Thermal Heating for Bed Bugs


Discharge of Fire Sprinkler Head

Why impair a sprinkler head when killing bed bugs? Our invention will protect a fire sprinkler head while a room is being saturated with heat. Nowadays of scarce resources, it is necessary to use sprinkler heads as long as possible without replacing them.

A major concern today for the hospitality and hotel industry is the infestation of bed bugs. In order to kill the bugs, the rooms must be heated to at least 120° F. Bed bugs are very sensitive to temperature. If the insect and eggs are exposed to temperatures above 115° F or below 32° F, the insect will die within ten to twenty minutes. The two main types of heat treatment are steam and thermal heating. Heating is the safest, least expensive, and most effective way to control bed bugs. The room is soaked for 24 hours and this allows the heat to penetrate all the hiding places of the bed bug camp. However, heating the room also exposes the ceiling and sprinkler head assembly to 120° F.

The maximum ceiling temperature of a sprinkler head classified as “ordinary” cannot exceed 100°F. Ambient temperatures in excess of these maximums would cause stress in the thermal element, eventually weakening its load-carrying capacity with the result that the sprinkler may fire prematurely. The accepted practice is to drain the sprinkler system and remove the sprinkler heads and replace them with higher-temperature-rated heads or pipe plugs. Recently, sprinkler heads have been wrapped with temporary insulation to protect the sprinkler from excessive ambient temperature, but this comes with risks. Wrapping the sprinkler can compromise the glass bulb and fusible link by distorting the sprinkler body. These methods are time-consuming, costly, and dangerous. What is needed is a cover that covers the head and prevents the temperature around the bulb from ever reaching the maximum ceiling temperature.

Design Considerations

(a)  Ceilings are never smooth and are rough from the texturing. Our device does not rely on a seal between the ceiling and cup. The seal is self-energizing between the escutcheon and cup. Our device does not require cords or other methods attached to the sprinkler head to energize the seal.

(b)  The cord acts as a tether to the sprinkler head and as the cord heats from the kill process, the cord will slacken causing the seal at the ceiling to deteriorate. Heat will not affect the seal of our device.

(c)   NFPA 25 says sprinklers are impaired if “Leaking, heavily corroded, painted operating element or bulb or deflector or cover plate, heavily loaded, foreign materials attached to or suspended from, improper orientation, glass bulbs that have lost fluid.”  Also, NFPA 25- says “Sprinkler piping shall not be subjected to external loads by materials either resting on the pipe or hung from the pipe.” Our objective is to protect the sprinkler head without tethering from the sprinkler head or pipe.

(d)  Devices hung from the head or deflector can cause distortion in the body of the head, distorting the fragile glass bulb, and causing it to fire prematurely. Potential also exists where the tether could catch on the fragile teeth and distort the deflector compromising the spray pattern. Our device does not contact the head or deflector.

(e)  A sensor is needed to confirm that the temperature inside the cup didn’t exceed the maximum ceiling temperature. Our device can be equipped with thermocouples, heat indicating labels, pop-up indicators, and inferred temperature guns.

(f)  A permanent record of the temperature inside the box is needed. Temperature labels, Pop_up indicators and data loggers can be used with the cup to provide a permenant record.

Jason Williams and David Williams have a patent pending on thermal protector for a sprinkler head. Investors wanted.

  • “Anything will work if you hook it up right.”

    Royce Barton