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Clay, some suggestions please

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  • Clay, some suggestions please

    OK, you've convinced me. I'm going to buy some of that flex watt heat tape. My question is, how much should I buy and can you buy it by the roll, like you have in your photo? I went to bigappleherp.com and I didn't see it there by the roll. Only 11" x 12", but it did say by the foot. I was a little confused by that. The demensions of the enclosure that I'm building is..... 2ft deep, 6ft long and 4.5 ft high. I am planning on putting in two shelves, multi layered (as soon as I can figure out the best way of installing them). How much tape should I put in/on the tank? Should I place one under one of the shelves too? Also, the enclosure is made out of oak plywood, should I place the tape outside the tank on the bottom, or should I place it inside the tank, with something on top of it, so that the snakes don't lay directly on top of it? Or should I just use one strip under one of the shelves to heat that section below the shelf and the shelf itself? Sorry for all the questions, I just want to do this right!!!!!!

  • #2
    Re: Clay, some suggestions please

    Flexwatt is sold by the foot.  You could order it by the roll, but a roll is a 100 Feet.  So you just probably need to order the exact number of feet that you need.

    You should order the 11" wide product, and be sure to order the cord with attached clip set as well.

    It is a good practice to account for half of the floor space for heating when using flexwatt heat tape.  

    Most of my custom built, and custom heated enclosures are 4 feet wide X 2 feet deep.  I use 2 feet of 11" wide flexwatt, and a thermostat controller device for heating these units.  It is installed on the OUTSIDE and never inside the enclosures.

    On my custom rack units, I use a 6 foot piece of 11 inch wide flexwatt on the back of the enclosure and all the tubs receive heat from this heat tape.  At 20 watts (max) per square foot, I can heat 10 sweater boxes, 20 half size sweater boxes, or 42 shoe boxes at 200 watts total.  Very economical and efficient, especially when used with one of Jeff's new thermostat controllers.

    Works great!



    To gain knowledge is good, but to share knowledge is wise

    -Best Regards
    -Clay English
    Founder Redtailboas.com 1998-2013

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    • #3
      Re: Clay, some suggestions please

      Question though. If I place it on the outside of the tank, how do I avoid the wood getting too hot and catching on fire? Like I said the entire walls of the enclosure is made from oak plywood. It has a nontoxic, polyurothane (I have no clue how to spell that and I think that's what it's made from.) paint coating on the inside. Would there be something that I sould place between the flex watt and the wall, or a certain coating I should apply to the outside? I would have to agree that the outside would be safer because of the humidity in the tank. Do you think the outside on the back near the bottom, or the actual bottom of the tank floor would be better for placement and heating? Thanks for any assistance you can offer.

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      • #4
        Re: Clay, some suggestions please

        The one thing that I have learned from using heat tape is that you have to the snake room on the warm side around 77 degrees. If your room is to cold than the flexwatt will not heat the enclosure very well. I put the flexwatt on the bottom if at all possible. The flexwatt heats up the 120 degrees with a thermostat you shouldnt have any problems with it catching on fire. Be shure you test the tape before you install it.


        Josh

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        • #5
          Re: Clay, some suggestions please

          But with constant heat being on the wood, wouldn't eventually start to burn. I know my heat lamp, if placed directly on wood, start to burn within a few minutes. How do I prevent the wood from catching fire and killing all my babies and destroying my house?!?!?!?!!?

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          • #6
            Re: Clay, some suggestions please

            Well in all my applications the flexwatt is directly against the melamine. Mainly on the bottom. Taped in place with aluminum tape. ALWAYS controlled with a temp controlled thermostat device.

            I can't speak for your wood type and finish, but heat tape has been used for many many years applied directly to the melamine. Jeff Ronne had 100's of melamine cages using flexwatt, and he never had any flexwatt failures or discoloring, even with failed rheostat devices.

            My advice would be to create a test board, using the same wood and finish and let the heat tape get hot and see how the wood responds. You should be able to do this in a controlled environment instead of your real cage.

            We know that flexwatt is reliable, it is only the application and connections that have caused problems in the past.....

            I wish I had the perfect example for you, but I have only used melamine. Maybe some other cage makers will respond.
            To gain knowledge is good, but to share knowledge is wise

            -Best Regards
            -Clay English
            Founder Redtailboas.com 1998-2013

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            • #7
              Re: Clay, some suggestions please

              I have heat tape on a wood enclosure and on a melamine enclosure for a few months now. I have never experienced any burning at all.

              Heat lamps get much hotter than heat tape. Heat tape never gets to hot to touch. You have a 6' enclosure that needs about 3' of heat tape thats 60 watts. It takes much more wattage with a heat lamp to heat your enclosure.

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              • #8
                Re: Clay, some suggestions please

                Great point Josh,

                I should have mentioned that as well. Flexwatt in the 11" size is ONLY 20 watts per foot. Most CHE's and even light bulbs are 60 to 100 watts. And they are Focused heat. The flexwatt is spread evenly over the 11" X 12" surface. So even at FULL power the flexwatt is putting out 20 watts...

                Much greater chance of burn-in or melting from CHE's and light bulbs than with the flexwatt.
                To gain knowledge is good, but to share knowledge is wise

                -Best Regards
                -Clay English
                Founder Redtailboas.com 1998-2013

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Clay, some suggestions please

                  OK, So I shouldn't really have much to worry about. I should place it on the bottom of the tank then and adhere it with aluminum tape then. I'll test it out first, but from what all of you have told me, it should be OK. This'll be great. I've been trying to figure out how to put all the heating pads in the tank and how to get hole in the walls for the cords and still have it sealed. This'll be great. I can heat the entire tank and not have to drill any holes!!!!!!!!! s9.gif s12.gif Now about the shelves I'm going to put in. Like I said, it's about 4.5 feet tall. Should I find another heat source for the shelving, or would the heat tape and the heat lamps probably do the job? Or would a CHE kept on one side, kept on all the time probably be better? I know I need a thermostat or rheostat on both the CHE and the heat tape. Or is it pretty much a matter of playing around and seeing what works best?

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