Termite Terry Singleton wants you to be an informed consumer of termite fumigation and has prepared a video explaining it all.
“Termite” Terry Singleton: You’ve seen homes being fumigated, circus tape put over top. You ever wondered what goes on behind the scene? Well I’m going to turn on this video here and you’ll get to see what really goes on back there.
Man: Seen Breaking Bad?
“Termite” Terry Singleton (Video): Thank you for joining us here today. I know that fumigating a home can be a bit overwhelming for some and you may not even know what it takes to do a good job. That’s why we made this video. Now let me walk you around the house here and I’ll show you step by step exactly what needs to be done. The first thing you need to do is to have your home measured so you can determine the exact cubic volume. This is a real critical step because this will determine how much gas will be used during the fumigation. It’s real important to remember that if you don’t use enough gas your fumigation will probably fail. Start by carefully measuring the home with roller tape and a tape measure. Make a scale drawing of the house. Next thing to do is to measure the average heights of the roof.
To calculate the cubic volume, add up all of the square footage of your home, and you have to include the garage, patio, covers, decks, and eave overhangs. Then take the total number of square feet and multiple it times the average height of the roof. Now let me ask you, are you collecting several bids from different termite companies? Please, don’t let someone stand out on the sidewalk and look at your house, or look at a picture of your home on the internet, and guess at the price. You’ve got to have them come out and measure the home with a tape measure and a roller tape so they’ll know the exact size and have them put their estimate in writing.
If you see a big difference in price between one termite company and another, you gotta check their measurements. You’ll be amazed when you see some of the crazy numbers being thrown around out there. You never want to lay a tent over loose gravel or heavy mulch because that will allow all of the gas to escape. In this case, the gravel is being raked back so that the tent can be placed directly on the soil. You always want to watch out for landscape drains like this, or maybe you’ve got rain gutters that go down below the ground. These need to be sealed to prevent the gas from escaping.
Putting pieces of padding like this on the corners helps protect the roof. You also want to put padding over the sharp corners of rain gutters and over the sharp edges of roof vents. The padding will help to protect these items. It also keeps these sharp items from cutting holes in the tent. Fumigation tarps are made of fabric covered with vinyl. These tarps hold in the gas and need to be in good condition. Always check for holes, rips, and tears. Old, worn out, and patched up tarps don’t work well because they allow the gas to escape. Sand bags are used to hold the tent down at the bottom. A good fumigator will always use a lot of sandbags and overlap them. This is done to ensure a tight seal and keep the tent from coming loose if it gets windy.
Here is where they join the two fumigation tarps together. The tarps are rolled up together and then held together with these clips. You can see that the clips are spaced only about twelve inches apart, and doubling up clips like this is a good idea. It makes the tent stronger, and lessens the chance of the tent coming off if the winds pick up. Fans like this are placed in the home to keep the gas circulating. The hose that is connected to this fan runs up to the front of the house. After they get the tent all sealed up, this hose will be connected to a gas cylinder outside. That is how the gas is put inside the house. A lot of people are concerned about leaving their home empty while the fumigation takes place. To give these homeowners extra peace of mind, this crew is installing a motion sensitive burglar alarm throughout the home. If anyone were to enter this house while the fumigation is taking place, the alarm system will immediately notify the fumigators and police.
If a window does need to be opened to help circulate the gas, it is a good idea to use a special security device to keep someone from opening up the window any further. All the windows, especially on the first floor, should be kept closed. All of the doors will be double locked with special security devices. This provides extra security and not even you will be able to get back into your home until these special locks have been removed.
Okay! Looks like they’ve got the tent in place and we’re almost ready to go. But before we start putting in the gas, it’s time to check the tent and make sure that everything is sealed up tight. On the roof, you’ll see that satellite dish where the tent wraps around it. This area needs to be taped and sealed up tight. Utility wires run into the house here and the fumigation tarps are wrapped around them. This needs to be taped and sealed up. Here, you can see the transition between the ground to the cement walkway. Extra soil will be placed here to keep the gas from leaking out.
