Heat treatments, data loss, and technology safety(6 posts)
Hey all. My house has been infested with bed bugs for about a year now. Nothing works, but a new "heat treatment" might yield results. What it involves is raising the temperature in each room to about 130-135 degrees F (57-60 C) for about four hours per room. Unfortunately the little bastards can live inside electronics (there is no way to know if they are for sure) and for the treatment to be effective, they have to get all the bugs at once...TVs, game consols, laptops, external hard drives and computers are all supposed to remain in the rooms, though they told us to unplug them and remove dvds and cds.
My question to all of you is, is this safe to do? The following items are in my room alone:
40 inch Sony Bravia LCD tv
Playstation 3 (120 gig)
two external terabyte hard drives
one external 380 meg hard drive
one wireless router
one cable modem
various speakers, sound equipment and peripherals
does anyone have any clue if this is safe or not? it doesnt feel safe to me...at the very least I risk losing data, if not rendering my equipment broken/damaged (especially the TV) please keep in mind that these temperatures are ambient...in the room, not internal.
as a side not, anyone have a clue what the average internal temperatures of some of this stuff could be (like the PS3?) if it gets hot enough inside on its own, I can rule out the little SOB's hiding inside it.
thanks a lot for your advice
This fact needs to be in an FAQ.
All electronics have operating and storage temps. For example this is from the specs of a Dell D630 laptop.
Operating 0° to 35°C (32° to 95°F)
Storage –40° to 65°C (–40° to 149°F)
Unplugged and unpowered is where devices are safest but you have to check the specs on all of them and make a decision.
Most electronics are safe to 120 and 140 isn't uncommon but those are not true in all cases.
See my fairly recent post "Questions about heat treatment" for answers from others. We recently had a heat treatment for our apartment (140 degrees) and all of our computers, 40 inch lcd television, and other electronics came through just fine.
Best of luck - hope the heat treatment works!
Specific, albeit anecdotal, evidence: my roommate and I just put very new MacBooks (a Pro and an Air) through heat treatment at about 170ºF for two hours--without removing the batteries, since that's impossible with these models--and both came through just fine. I swear my battery's actually more efficient now...
... though it may be rare, sometimes electronic failures happen later.
Backing up computers offsite is always a good idea. It might be a good time to make a backup of your system to a service with automatic cloud backups) and/or back up to an external HD kept offsite (maybe just during treatment). The former can be as cheap as $5/mo for a computer and the latter under $100. If your data is crucial, you might want to do both, heat treatment or no heat treatment.
The nice thing about the cloud idea is those backups will keep updating so if failure happens later, you're covered.
See if damage caused by treatment would be covered by the service provider's warranty and/or home or renters' insurance also, just in case.
If they're experienced and knowledgeable and they tell you something's safe, it probably is but life is uncertain and these are some things with considering.
If it helps, my iPad, 2 laptops, flat screen tv, wireless router, DVD player, cable box, and expensive air filter survived 2 heat treatments fine, with not a single noticeable effect outside of the glue in the air filter's hepa filter melting a little. The company that did my heat treatment uses iPads during the job, and said they'd been using them for a few years and the iPads had been having no issues from being exposed to the heat on a daily basis.
What did not survive were 2 candles I accidental left in boxes (totally melted), and a lip balm(same thing). I also purposefully left a tree in the unit so that the spider mites infesting it would be killed too...as I was warned, the tree died (but the spider mites dying too meant i won, so totally worth it. those things are the bed bugs of the plant world when it comes to eliminating them) . So follow the companies directions on what to remove from your home. Melted candles are a pain to clean up.
Also, check to see if your insurance coverage would cover losses due to heat treatment. I have my iPad insured, and they will cover it if anything happened, same with laptops.
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