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Old 04-10-2011, 04:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default lighting & heating - fire hazards

hey!

still getting everything ready for my man. it seems like i get something one day, then read a post & learn something better, & go back to the pet store to return & exchange. i think they're getting tired of seeing my face.

pretty much the last thing i need is the lighting & heating elements. i've read through the posts & this is what my shopping list look like:

llighting
desk lamp
cfl
timer

heating
150 watt che
thermostat
heat controller

my biggest concern is fire safety. fire is pretty much my biggest fear & i want to make sure i do everything to make sure that everything is safe. i read on one post about a ceramic something or other to plus in to the outlet for fire safety but can't seem to find that info now. any tips or advice will be greatly appreciated! i want to make sure i'm comfortable sleeping & leaving my home without feeling nervous about fire. (i know i'm a total dork!) also, does my shopping list look correct? anything i need to add??

thanks, thanks, thanks!! you don't know how much all your posts have really helped this new hedgie mom!!!
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Old 04-10-2011, 09:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

What type of cage are you using?

A ceramic heat emitter and thermostat is safe but you do have to follow some precautions.

Get a 10" fixture. The 10" fixture not only spreads the heat out into the cage better but the shroud itself doesn't get as hot. Make certain the fixture you buy is rated for a heat emitter. Not all of them say emitter safe.

The fixture needs to be wired to the cage so there is no risk of it falling. Some fixtures have little holes around the edge to put wires through but if not, you can easily drill a hole or use a punch and punch a couple small holes. Securely attaching the fixture to the cage is very important, especially if you have other pets.

Make sure there is nothing fabric or flammable that can get against the emitter. I've on occasion used a box made of cube grids to set over the whole emitter so nothing can get near it. Zip tie the box so it stays put.

An emitter operates much like a normal household light bulb except that it gets much hotter. It will burn out just like a light bulb. You want to make certain it can't ever fall into the cage, or outside the cage and catch something on fire.

A good thermostat is very important to control the heat output so you don't cook your hedgie. The wattage of emitter depends on what size of cage you have but in most cases a 100 watt emitter is all that is needed. For a larger cage, 2 emitters work better than one high wattage one.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

i was using a a guinea pig cage, but it's too small. i'm going to buy the supplies to make the c&c cage today. seems like most of you move to that cage anyway. thanks for the tips!
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

Just wanted to add that if your ceramic heat emitter
Lamp comes with one of those clamps you can can clamp it onto the side of the C&C cage you build but make sure you zip-tie the clamp part onto the cage because it tends to slide around otherwise.

I am seriously OCD about fire hazards haha, I check my heat lamps (a total of four lamps on 2 thermostats) every night and every morning but honestly as long as they aren't touching anything and are secured, I feel like they are safe. They will smell a bit at first (new bulb smell?) and if you a CHE lamp that has a built in dimmer they will sometimes make buzzing noises (this is fine too). I actually find the dimmers to be quite useful. The thermostat will turn your heat lamp on and off so it doesn't get too hot (definitely less of a fire hazard and hedgie cooker) but the dimmer let's you adjust how hot the lamp is when it's turned on. Also it is fine for the heat lamp (but NOT the heat bulb) to rest against the wires of the cage (just make sure it touches the cube grid part and NOT the coroplast part).

As Nancy said the bigger the fixture the more heat will spread, but you will notice you can get wire fixtures or the dome lamp ones, personally the wire ones freaked me out, they got super hot and the heat escaped rather than be directed into the cage. Either way, as Nancy said if you have other pets (especially cats - mine love the heat from the lamps) either keep them out of the room or put a cage over the lamp as Nancy said.

The other thing is keep your lamps clean, they get super dusty - make sure you cool them
Down before you wipe them down (I only use water, no cleanling supplies!) or you can just blow the dust of them when you notice it.

Other than that, take a deep breath and relax! Try setting them up on a weekend you're going to be home and then after the 2 days when your house hasn't burned down, you'll start to feel better!

Hope that helps, and don't worry, I STILL worry about my lamps most days and it's been over a year haha.
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

hahahaha, snufflepuff!! thank you sooooo much!! you made me feel a little less crazy. heading to the store right now to get the lamps & everything. i just love that i found this site!!!
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Old 04-10-2011, 03:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvnfitz
hahahaha, snufflepuff!! thank you sooooo much!! you made me feel a little less crazy. heading to the store right now to get the lamps & everything. i just love that i found this site!!!
Glad I could help Good luck finding everything! I found that the thermostat (I use the Reptitemp 500R) was the hardest to find but you'll find everything in the reptile department of larger pet stores and if not you can always try speciality reptile stores.

This forum is incredible I would be totally lost without it!
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

In regards to this topic I was curious - my CHE emits a smell that I can only liken to burnt baked goods? When I get closer the smell doesn't increase but I notice it as soon as I walk into my room.

I want to make sure that there's no issue with the CHE - using an 10" flukers lamp and a 150 watt bulb.

If this is just something to deal with, that's fine, I'm just petrified of the bulb bursting over my little man. I'd never forgive myself.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

I had just bought one of the deep 10" domes and it had a short in it. It kept turning off. At first, I didn't know if it was the bulb or not, so I exchanged it with one of my red night lights and it did the same thing. Worked at first and then it would turn off. I still have to call them and get my money back. I had to go out and get another real quick so Mimzy would be warm.

Check it with a different bulb and see what happens.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

I have a lot of reptile lights, and believe me, I've had a couple close calls. Fire safety is important, especially when you're running 30-40 heating devices, or even just one high powered one.

I set a lamp on the carpet once and accidentally kicked it on- 100 watts 2 inches away burned the carpet through within ten minutes. No fire, just heated up the cheap plastic fibers and burned to a crisp. Moral of that - use safety cages for your lamps.

I use wire cage work lamps, rated for up to 250 watts, but the suggestion before says 10 inch lights spread heat better- I agree. (Which is why I don't use them for reptiles!) They make cage attachments to hook onto the bottom of either fixture- get that too. It looks like a grate of wire mesh to go over the open end of the fixture. It protects all sides of the light. As mentioned before, always dust. Check your lamps every day- if you get lax on dusting, the dust can cause the lamps to smoke. Watch for anything abnormal with the lights. CHEs are super powerful, and have burned my fingers severely multiple times. Make sure it is mounted correctly so it cannot fall, and making sure all sides of the lamp is protected is ideal.

Make sure to set it up on a surge protector - everything in my house is on surge protectors excepting the laundry and fridge. One of my family members had their living room catch on fire from the sparks of an outlet in a storm from lightning strikes. Keep the CHE at least a foot away from any cables, as close proximity with heat can damage cables - this is the same for any space heater safety, since it produces heat so effectively.

That's all the advice I can give. I must admit that I have done stupid things and have a hard time always observing fire safety rules, as well as electrical safety. I have burned multiple holes in carpets, set off smoke alarms from lights, burned through plastic with heat lights and pads, caused a minor explosion when I accidentally cut an electrical cord in half that was plugged in and on, and nearly electrocuted myself and went into shock when I unplugged a surge protector from the wall that was still on (never do that, always make sure it's off!). But at least I can tell you from experience, be a lot more careful than me. Personally I prefer other heating devices to CHE since I've always had issues with them.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: lighting & heating - fire hazards

I think CHEs are great, I use them with my tortoises at 150... With hedgehogs I use a ceramic box heater set to go on if the room is cooler that room temp and find that works well too. I have at times used a CHE with the hedgies but stick to no more than 100.
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