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Warning About Reptile Basics And Other Heat Panels

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by John Westlund, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. John Westlund

    John Westlund New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I wanted to share this information with as many people as possible as I feel it is crucial to get the word out about certain heat panels which have started fires in the past, and could potentially kill your snakes, destroy your home, or even kill you or your family in certain situations.

    I recently purchased 2 heat panels from Reptile Basics. An 80W panel which I thought would be enough for my 70"X24"X15" cage with a fairly stable room temp of 75F. However after running the panel for a week or so I noticed that it was using A LOT of power to keep the temps up. It also would shut itself off when being supplied 100% power after only a few minutes.

    I then bought a 120W panel. When I removed the 80W I noticed the plastic had "warped" from the heat. The 120W panel did not make much of a difference. The same exact thing happened with the warping, and also shutting off due to high temps. I contacted reptile basics and provided pictures of my setup/installation and they confirmed everything was correct.

    After requesting a refund of the panels, reptile basics has refused and stated that "I am the only one having issues." I did some digging around online and found out this is not the case at all. They use the same heating element that has caused many other heating panels to catch fire over the years. Hence why they need the thermal fuse to keep them from overheating. However, this fuse does not make them safe either, hence why they cannot get UL/CL listed.

    Here is an email from Bob over at Pro Products concerning the various heat panels made by Reptile Basics and other companies:
    I hope this information helps to keep others from wasting hundreds of dollars on inferior and unsafe heat panels as I have.

    The 120W panel from reptile basics is $109.
    The panel that Pro Products recommended from my exact setup + temps was only $135 with shipping. And it only uses 88W of electricity.

    The only reason I went with Reptile Basics over Pro Products was I expected the price to be around $300 for one of their panels, and many people have not had an issue with their panels (yet.)
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I have only ever ordered my panels from Pro Products, and I strongly recommend them for everyone. Their products work great, use little power, and have a very nice warranty on them (which I have never had to use). They never achieve dangerously high surface temps, or create fumes with their out-gasing, and they make a perfect heat gradient when used with a thermostat and probe.

    I bought my first one almost 4 years ago for my JCP. Now my reptile room has 6 of them.

    Out of curiosity, were you using a thermostat with your other panels?
  3. John Westlund

    John Westlund New Member

    To answer your question Dragoness, yes I have always used high quality thermostats.

    I currently use two thermostats per heat source just in case one thermostat fails and stays on. I use a Vivarium Electronics 200D + a Hygrofarm for the heat panel. And I have two others for my UTH.

    The reptile basics heat panels were always used with the same two thermostats. The probe I tried suspended 2-3" directly below the panel, and also 2-3" inches above the floor. Near the floor maintained more stable temps. However reptile basics recommended only mounting the probes 2-3" below the panels. I found this to be a very ineffective way to maintain a proper stable gradient.

    When I contacted Pro Products about probe placement Bob said that most place the probe at the cool side of the cage. Which according to reptile basics is dangerous with their own panels (because they overheat.)

    Here is the email from pro products concerning probe placement:

  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I typically place my probe on or very near my basking areas.
  5. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Great information. Thanks for providing that.
    I've seen the same issue pop up with fluorescent tubes and MVB. There's a reason why some products are cheaper than others.
    Certification labels are a must for reptile heating and lighting products.
    It's not just your enclosure that burns down.

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