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Structural Drying

Drying With Heat

The past several years have lead to a new method of drying . Although desiccant and refrigerant drying are probably the practiced and most known methods of drying, heat drying is becoming a new favorite. The use of convective heat has been shown to be the most effective drying process under many sets of drying circumstances.

Although it is technically not correct to call heat drying “new” as it is a practice that we use in our everyday lives and have for some time. For example, fabrics dry rapidly when placed in a revolving heat drum with air movement. We call this heat drum a “clothes drier”. The fabrics are exposed to air movement and heat and the moisture are evaporated from the material and removed from the drum. As long as the evaporated moisture is removed, the fabrics will dry. Applying high temperatures to a wet structure is not as simple, but the concept is the same.

Benefits of Drying With Heat

The benefits of heat drying are many. In a March 2006 article in Indoor Environment Connections, the following benefits to heat drying were listed.

  • It provides a faster and more efficient drying process to carpet, drywall, acoustic ceilings and insulation.
  • It provides a more thorough and complete drying process through which building materials are restorable.
  • It reduces business-loss interruption so tenants can reoccupy the building faster.
  • It decreases the drying time of large open-air spaces and vaulted ceilings.
  • It reduces secondary damage where building swelling and hardwood floors are not disposed.
  • It stops potentially harmful microbial growth that amplifies in the presence of moisture.
  • It increases building wellness because thorough heat drying procedures are able to benefit the wet building immediately.
  • It returns the building to its pre-loss moisture equilibrium at a faster rate.

Structural Pasteurization

Pasteurize Your Building With Heat

ThermaPureHeat does many things, but one important process is that it applies the theories of pasteurization to structures. Pasteurization dates back to the 1800s with the concepts applied by Louis Pasteur. Pasteur determined that by heating food products to a temperature of about 60ºC (140ºF) for a few minutes, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, molds and yeasts in the food would be reduced to levels that would no longer cause spoilage to the food or be harmful to the health of the consumer. Pasteurization improved shelf-life of food products and more importantly, provided reduced levels of contamination allowing for safe consumption without damaging the food product. Today, ThermaPureHeat uses the same principles for buildings. 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 organisms to acceptable levels while minimizing damage to the structure. This is the basis for ThermaPureHeat.

Sewage

Sewage leaks can be a major health hazard to anyone occupying a building. The pathogens left behind from a sewage spill include Salmonellae, Shigellae, enteric viruses, E. coli, Hookworm eggs, and Roundworm eggs. The ThermaPureHeat process can be used to kill many of the pathogens found in sewage.

The table below shows the pathogen and the lethal temperatures to kill them.

Kill bacteria With Heat

Common indicators of the presence of these organisms in sewage are the presence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and the fecal streptococcus group. E. coli are aerobic bacteria that can be found in the feces, colon, or gut of warm-blooded animals. It is contracted by coming into contact with objects or substances that have come been contaminated by the fecal material of man or animals. The fecal material can come from the runoff of a dead animal upstream, cattle, spills, or raw sewage overflow. There have also been cases of airborne transmission reported.

The ThermaPureHeat process has proven to be effective in disinfecting the contaminants present in raw sewage. Not only will the process render bacteria non-viable, but it will also minimize the disposal costs, because the waste does not need to be disposed of as a biohazard.

Utilizing the ThermaPureHeat process to both dry the structure and eliminate or reduce the sewage pathogens to acceptable levels can be an effective disinfection tool. The use of structural pasteurization as a part of the drying process will effectively eliminate sewage pathogens. Bulk removal of sewage materials is a much easier and safer process for workers once ThermaPureHeat has been used.

Sewage losses also have significant odors. These odors reflect the naturally occurring chemical changes in the bacteria or other biological organisms that are present as a result of the sewage loss. ThermaPureHeat will reduce or remove these odors reflecting a clean indoor air environment.

Floodwater

Extensive flooding creates significant environmental health concerns. The potential contaminants in floodwaters include a variety of biological pathogens. Providing an ongoing health threat, many of these pathogens can remain viable in a structure for months. Some can remain longer in a moist environment. As structures dry, many become aerosolized and migrate within the building. Rodents and insects also act as vectors transporting these pathogens throughout a structure. Disinfection of this group of pathogens in flooded structures is a complex and demanding problem.

Pasteurization, a process used successfully for 150 years in food products, can be applied similarly to structures for disinfection. By reaching temperatures lethal to most of the pathogens associated with floodwater contamination, ThermaPureHeat “pasteurizes” structures. Every drying and/or remediation project in a flooded structure should assume contamination. ThermaPureHeat is one of the most thorough disinfection processes because of both efficacy toward the target 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 disinfectant process because it thoroughly dries the structure and kills the unwanted pathogens and their insect vectors with the same treatment.