The GreenTech Heat HVAC Piggyback Technique
by Tom Costello, Technical Director
April 23, 2018
Almost every building you will heat comes with at least one additional heater most technicians leave unused: the central HVAC heating system. While older buildings may not have a centralized HVAC system, most will have some sort of heating system that supplies energy to conventional radiators, baseboard radiators, convectors, heating pipes embedded in the walls or ceilings. These may be part of a combined heating/ventilating or heating/air-conditioning system.
It’s always good advice to have the building owner preheat the treatment area with their thermostat-controlled heating system. Running full-bore, most residential or commercial building heating systems will not raise the internal ambient air temperature above 90°F, typically outputting 118°F to 120°F air. Consider the following scenarios:
It’s the start of winter in a Northern community. Outside temperatures drop to 20°F during the night and reaches 50°F on the warmer days. To escape the bed bugs, the family has vacated their house for the last few days, and without thinking set their thermostat to 50°F. Preheating the house raises your beginning ambient temperature to 90°F. Your heaters will spend less time imparting this 45°F into the treatment area.
Summer in Las Vegas! Conservatively, it’s 117°F at noon and drops to “only” 95°F at midnight. Air conditioners run around the clock. When scheduling a motel room treatment, have maintenance shut off the cool as soon as possible—and then set the heat as hot as it will swing. You might find the room a “comfy” 110°F, but that’s a far cry from an air-conditioned 68°F
Our patent-pending technique utilizes this additional heating energy for a longer duration than simply switching the thermostat to heat and moving the temperature lever to hot. By insulating and cooling the thermostat, the building’s heater continues to impart energy into the treatment area for a longer period of time than a thermostat exposed to energized air.
- Switch the heat/cool switch to heat
- Move the auto/on switch to on.
- Set the desired temperature to the highest possible setting.
- Attach a cooling element to the thermostat:
• blue ice • dry ice • regular ice • compressed air hose
- Wrap the thermostat and the cooling element with an insulative barrier such as reflective insulation.
- Whenever possible, draw pre-heated building air through heaters rather than outside air.
Insulating the thermostat allows the heater to run longer. The net result of piggybacking the building’s heating equipment in conjunction with treatment equipment is a reduced treatment time. This technique also improves staged treatments by keeping all areas of the structure at a warmer temperature both before and after treatment.