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This is an excellent product for heating an enclosure. It must be set up correctly in order to be safe but we prefer it over premade heat pads. When designing an eclosure you must remember that any fixture that produces heat can pose a fire hazard; some more than others. Heat tape can be very dangerous both to your animal and to your home if set up poorly. However when used right it is excellent!
Heat tape is sold in rolls and needs to be connected to a plug with wires in order to function. You can purchase quick connects that make this easier to do however they pose some safety concerns. Over time the quick connects can become loose and cause sparks to occur. Those sparks can cause a shock to you or the animal and can start a fire.
We prefer to solder our heat tape instead. This is much safer and is not difficult to do. You can purchase a solder gun at most hardware stores as well as the solder that goes with it.
Heat tape must be controlled externally with a thermostat. This ensures that it can’t overheat. Without a thermostat it will run non-stop and become too hot to touch and can melt plastic that’s above it. Many rack fires have been caused by heat tape that was poorly controlled. Most people wire heat tape for a rack in series and then control all of them with only one thermostats who’s probe is placed the center of the rack. This means the middle is controlled but can not prevent the upper and lower levels from overheating. In our opinion racks should have a separate thermostat for every tub in it to prevent this from happening.
Heat tape should not be exposed to water for extended times. Soldering the connection makes this less of a problem but it’s still advised to protect the tape from water. If water is able to make contact with any of the parts transferring electricity it can cause a short or cause your animal to get shocked.
When using heat this product to heat an large space it will be running off and off for quite a lot of time. This will be safer and more efficient if your installation design includes a small amount of air space to allow the heat to disperse away from the source and out into the environment. Failure to do this step has been known to cause glass to crack!
Reptiles do not sense heat the same way as mammals. That means they have been know to sit directly on top of a heat source and allow themselves to be burned. This means you much provide an insulation layer between your snake and the heat tape so they can not be in direct contact with the heat source.