Bed Bug Issues Heats Up for hotels

new treatment poses concerns for sprinkler systems

With a current
national resurgence of bed bugs, along with a decrease in effectiveness of
treatments such as chemicals and pesticides, pest control companies are relying
on a new technique called Heat Remediation to scourge the unruly pests.

The process
relies on piping hot air into the room and heating its core temperature to 120
degrees Fahrenheit (48C) or higher, causing the bugs to inevitably reach their
thermal ‘death point’.

While proven
effective on bed bugs, the process of heat remediation does not come without its
own fire and safety risks to the building’s sprinkler

 “This is
essentially a convection oven effect, and could lead to triggering fire alarm
sensors, or worse, damaging or setting off the sprinkler system,” said Greg
Patterson, former engineer and co-inventor of the Shutgun, a sprinkler shut off
tool designed for hotel, construction and emergency medical service industries.
“If a sprinkler head is accidentally set off, you can also add water damage to
your list of problems.”

 With heat remediation, it would take
approximately 20 minutes heated at 46C to kill adult bugs, and over an hour to
kill their eggs.

 “With temperatures reaching above 100 degrees
Fahrenheit, there is concern that the sprinkler heads could potentially be
damaged or set off by such an increase in temperature,” said Eli Scardoni,
former Toronto District Fire Chief.

 “To avoid
damage, it is standard practice to cover the sprinkler heads with insulated
boxes while the temperature is closely monitored. However, it is wise to always
have a backup plan in place in case the sprinkler is set off by the
,” he

 Some people have rented industrial and thermal
heaters in an attempt to mimic the heat remediation process. “What we don’t want
is people trying it themselves and running into an insurance or fire safety
issue if an accident does occur,” said Greg Grabow, President of Temp-Air, a
Heat Remediation equipment supplier. “Being prepared is the most important

 Shutgun is a one
handed tool designed with a unique
that will melt
and release in a case of fire flare up allowing
the sprinkler to
operate as normal. This means it can be left in place and the
building’s fire sprinkler system remains fully


For more info on
a University of Kentucky study to test concept of heat to remove bed bugs
from hotel rooms

For article by
National Fire Sprinkler Association and Westfield Insurance on threat of heat
remediation to sprinklers,

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