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Heating with Flexwatt

Discussion in 'Heating' started by Merlin, Jan 6, 2008.

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  1. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    LOL! Now I'm the newbie! Oh boy now I get to pick everyone else's brain!
    I am designing a boa enclosure. It will be 4'x2'x18" tall, constructed from 3/4 inch plywood and a glass front. Basicalliy a sealed box except for some small air vents. My plan is to heat it with a 2 foot peice of 11" wide flexwatt on one end, on the inside of the enclosure, controlled by a thermostat. Will this be suffecient. The ambient temperature in the room never goes below 65 degrees.
    I have had varying people tell me it will be enough heat and some say it won't.
    My question is regarding flexwatt. How many of you use it and what do you think of it.
  2. Colleen

    Colleen Elite Member

    Merlin, explain what flexwatt is please.... is it the wire heat tape?
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I use it on one of my breeding racks. I am not certain how you will be using it, but I have it aluminum taped to the shelf and then the sterilite slides over it. (Leos)

    It has worked great for me using this method for several years.

    Flexwatt is very much like an under tank heater, except it isn't "covered". It is more flexible as well seeing as you can cut it, and then secure it so it will be the length that you desire.

    I use the 3 inch wide tape on my rack btw.
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The plans I found were using the flexwatt on the bottom of the cage at one end
    Of course all electrical connections will be insulated and water sealed and the FW and wires secured.
    I was wondering if this will be sufficient for a heat source or would I need additional heat.
  6. MoogleBass

    MoogleBass Kittes are so nice! Premium Member

    Put it under it. IF you place it inside, urine will get under it and the newspaper if thats what you use and it will SMELL! omg it will smell. Atleast it did for my retic. I cleaned weekly, but the smell by the weekend would be bad if he went a few days before i cleaned. I taped it to the underside, and used 1/2 inch plywood. You just will have to adjust the temp for it once the wood heats up. That is what i did anyway. It worked fine for me.

    Flex watt is all I use, so easy and so cheap too. Zoomed 20 dollar heaters were a pain.
  7. Ipanda

    Ipanda Elite Member

    I use flexi, (and know alot of people who use it that are happy with it) I wire it myself along with my own dimmers(and im blonde :D)... I love it... Wouldnt ever change... I use it for my snake cages, my frog cage, and my lizards... Its so easy to control, and I love the way it heats, and its super cheap if you wire it yourself... If you put it inside the cage, and it gets wet... I have heard of it shorting out and causeing fires... :eek: If you have the proper dimmer or controler, you shouldnt need any additional heat... I was re reading your post, and your useing such thick wood... What I did faced with the same thing in a friends enclosure, was get some melamean (spelt wrong i know) coated partical board aka splash board and sandwiched the flexi between my plywood and the melamean, that way it heated better, and the melamean is sooo easy to clean... Urates just come right off lol... but ya got to seal it off from the flexi, or YUK...
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Nate and Ipanda, how did you have the flex secured inside the cage? I was thinking the aluminum tape used for duct work. Maybe a bead of silicon underneath it to keep any fluids from getting underneath.
    The reason for the thicker grade plywood is that eventually there will be several of the cages that are stacked on top of each other. I am tired of having aquariums scattered all over the place and this will allow better use of space, not to mention more control over heat and humidity.

    And being front opening it will be easier to get the animals in and out.
    For my 5 ft tall Lady this is a big selling point!;)
  9. Colleen

    Colleen Elite Member

    I second that. I'm tired of cages all over the house also and the 5’ challenge. I was looking at doing a stacking system also. When you get this all figured out, send me step by step instructions please. You know enclosure building for dummies. LOL I have also looked at that site to use as a possibility. Including wiring please as it has been many years since I did any of this.
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Oh I fully intend to document the effort.
    Rich would never let me hear the end of it if I didn't!;)
  11. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    In a sealed environment, even with ventilation, I am sure the Flex will provide all the heat you need. When I have worked with it, I have been very pleased. I will be building another rack this summer and will use Flex. I have a variation on the theme I am thinking about - but that is for another thread.
  12. Ipanda

