Heat treatments with electric heaters are significantly safer than other gas-powered heat treatment methods. Those may use more powerful heaters, but they carry a real risk to excessive carbon monoxide exposure, in addition to a risk of accidental fires. Fortunately, the new Tri-Flo 15-amp heat treatment system is here to help. This is the first complete room treatment solution that can be run on standard, grounded 15-amp outlets. They’re all-electric and ETL-certified to ensure safe operation, and they’re a lot simpler to transport and operate than the traditional propane and diesel-powered rigs normally used by professionals. But can these simplified packages really get the job done? Let’s find out.
Benefits of an Electric Heat Treatment
Regardless of the type of equipment used, a heat treatment can be an effective option for professionals working with many small units. Hotel owners, property managers, and pest control professionals all benefit from rotating through units with heat treatment kits. Hotels can treat rooms faster and get them back in service sooner so they can start collecting revenue again. Less follow-up effort is required per room, and the overall cost can be lower once the same equipment has been used in several treatments.
Heat treatments with electric heaters are significantly safer than other heat treatment methods, such as kerosene or propane. The latter may use more powerful heaters, but at a real risk to excessive carbon monoxide exposure, in addition to the previously discussed risk of accidental fires. The right electric-only gear, such as the Tri-Flo kit, would be ETL-certified to ensure safe operation.
Unboxing and First Impressions
Like other professional-oriented gear we’ve reviewed, the Tri-Flo treatment kits ship out in discrete, flair-free packaging. No bright colors or gaudy marketing material here – Tri-Flo ships only what you need and nothing else. The kit will come in multiple boxes, some for the large heater units and others for the circulation fans included to improve heating efficiency.
While the unpacked arrangement may seem complicated to heat treatment newcomers, Tri-Flo’s packages are much simpler from the start than the heating gear that pest pros are used to. Electric heat setups usually require at least a 3-phase, 20kW diesel generator. Those weigh almost 800 pounds and need to be towed to the job site. In addition to the fuel, hookups, and the (traditionally larger and more complex) heaters and fans themselves, complete setups used to start at over $40,000. Compared to that headache, the eight-piece Tri-Flo rig is a huge relief when it comes to cost and setup.
The heater units themselves are very sturdily made, thanks to their stamped metal bodies, and the lack of a gas-powered motor keeps the package’s noise, weight, and maintenance needs at a minimum. The included circulation fans are simple and ergonomic in design, and provide side-mounted 110V outlets so that they can be daisy-chained to each other. This cuts down on the total number of outlets your kit needs: rather than needing four separate sockets for your fans, you could cut it down to just one if you can position the fans accordingly.
Using the Tri-Flo Kit
Before hooking up the heaters and beginning your treatment, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to do to prepare the room. Begin by inspecting the room, if you haven’t already, to gauge the severity of the infestation. Remove the sheets on the side of each bed in the room and inspect along the seams of the mattress for black dots (fecal matter), brownish transparent bed bug shells or actual bed bugs. Inspect the box springs as well, including the corner guards, which are a popular hiding spot for bed bugs. Check the sheets for small blood stains, which could be indicative of bed bugs.
Reduce clutter in the room to reduce hiding places and speed up the heating process. Things like clothes, books, drawer contents, and small electronics should be sealed in garbage bags and stored away from the room. Remove any couch seat cushions and lean the mattress and box spring upright against the wall. Open any dresser drawers and closet doors to ensure adequate heatup inside and out.
Once you’re ready to start your treatment, pre-heat the room by setting the thermostat to the highest setting available, ideally 90 degrees or more.
Place the heater units around the bed and other key treatment areas so that they heat up first. In order to hook the heaters up, you’ll need to find separate circuits for each unit. A hotel room will typically have at least two circuits: one in the bathroom, and another in the bedroom. You can use extension cords to reach a circuit in an adjacent room.
Turn the heaters on the high setting and monitor the room’s temperature until it hits roughly 106 degrees. The kits include a handheld laser thermometer to help with this. Once the room temperature has reached about 106 degrees, place the included fans in the room to provide heat circulation. Point the fans at the most heavily infested areas and turn them on the high setting. This will accelerate the convection effect, allowing the overall temperature to rise over the lethal 121 degrees we’re shooting for.
Monitor the room’s temperature until it hits around 130 degrees for 2 to 4 hours, depending on the level of infestation. This temperature will be uncomfortable to stay present in, so check in every 30 minutes or so with the included laser thermometer.
After the heat treatment is finished, you’ll want to follow up with a residual spray application. Look for sprays labeled for the surfaces in the room, such as CrossFire or JT Eaton Kills Bed Bugs Plus. Then apply bed bug proof mattress and box spring covers and ClimbUp Insect Interceptors if the bed didn’t have those already.
Bed bug heat treatments have been as effective for many users as they are risk- and cost-prohibitive for others. With the prospect of hauling around hundreds of pounds of gear and dealing with diesel or kerosene, in addition to the added noise and chemical exposure, most professionals have resigned to using slower alternative treatment methods that require multiple follow-ups.
The Tri-Flo heat treatment kits are here to change that. These are simple, effective, and safe alternatives to the gas motor-powered heaters in the field today. One plug per heater, and you’re in business; no generators, no fuel, and no extra power equipment. For the first time, hotel managers, property managers, and pest control operators have access to a truly safe and cost-effective heat treatment package.