When decomposed bodies are found in Monterey County, Ohio, they wind up at the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab for autopsy. And for years, occupants of the three-story facility knew whenever a new body arrived because the strong smell of the rotting corpses would permeate the building. Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of years trying to solve the problem, nothing seemed to work. Replacing the HVAC system didn’t work. Installing high efficiency fans didn’t work. Neither did adding an exhaust system incinerator, insulating the walls or any other strategy used so far.
Finally, the third engineer entrusted with solving the dire problem saw an episode of PBS’s This Old House that included a feature on aeroseal technology, a duct sealing process that seals leaks from the inside of the ductwork. He believed he might have finally found an answer to the problem.
“I knew we had leaks in the ventilation system that allowed the spread of odor throughout the entire building, but there was no way we could access and seal the ductwork without completely tearing down the entire structure,” said Bill Epperson, associate engineer for the Montgomery County Government. “Over several years, we spent well over a hundreds thousand dollars in new equipment and outside consultants trying to solve the problem, but nothing worked. Then we tried aerosealing.”
It took the aeroseal experts at Service Tech Corporation just two days to completely seal the supply and exhaust ductwork. Temporary access holes were cut into the ducts and the aerosol-based sealant was blown into the ducts’ interior.
The microscopic particles of sealant do not coat the walls of the ductwork but instead, stay suspended in air until they come across a leak. At this point, they accumulate around the edges of the leak and then to other sealant particles until the entire hole is sealed. The final report generated by the computer-controlled aeroseal system showed a 98% reduction in leakage.
More importantly, the facility director – and the building’s other occupants -declared the problem 100% solved. Bodies could come and go but the building residents could no longer smell the difference.
“I wish all of our projects went this fast and smooth,” said Epperson. “The aeroseal team was in and out in just a couple of days and when they were done, the problem was solved.”