How PestPro Thermal Systems and RealPower Solved the Bed Bug Heater “Power Challenge”
PestPro Thermal opened for business in 2012 in response to a request from a multi-generational Pest Control Operator in South Dakota.
The PCO was looking for an electric bed bug heater that would produce enough heat to kill bed bugs in all stages of life from eggs to nymphs to mature adults in homes and businesses. The 800 pound gorilla in the bed bug heat industry at the time was Thermal Remediation Temp-Air who has now officially closed for business on 01MAY2023. We were determined to engineer a better version of Temp-Air systems and our customers have told us we have done just that.
We engineered and built a heater that met the specifications for the harsh environment in which he was operating including:
- Superior Heat Output - most heat out of the smallest footprint
- Extreme Portability - lightweight and easy to roll on wheels
- Consistent Dependability - DIY repairs with open-source parts
- Industrial-Grade Ruggedness and Durability
The challenge quickly became where to obtain enough power to plug in multiple industrial bed bug heaters beyond the stove and dryer outlets found in homes and apartments (given the limitations of residential breaker panels).
The only option is a portable generator.
All generators have two major components: engine + alternator.
Most often a gasoline or diesel-powered engine which when married to an alternator (the device that generates electricity) produces various amounts of voltage for use with our bed bug heaters.
Each of our 10,000 watt 240v heaters can optimally treat up to 400 square feet and they require a 240v 50 amp circuit breaker which is considered ‘High Voltage’ versus low voltage 110/120v outlets. This lower voltage is what we all use to power small appliances and lighting in our homes.
If you plug the first 10,000 watt heater into a 50 amp stove outlet and a second, 6000 watt heater into a 30 amp dryer outlet you have reached the limit of what the majority of what most breaker panels can support. Those two heaters can now treat up to 650 square feet in one average 5-6 hour treatment session or 1300 square feet if you divide the area up into two sections and treat them separately.
Although this was adequate for small apartments it was not enough for professionals treating larger apartments, single-family homes and large luxury resort suites.
OLD SCHOOL METHOD - GENERATOR IN TRAILER BED BUG HEATER POWER SOLUTION
Because of the power limitation of most residences we quickly found ourselves providing portable generators in trailers to provide adequate power for and transporting our bed bug heating equipment. Selling these generators was not a problem in and of itself but properly supporting them was near impossible.
Admittedly, managing the support networks of the generator manufacturers for our customers was spotty at best.
As anyone who has ever used a portable generator knows they are very loud, very smoky, require loads of expensive and time-consuming maintenance in a shop (that is often booked out 3-6 weeks resulting in unacceptable and expensive downtime for you) and are nowhere near as reliable as you need them to be. On top of that they are the opposite of discreet leading to lots of questions from curious guests and residents as to why they are there in the first place.
PLEASE FIX OUR BED BUG HEATER GENERATORS
As the years went by and more and more of our bed bug heaters were sold in combination with trailers and portable generators, we quickly realized how challenging it was to manage the generator support structures in North America. Supporting generators in the ways we wanted them supported for our customers was out of our control and becoming unacceptable. We concluded this was adversely affecting our ability to support the top-quality electric bed bug heating products we were building and supporting at the highest levels.
Selling and supporting generators quickly became viewed internally as a necessary evil.
There had to be a better alternative to provide power that we could offer our customers.
THE BED BUG BEAST™ COMES TO THE RESCUE
After extensive research and table pounding the answer to our customer’s requests (and prayers) for reliable, well supported portable power was found in our partner, RealPower.
Headquartered close to one of the most technologically innovative and creative places on earth, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, RealPower offers a patented and proprietary method of using a truck's engine to power an on-board alternator which in turn powers our bed bug heaters.
We could now divorce ourselves from the reputation damaging nightmare of trying to support products we had no part in manufacturing. We could now rely on a revolutionary but proven power option that only PestPro Thermal Systems could offer to bed bug heat services providers, property managers and anyone needing to kill bed bugs in very large residential settings including campuses, student and senior communities, luxury resorts, cruise ships, apartment and affordable housing communities.
RealPower has engineered a patented and proprietary solution to use the power from the engine under the hood of a diesel F-Series or Class 7 or 8 truck, using the Power-Take-Off (PTO) gear, to spin an alternator anchored to the undercarriage of the vehicle.
- This alternator is then connected to a power distribution box designed and built by RealPower
- Connected to smaller 4-port distribution boxes that can be up to 300’ away from the truck.
GROUND-BREAKING, SELF GENERATED POWER FOR ELECTRIC BED BUG HEATERS
This translates into being able to heat treat an apartment on the 29th floor of a hi-rise while leaving the truck safely locked and running to generate power for up to 15 10,000 Watt heaters = 150,000 Watts = 512,000 BTUs treating up to 6000 square feet at one time!
Let me repeat that: We can offer you a solution that is completely self-powered without the need to tow around or maintain a separate generator or transport dangerous, combustible fuels, that will put out 512,000 BTU's allowing you to treat up to 6000 square feet at a time.
This is an industry-first, revolutionary, disruptive, game-changing technology and exclusively available from PestPro Thermal Systems and RealPower.
This method eliminated the need to tow around a separate engine to power the generator resulting in more available power without the associated headaches of:
- Separate fuel system and storage
- Separate exhaust system and belching diesel smoke and noise
- Separate trailer and the parking, theft, licensing, handling and insurance issues that go with it
- Separate maintenance and repairs which keep you out-of-service and out of control making it hard to keep to your schedule of customer commitments and Service Level Agreements
- Limited floor space to transport bed bug heaters, fans and other equipment taken up by the extra generator engine
- Lower fuel efficiency due to having to haul around a 3000+ lb. generator to every job
The first two “Self-Contained Power Trucks” have now been operational in an urban, hi-rise midwestern city with a national Pest Control Operator since September of 2019.
The reports from this customer include:
This customer also shared with me that profit margins have increased significantly, and the field operators of the equipment are thrilled at how easy and low maintenance everything is. They also feel safer driving an F-Series truck versus a trailer where, during ice/snow events "white knuckle" driving was the accepted norm.
Additionally, the near zero maintenance of the alternator (quarterly grease gun applications) keeps jobs running and on schedule. No more cancellations due to generator maintenance and repair downtime.
Since this customer has previously been running our 240v Universal Heaters they also have the option of plugging 2-4 of these heaters into building power (stove or dryer outlets) to add even more heat into any job thereby being able to treat an additional 800-1600 square feet to their capacity.
In hi-rise situations above 30 stories this 240v heater option adds a level of flexibility that cannot be replicated by competitive bed bug heating equipment.
RealPower + PestPro Thermal Systems have architected 3 Bed Bug Beast™ options to choose from:
Watch Bed Bug Beast video