adapt to working in hot or warm conditions.

More on Environmental Risk Factors

Heat build-up inside the body from physical work activities is the major source of heat load on the body. During a high heat period, the external heat load on the body from working in extremely hot temperatures is much greater. Also, if it does not cool down at night the heat load in the body continues to build up and the body never has a chance to cool down. This is especially true for employees who do not have access to air conditioned environments or other ways to cool down and rest in the evening. In addition, if there is humidity sweat does not readily evaporate off the skin. This greatly slows the body’s natural processes of releasing heat to the surrounding environment causing the body to quickly overheat. These cumulative effects of high heat can occur over one or more days causing employees to return to work with increased risks of developing heat illness.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – The more the body is covered with materials which limit cooling, the greater the potential risk for heat illness. Wearing PPE which covers the body or face, limits air movement and the cooling effects of sweating. This results in the greatly reduced release of heat from the body to the surrounding environment and an increased heat load on the body. These factors make work tasks harder.

The type and level of PPE worn and the nature and duration of the work tasks, are the main factors which determine employee’s additional risk of heat illness from PPE. The types of PPE employees are required to wear can vary widely depending on their work tasks and exposures. PPE worn can range from hard hats, gloves or boots all the way up to a fully encapsulating chemical protective suit and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).

Inappropriate Work Clothing – In warm or hot work environments, or where other environmental risk factors are present, wearing inappropriate work clothing (e.g., dark colored or tight fitting clothing), can increase the risk of heat illness. Under these conditions wearing appropriate work clothing can protect against the sun and other risk factors.

 

More on Personal Risk Factors

Not Drinking Enough Water – In warm or hot conditions, drinking enough water (one quart per hour during the entire work shift) to stay healthy is vital for maintaining a normal body temperature. When working in these conditions the body looses a lot of water through sweating. Sweating helps lower the internal body heat but as the body continues to loose water it needs to be replaced to prevent dehydration and heat illness. Dehydration results in less perspiration so the body cannot get rid of heat fast enough causing increased heat load. Without sufficient water the body overheats.

Dehydration

Remind employees not to wait until they are thirsty to drink water. Being thirsty is not a good signal of the body’s need for water. By the time a person is thirsty they may have already lost too much water and their work performance has already declined. Employees should be encouraged to drink water frequently before and after work. Common symptoms of moderate to severe dehydration to make employees aware of and to have them check for include:

·                     Dark yellow or brown urine

·                     Reduced output of urine

·                     Rapid heart rate, muscle fatigue

·                     Loss of strength and dexterity

·                     Lightheadedness, dizziness

·                     Headache, blurred vision

Note: Drinking sufficient amounts of water allows for light or “straw” colored urine

 

Alcohol consumption

It is important to avoid drinking alcohol altogether. This is because alcohol increases dehydration and the body’s requirements for water. Sweating can cause the body to loose large amount of water. As the body becomes dehydrated more water is required to replace bodily fluids. Dehydration increases a person’s susceptibility to heat illness and deteriorates their work performance. Therefore, it is important for employees working in warm or hot environments to drink sufficient amounts of water and avoid drinking any alcohol beverages.

 

Lack of Acclimatization – In general, individuals are more susceptible to heat illness until their bodies have had time to adjust. Adjusting to working in the heat is called acclimatization.

Individual differences

Acclimatization is important for all employees working in warm or hot temperatures or where other risk factors for heat illness are present. However, in any large group of workers, remember that there are wide differences in the ability of individuals to adapt to the heat. These differences in individuals cannot be accurately predicted prior to exposure to warm or hot conditions. For these reasons even some acclimatized individuals may still develop heat illness given the temperatures and other risk factors present at a particular worksite at a given time.

 

Changes in work activities, locations or conditions

Even employees who were previously fully acclimatized may still be susceptible to heat illness and need further acclimatization when workplace conditions change. Such changes include:

·                     More physically demanding work tasks

·                     Working with required respiratory or personal protective equipment which reduce heat loss from the body

·                     Work locations with hotter temperatures

·                     High heat

Caffeine, Carbonated Sodas, Sports Drinks and Other Beverages – Sodas and drinks containing caffeine and sugar may increase dehydration. Therefore it is important to encourage employees to choose water over these types of drinks. Also, if employees choose these other drinks they may drink less water.

Note: The cautious use of sports drinks may be appropriate in the treatment of certain heat illnesses (e.g., heat cramps) but employees need to consult with their health care provider first.

