Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Bed Bug Heat Options Using PestPro Thermal Commercial Equipment

Posted by Mike Guess on

This 2020 holiday break has provided me an opportunity to sit back and take a look at the big picture regarding our business. How it has changed, how it has remained the same and to hear back from our customers about the different ways they are using our commercial electric bed bug heater products.

I have received phone calls from customers in response to the holiday ecard we sent out. These calls have provided me new insights I would have missed if our customers hadn’t taken the time to pick up the phone.

The people that called to wish us a happy holidays were not our larger corporate customers but the smaller, typically older consumer customers that use our equipment.

During this pandemic downtime more and more folks who are suffering from bed bug infestations in their homes or rental properties were not comfortable inviting exterminators into their living spaces. For this reason, they turned to the internet for alternatives and with so much time on their hands became enlightened to the reality that heat will always rid homes of bed bugs.

Before stay-at-home orders most of these customers admitted they would have just started and ended by hiring a professional bed bug exterminator to come into their home to take care of the problem as quickly as possible.

With state lockdowns in place and advice from public health professionals to avoid contact with strangers, these do-it-yourself folks started to purchase our heating equipment at an increasing rate. A few of them admitted they did not need the stimulus checks they were receiving from the government and were applying them towards the purchase of our commercial-grade bed bug heaters and fans.

Up until 2020 the bulk of our customers have been businesses like large landlords, property management companies, real estate investment trusts, senior living communities, remote luxury resorts, hotels, non-profit shelters, rapid transit authorities (buses and trains), military housing, correctional facilities and pest control professionals.

Preparation checklists that we provide our commercial customers are very detailed and intended to apply to worst case scenarios where bed bugs might be hiding in the walls and/or falling from the ceiling.

With this influx of inquiries from the consumer market we needed to spend increasing amounts of time on the phone educating folks on how our equipment works, if they will be able to use it and when it just does not make any sense at all.

Each situation was different, and we always started by outlining the basics when describing the process of ridding homes and apartments of all life stages of bed bugs using a combination of heat and fans to penetrate everywhere the bed bugs might be hiding and have laid their eggs.

Bed Bugs live in your mattress, sheets and pillows

For anyone considering if a DIY bed bug extermination approach is the right choice for them here are some things to consider.

  1. How severe is my infestation? Have I seen just a few bed bugs, a few dozen bed bugs or hundreds to thousands of bed bugs in places beyond my bed and items within 5-10 feet of my bed?

Based on our customer’s collective experience, for about 90% of you the answer will be that you have a very light to moderate infestation of less than 25 bed bugs. You caught it early, probably panicked about what to do and then jumped on the internet to try and figure out how best to deal with it.  

For the vast majority of you reading this, using heat with minimal preparation will do the trick and get rid of the problem permanently.

If you are in the 10-15% of folks with more than a light to moderate infestation you will need to do a bit more preparation, but heat will still safely and effectively take care of the problem. Bed bugs cannot evolve to have resistance to heat the way they have to insecticides.

If there is one thing we have learned from transitioning from speaking to mostly business customers to mostly consumer customers this past year is there is no blanket, one-size-fits-all list of what you will need to do before using our bed bug heater equipment. It will depend on your situation: the physical dimensions of your infested area, how high the ceilings are, if there is exposed brick, carpeting or hard flooring, etc. Once we have a clear understanding of your circumstances, we make meaningful recommendations. It is not complicated but you need to take the extra time to understand what may affect your results. We enjoy talking about these things and will spend as much time with you as it takes before rendering any sort of recommendation. We are obsessed with you having a successful experience using our equipment so you will share your success with others. We have no problem telling you when our products do not make sense for you and directing you towards other alternatives. 

Bed Bug Insect
  1. Do I have an electric stove outlet or an electric dryer outlet that I can plug my PestPro Thermal bed bug heater into?

If the answer to either of these questions is “YES” then you can use our electric bed bug heater in your bed bug infested areas.

The PestPro Thermal Universal Bed Bug Heat Treatment Package comes with four (4) separate pig tail adapters and either a 50’ or 100’ long power cord.