Now that everything is sealed up tight, it’s time to put in the gas. They are using Vikane gas fumigate this home, and it comes in a big cylinder like this. The cylinder is hung on a digital scale so he can carefully weigh it while he’s putting in the gas. The hose is connected to the tank, and runs into the house, connected to one of those fans that you saw earlier. Here, you can see the fumigator is using a Vikane calculator. Remember those measurements that we took earlier? He’s going to enter those measurements in our best cubic volume, and he’s also going to enter current temperature, current wind speed, soil temperature, and a number of other factors into this calculator. This a very important step because he has to know exactly how much Vikane gas is needed for this job. Remember, if you don’t put in the right amount of gas, the whole project is just a waste of your time and money.
Okay! Here we are back at the house a day later. The tent has been on this house for about 24 hours and now he is going to monitor the job. The reason why he’s monitoring this fumigation is because he wants to make sure that the tent was sealed up tight and that there is still plenty of gas left inside. This device is called a fumiscope and it is hooked up to a hose that runs into the house. Monitoring fumigations like this takes out all of the guesswork. If your fumigator monitors the fume, and there is still plenty of gas in the house after 20 or 24 hours, then you know your job is a success. Now that we know the fumigation was a success, it’s time to start airing out the house. This is an aeration duct, and on the inside of this duct there is a fan connected to the other end. They are going to turn on the exhaust fan and leave it running overnight. In the morning, this crew is going to come back and then they’re going to take off the tent. Well, there you have it! That’s how you fumigate a house.
As you can see, there are a lot of important steps that need to be taken in order for a fumigation to be successful. But all along, the whole process is pretty simple. If you measure the house right, seal it up tight, use plenty of gas, and then double check your fumigation with a monitoring device, you know that all the termites will be eliminated and your problems are over. Here’s our guarantee. If within 10 years of your first treatment, we uncover a colony of live dry wood termites infesting the original structure treated, we’ll retreat your home for free and then we’ll refund all of your money. That’s right! We’ll get rid of all your termites, or your treatment is free. Now I hope the information you learned today will be of help to you. If you have any questions, or would like to get any additional information, please don’t hesitate to call or shoot me an email. Have a great day, and thanks again for joining us.
Woman: Two minutes for questions.
Man: Seven minutes.
“Termite” Terry Singleton: Any questions?
Woman: Two minutes.
Woman: Yeah, every once and a while you hear about a house that’s been, you know, they have a tent over it, then it explodes like the one in Torrance. What would cause something like that?
“Termite” Terry Singleton: Excellent question. Well back in, you know, prior to, I want to say, the year 2000, fumigators used to turn off the gas themselves and then once the process was complete they turned the gas back on and relight the pilot lights. Unfortunately, like the one in Torrance, the way I understand it was that a gentleman was bootlegging gas. He had run another pipe from the street around the gas meter. The fumigator did their job, turned it off like they were supposed to. Unfortunately, this gas was still running and what happens is that the gas accumulates underneath this tarp that’s sealed, and it becomes like a big bomb.
Any kind of spark in there would set it off. So, after that, the division of transportation said we’re not going to allow fumigators to do this anymore. The gas company is going to do it themselves. So that’s how we do it now starting at about the year 2000. Gas company will come out, turn off the gas, they actually disconnect the meter from the house so there can’t be any gas getting in. Lot of safety goes in, and they’ll restore the gas once everything’s completed.
Man: So what year was that Torrance thing?
“Termite” Terry Singleton: Around 1999, 2000.
“Termite” Terry Singleton: Yeah I still remember that on the news. I thought it might have been one of our jobs. Thank God. Any other questions? Uh yes, Sherri?
Sherri: Have you ever had anybody come back and ask for their warranty?
“Termite” Terry Singleton: You know, knock on wood, I’ve been very fortunate and in the eight years since we’ve been offering the money back guarantee, we have never had to offer a refund. Yeah. But again, double checking it like that, takes out the guesswork. If you come back 24 hours later, and you still have a full tank of gas, it’s virtually impossible for a termite to survive. Where if you don’t use the monitoring devices, it’s all guesswork. Any other part, again, I can’t hammer this home enough, ladies and gentlemen. Measuring the home up is extremely critical, and from my experience, 19 out of 20 termite estimators do not know how to measure a home, or even make a drawing, a scale drawing of a house. They look at it, and they saw, it looks like it’s about this much or they look at their price chart and say I think this guy can afford a job for 1,500 and there it is. And I’m sorry to say that’s true, but try it yourself if you have any doubts. When you see the discrepancy in measurements, it’s mind boggling. Okay. Thank you very much.