Medications and Drugs – Certain “over-the-counter” medicines, prescription medicines, and other drugs may increase the risk for heat illness and other serious medical conditions. These substances may alter the body’s ability to deal with heat and reduce the individual’s awareness of the symptoms of heat illness. Because of this it is important:

  • For employees to consult with their health care provider and inform them that they will be working in warm or hot conditions, before taking any prescription, “over-the-counter” medications or other drugs
  • To only take these medications or other drugs under the advice of their doctor

Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness

Preventing heat illness protects your workers and is good business. Health and safety problems and other health problems like heart attacks and falls, may result from heat illness at the workplace. Heat illness may increase the costs of doing business by:

  • Reducing employee productivity and efficiency
  • Increasing your medical and emergency services costs
  • Taking up supervisory and administrative time
  • Increasing workers’ compensation premiums

Effective communication and the 10 elements listed below are keys to an effective program for preventing and responding to Heat Illness in your workplace.

California employers are required to take these four steps to prevent heat illness:

Training

  • Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.

Water

  • Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour, or four 8 ounce glasses, of water per hour, andencourage them to do so.

Shade

  • Provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes.They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down. (ThermaPure note: Because a ThermaPureHeat project is indoors, a cool-down location is analogous to “shade”).

Planning

Cal/OSHA investigations showed that in 80% of the cases in which suspected heat illness occurred, the employer did not have a heat illness prevention program. Not having such a program caused harms including fatalities, serious injuries etc. The Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention regulation requires employer’s procedures to be in writing, and to be made available to employees and representatives of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) upon request.

These written procedures must include:

  • Complying with the requirements of the standardT8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(B)
  • Responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessaryT8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(G)
  • Contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service providerT8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(H)
  • Ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, clear and precise directions to the work site can and will be provided as needed to emergency responders. These procedures shall include designating a person to be available to ensure that emergency procedures are invoked when appropriate.T8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(I)

As a general rule ThermaPure recommends that no one stay in a treated building during the heating process for more than 20 minutes.  Even if you do go inside be sure the other person onsite knows where in the structure you are going and if possible always have a “buddy” as you enter buildings that are being heated.  This recommendation applies to workers, property owners, tenants and the like who might be participating, in some form or another, in a ThermaPureHeat® treatment.

The Buddy System

As was previously mentioned, the “Buddy System” is recommended. When your technician team is performing a ThermaPureHeat® treatment and a worker goes into the treatment area make sure that the technician is either with somebody, or has contact via a mobile radio or cell phone with another person who is outside the treatment area. At the very least, make sure that the person entering the treatment informs a co-worker what he/she is doing and where he/she is going to be working inside the project.  Think of what happened to the worker who was immobilized by cramping. If he were in the treatment area by himself and had fainted, he probably would not have been discovered until 30 minutes later when workers were going back inside to check the temperatures and the moisture levels.

Cal/OSHA Employer Sample Procedures for Heat Illness Prevention, Title 8 §3395

As a major component of Title 8 CCR §3395, Heat Illness Prevention Standard, Cal/OSHA stresses prevention as the primary tool to fight heat illness.  The Standard specifically states that California employers with any outdoor places of employment must comply with Title 8 CCR §3395, the Heat Illness Prevention Standard.  To assist employers in the development of a program to implement the Standard, Cal/OSHA developed a sample procedure[vii] as a tool.

In this sample procedure Cal/OSHA states that the procedure provides minimal steps for application in most outdoor work settings.  They further state that “in working environments with a higher risk for heat illness (e.g., during a heat wave, or other severe working or environmental conditions), it is the employer’s duty to exercise greater caution and additional protective measures beyond what is listed in this document, as needed to protect their employers.”  ThermaPure® has interpreted this statement to encompass California workers employed by E-Therm and TPE licensees to deploy the ThermaPureHeat® process. This interpretation has been confirmed in California by a 2015 court ruling in which Cal/OSHA won an unprecedented decision in a case protecting workers from Indoor Heat. In this press release, Juliann Sum, Chief of Cal/OSHA stated: “California is the only state with an outdoor Heat Illness Prevention standard. Now all workers, including those who work indoors like warehouse workers, are protected from the hazard of heat.”

It is important to understand that Cal/OSHA does not intend for these procedures to supersede or replace the application of any other Title 8 regulation, particularly Title 8 CCR §3203, Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).  The Heat Illness Prevention Program may be incorporated into the Employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program.  Although this standard is specific to California employers, E-Therm and TPE recommend all licensees develop a similar program for incorporation into their Illness and Injury Prevention Program or Safety and Health Program.

Applicable Regulations or Standards

  • 29 CFR 1910 – General Industry Standards
  • 29 CFR 1926 – Construction Industry Standards
  • OSHA Technical Manual (OTM) TED 1-0.15A, Chapter 4 – Heat Stress
  • Title 8 CCR §3395 – Heat Illness Prevention Standard
  • Title 8 CCR §3203 – Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)

[i] ThermaPure® Heat Technician Training Manual, 2016.

