So, you suspect you've got bed bugs sharing your home, and you're ready to do about anything to get rid of them. If you've done a little research, you've likely discovered that heat treatments are the best way to eliminate bed bugs and are now wondering if you can DIY your bed bug heat treatment. Your eyes wander to the closet where your space heater sits - could you use that?
Can you kill bed bugs with a space heater?
Heat treatments are the most effective way to kill bed bugs in all life stages (adults, larva, eggs). Killing bed bugs (and their eggs) with heat requires temperatures of at least 113F for 90 minutes.
So, you're not wrong for wondering: Can a regular space heater kill bed bugs?
Let's explore factors that might answer this question.
Can you get to the critical temperature of 113 with a space heater?
Not all space heaters are created equal. There are propane, kerosene, and electric systems that range from small to large sizes. Typically, most household space heaters reach a maximum heat range of 95F to 120F degrees.
You might be able to get a room up to temperature with a large propane space heater. Still, it is unlikely that you could reach these temperatures with a typical residential electric space heater.
This poses the next question.
Is it safe to use a kerosene heater or propane space heater inside your home?
Propane and kerosene heaters use the combustion of an open flame to generate heat. This flame becomes a tremendous fire hazard inside your home. Additionally, these many of these heaters release deadly gases like Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide that can escape your treatment room and fill your home.
If you read the warning labels on the propane and kerosene heaters, most say you should not use them indoors or in a confined area.
**A propane or kerosene heaters that are not specifically registered with the EPA as a "Pest Control Device" are absolutely not safe to use in your home**
To summarize, electric space heaters not specifically designed for pest control will not get hot enough, and propane and kerosene heaters not specifically designed for pest control can be extremely hazardous to use in your home!
What if I use a multiple electric space heaters?
It's doubtful this approach will work due to electrical demand. These space heaters require a lot of electricity. A professional electric bed bug heater uses a series of power cords and circuit breakers to distribute the electrical demand across your home's electrical system. These systems are the safest way to generate the required heat for a bed bug treatment.
Home space heaters are not designed for this purpose and do not have the same distribution and safety systems built in. You can seriously damage your homes electrical system that could cost you thousands to repair.
When in doubt, follow the old saying, "Use the right tool for the job."
If you are still not convinced, here are some more thoughts:
- If you don't get up to temperature and maintain it for enough duration, you won't kill any bed bugs. You must get to at least 113F - and hold it at that temperature for 4-24 hours, so both adults and eggs die.
- Most professional heat treatments will raise the room temperature closer to 130F to kill bed bugs in hard-to-reach areas, such as soft furnishings, under carpets, and wall voids.
- Manufacturers design home space heaters to keep humans comfortable, so the maximum temperature of these heaters typically max out around 100F. Most modern home space heaters also have an internal thermostat that turns it off automatically when the room reaches your chosen temperature.
- Space heaters are designed to supply "supplemental" heat and, while made to be safe, still often cause fires when misused.
- Can you kill bed bugs by turning up the heat? Unfortunately, your central heater system won't work either. Your homes heater operates on a thermostat that will not allow it to heat the room to 120 degrees
So, will a home space heater kill bed bugs? With unnecessary risk your homes safety, you might have the potential to kill a handful of bed bugs with a space heater, but they cannot tackle a full fledge bed bug infestation.
How to Use Heat to Kill Bed Bugs - The Right Way.
The good news is you don't have to hire professionals to perform bedbug heat treatments - all you need is the right equipment. Our DIY bed bug treatment heaters are easy to use and come with all the advice you need to safely kill bed bugs with heat yourself.
We also have commercial packages available for hotels, apartments, and pest control professionals, so we're here to help regardless of the scale of your bed bug problem.