When it comes time to perform a bed bug heat treatment you will choose the pig tail adapter that fits your outlet and connect it to the end of your black power cord using a commercial grade twist-lock connector for safety and durability.

Pig Tail Adapter #1 has a 3-prong ELECTRIC DRYER plug.

Pig Tail Adapter #2 has a 4-prong ELECTRIC DRYER plug.

Pig Tail Adapter #3 has a 3-prong ELECTRIC STOVE/RANGE plug.

Pig Tail Adapter #4 has a 4-prong ELECTRIC STOVE/RANGE plug.

When we first engineered the Universal bed bug heater to offer this proprietary power flexibility we were thinking it would be needed mostly for professional exterminators.

Pest professionals would need this flexibility because they would never know what they would be plugging the heater into from day to day and would need the flexibility our heaters offer.

In addition to the included four pig tail adapters the PestPro Thermal Systems Universal Bed Bug Heat Package has 3 toggle switches on the side of the heater.

These toggle switches allow the user to customize the heater for every 220/240v power situation possible.

All electric dryer outlets in North America are 30amps =  all 3 toggles DOWN position.

Older full-sized electric cooking stoves in North America have 50 amp outlets = all 3 toggles UP position.

Newer full-sized electric cooking stoves have 40 amp outlets = 1 or 2 toggles DOWN position.

If neither a dryer nor a stove outlet is available to plug into you have 2 more options to get enough power to your PestPro Thermal 10,000 Watt bed bug heater:

  • Rent a portable generator of at least 12,000 Watts of power
  • Hire an electrician to install a permanent 50 amp, dedicated outlet near your circuit breaker panel to be used temporarily, only when you are treating bed bugs

Many of our contractor/electrician customers utilize a third option which is to connect the bed bug heater power cord directly to a 50 amp circuit breaker.

This “hotwiring” method can be very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing so I cannot recommend it unless you are a licensed electrician yourself or know one who can safely walk you through the process.

Bed Bug Heater made at home 

  1. Will I have enough time to treat my whole home or apartment in sections?

Only you can answer this question but here is the breakdown on what to expect:

Our 10,000 Watt bed bug heater is capable of putting out 34,120 BTU’s of heat.

That amount of heat will, in a best case scenario, allow you to treat up to 400 square feet at a time if your structure is wood framed, has eight foot high ceilings, has carpeted floors and a minimal amount of “heat sinks” (mirrored walls, marble countertops, tile floors, etc.)

With a light to moderate infestation and an average amount of personal belongings (not hoarder amounts of stuff) you can expect to spend an average of 5 hours treating your first bedroom.

The heater does not need any downtime and can be used continuously so you can work around the clock if you choose to do so.

For an average 1100 square foot, 2-bedroom apartment expect to spend 5 hours per 400 square feet or 16 hours total heating time.

  1. I only need this equipment one time. Can I rent it? How can I recoup the money I spend to purchase it?

Like any other do-it-yourself project eradicating bed bugs is no different.

You probably only need the equipment one time to do the job at hand but you want the highest quality equipment available so you can get the job done properly with the least amount of effort.

Think chain saws, carpet cleaners, lawn aeration or spray painting equipment that you can easily rent from United Rentals, Sunbelt or more and more at Home Depot.

For whatever reason, and not lack of trying on our part, the large national equipment rental companies have chosen to not offer electric bed bug heaters for rental to their customers.

Since our equipment is manufactured for commercial purposes our prices are often intimidating to the average homeowner, small landlord or tenant with a one-time need.

In these situations, you can easily recoup what you spend to purchase our bed bug equipment by renting it to others.

Over two dozen of our small landlord customers have spread the word to other landlords and realtors in their professional networks they have a do-it-yourself bed bug heater available for rent.

The average daily rental rate for a bed bug heater and fan is $400 so at today’s current price you only have to rent it 8 times to have it pay for itself.

Remember the sage words of Benjamin Franklin: “The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

Call us today for meaningful answers to your intelligent questions. 970-900-6116 

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