[ii] “Cal-OSHA Investigation of Heat Related Illnesses”, State of California Memorandum, February 17, 2006, https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/heatillnessinvestigations-2005.pdf.

[iii] California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Subchapter 7, General Industry Safety Orders Group 2, Safe Practices and Personal Protection, Article 10. Personal Safety Devices and Safeguards §3395. Heat Illness Prevention.

[iv] “Cal/OSHA Wins Unprecedented Decision in Case Protecting Workers from Indoor Heat” Department of Industrial Relations, State of California, News Release No.: 2015-101, November 2, 2015.

[v] “Water. Rest. Shade. The Work Can’t Get Done Without Them”, July 27, 2016, United States Department of Labor, OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html?utm_source=Twitter.

[vi] “Heat Illness Prevention etool”, California Department of Industrial Relations, Cal-OSHA division, Jul 27, 2016, http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/08-006/index.htm.

[vii] “Employer Sample Procedures for Heat Illness Prevention,” California Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA, May 2015.

STEFANY HEDMAN WESTENSKOW ASSUMES PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE POSITIONS AT THERMAPURE AND ITS LICENSING COMPANIES

New CEO Succeeds her Father, David Hedman, the Companies’ Late Founder, President and CEO

VENTURA, Calif., June 8 – The ThermaPure companies announced today that Stefany Hedman Westenskow has assumed the role of president and chief executive officer of E-Therm, Inc, and TPE Associates, LLC, the licensing companies for ThermaPureHeat®. Westenskow succeeds her father, David Hedman, who passed away peacefully at home on May 13 after battling cancer for several months. Age 59, Hedman was founder, president and CEO of the ThermaPure family of companies – Precision Environmental, PrecisionWorks, E-Therm, TPE and ThermaPure – and made remarkable contributions to the pest control and restoration industries by developing Thermapure’s structural pasteurization process of sterilizing structures using clean, hot air.

“Our family and all of us at ThermaPure are deeply saddened to share the news of my father’s passing,” stated Westenskow. “He leaves behind an important legacy of leadership, dedication to service, family and faith.” David Hedman also leaves behind substantial intellectual property; his patented processes prevented hundreds of thousands of pounds of deadly toxins from polluting the environment.
Hedman’s Legacy
Mr. Hedman’s passion as an inventor and entrepreneur began when studying engineering and economics at Stanford University. He started the first of a series of companies out of a desire to reduce environmental hazards in residential and commercial structures without using toxic chemicals. In the 1990s, he began developing ThermaPureHeat®, the now patented technology that is the application of clean, dry, hot air instead of dangerous and deadly chemicals to a structure to reduce or eliminate environmental contaminants. Nearly 30 years later, Hedman’s invention is the leading technology in removing environmental hazards from homes and workplaces, with numerous patents and trademarks.

New Leadership
Stefany Hedman Westenskow has been part of the ThermaPure companies’ leadership since 2007 and worked closely with her father on all management and operations issues at the companies while also overseeing the legal department for three years beginning in 2013. Maintaining the current, capable team, Westenskow plans to grow the ThermaPure brand with a renewed mission to protect and pursue innovative and environmentally sound solutions for pest and restoration issues. In an internal statement, Westenskow committed to honoring Stedman’s memory by “continuing the work he believed in so deeply and protecting what he worked so hard to achieve.” She pledged to run the companies as usual and as her father founded them, “with a stalwart and dedicated focus on innovation, environmental consciousness, teamwork, honesty, and smart and ethical business practices.”

Memorial Service
A memorial service to honor Mr. Hedman’s life was held in May. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a special fund set up by the Boy Scouts of America:
Hedman Philanthropic Fund
1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas 75038

About ThermaPure
ThermaPureHeat® is a patented technology that has revolutionized the pest control and restoration industries through the controlled application of sauna like temperatures to a structure or portion of a structure with a strong emphasis on simultaneous filtration to reduce the potential for spreading contaminants. It has been proven in tens of thousands of applications to be an effective treatment for wood-destroying organisms, bed bugs, mold, bacteria and viruses without the use of toxic chemicals.
ThermaPure’s intellectual property includes several patents and trademarks. Additional companies in the ThermaPure family include Precision Environmental, Inc., an environmental remediation services and operating company; PrecisionWorks; E-Therm, Inc., a licensing company; and TPE Associates, LLC, a pest services licensing company. With headquarters in Ventura, California, the mission of these companies is to reduce humanity’s exposure to lethal chemicals and carcinogenic substances, to improve the quality of life for asthma sufferers, and to provide living and working conditions that have less exposure to dangerous mold, bacteria, viruses and chemicals.

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.

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

Can ThermaPure’s Heat Levels Damage Drywall/Gypsum?

 

IMG_1145

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