    Ipanda Elite Member

    I dont blame ya, I myself am working on reclaiming my kitchen counters lol.... I barely have room to cook! Aluminum tape should work just fine, I used wide electrical tape, the expencive stuff is pretty water resistant... You woudnt want fluids on top of it either, I made that mistake, and one day while grocery shopping, I had some really gross stuff cooked to the top, when I came back and had to throw it away... My best advice, line the inside of the cage with spash board and sandwich the flexi in between it and the inside of the cage, and caulk it so no fluids can get through... The spash board is pretty thin, so it heats though the board well, If your using silicon, make sure you get something that is heat resistant, but its hard to find heat resistant and non toxic (I couldnt find anything that met that critera) My boyfriend used silicon that wasnt heat resistant, and within a few months the silicon got pretty brittle, and didnt seal anymore...
  13. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    My hat is off to you who use Flex on the inside of the cage! I am interested to see how it turns out, Merlin.
  14. okreptilerescue

    okreptilerescue Elite Member

    I have flex inside my "big girl" cages. I used a staple gun on the outside edges and stapled it to the floor. Then I got a thick piece of plexieglass and put a HUGE THICK bead of silicone all the way around it and set the plexie over the flexwatt.

    When we make our new cages like this- I will be using a 1x2 between the plexie and the flexwatt-

    I just had a flexwatt strip burn a giant hole in one of my tubs on my rack- total bummer- burned one snake and got a near by tub member very... high...

    i'm afraid that having the plexie directly on the flexwatt will not allow enough air circulation so we will be changing our design soon....

    Good luck!!

  15. Ipanda

    Ipanda Elite Member

    To help prevent something like that, Everyone here has there own thermometer with an alarm in case temps get to high...(dont remember the brand but they are 13 bucks at walmart they are an indoor out door digital thermometer, with probe temp, humidity, and ambiant temp), also, because we had a house fire when I was young, and we lost everything, I always put a smoke dector, right above my cage stacks.... and...

    Okreptile, I hope your snakes are going to be ok... Scary!
  16. MoogleBass

    MoogleBass Kittes are so nice! Premium Member

    IF you put it inside like how OK said with it covered with something, it will get super hot and will burn. I almost cooked my bps that way. was a good 150 170 on the flex watt and made the glass that I was using crack about 3 ways. So ya Underneath is where i put mine. Also if the silicone gets a pinhole in it, it will leak out and run down the cage to the floor ewww. It did on mine, sucked bad.

    I have 4x16x16 4 high with stuff on top too, all half inch and it was fine. Made a dolly with wheels and 1x2s as spacers. Worked fine for me. and i had 1/4in, framed glass doors. so there was some weight to them.

    Another idea i had was to take a piece of glass, that was 12x2ft 4 in, and routing out a place in the cage floor and putting the glass in the hole, so it would be on the glass and still get air. Like cut a hole, then router it so the glass will lay flush with the cage, and then seal the glass in place.
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Well I seem to have run into a snag.
    Got the cage built and the flexwatt installed inside. 2ft of the 11 inch wide stuff. Controlled by a thermostat set at 110 degrees(the snake is not in there!)
    It has been running for 24 hours and the air temp in the cage is only 68 degrees. Apparently the cage is just too big to be heated by the flexwatt alone. Are those of you using flexwatt to heat keeping your enclosures in an above normal room temp? Or am I missing something.
    Its starting to look like I am going to have to rethink my heating!
  18. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Hmmm. I've never used it before but I would think 2 ft of the 11" would make it warmer than that. I would recheck your wiring.
  19. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Without the thermostat the flex had reached 125 before I shut it down.
    But it still didn't seem to heat the rest of the cage much.
  20. The JD

    The JD Elite Member

    Give it more time. It's not just the air that is getting heated, but all the materials inside your enclosure. When I finished my enclosure, it took a few days before the temps finally started to rise because that's how long it took to get the wood, water, and dirt inside to all rise in temp as well. As long as there is little or no place for the rising hot air to escape, it should be able to heat it up.
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