Heating pad experiment.

Python

Arachnolord
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Then end result might be the same but if you try to use a pet heat pad like you use a blanket style heat pad then it'll preform much worse than if you use it like it was meant to be used. It can also cause harm to pets if you use it incorrectly. Where as you can use the blanket style any of those ways and it'll do decent as it was designed to wrap around what you want to heat. That's why I think it's important to point out which type you are talking about when discussing the heat pad topic.


They are not meant to be removed and reused. The glue helps the pad stick to the enclosure surface to aid in heat transfer so they stick on pretty well. All the ones I have bought have noted they are permanent unless you're replacing them. Most of the time the elements get damaged when you try to peel them off due to the bending and the force used to break the adhesive.


Yeah, they were never designed to do that and can't keep up. When I did work on heavy equipment we used to use jet kerosene heaters to stay somewhat warm while working on large equipment inside and outside a big shop. Even those with their high heat output couldn't keep up if it was too cold.

In a 6x6x6 foot pump house my Dad has we use a ceramic pet bulb and a thermostat setup to keep it 42 degrees in there during the winter. Works great and barely runs since the pump house is insulated really well. Keeps the above ground pipes from freezing, cost very little to run, and doesn't burn out like the 120 watt light bulbs we used when I was a boy. Which you only knew burnt out when you woke up and there wasn't any water. :D

You just have to find the right heating solution for you and make sure you take into account the problems that can come form what you picked. IMO some are easy for new people to use and less likely to cause issues if you don't quite implement the right.
Oh lord! One of those jet style heaters would have burned that little shack down lol. It was only big enough to stand in and do paperwork, maybe 6'x5'. The radiator got moved out in the summer to make room.

Just to clarify, when I was removing the pads from the tanks, I mostly just wanted the tanks. I didn't care if the pad tore up most of the time. I have just cut the cord off to make it easier. When I was trying to save the pad I used a razor blade to scrape it loose. I have reused them (not on the bottom) but not for long. They usually got sold or traded with the guys I hung around back then. I did once wrap one around an aquarium filter but that didn't work very well so I scrapped the idea. Right now I don't use any heat sources other than what I heat my house with and it works just fine.
 

Trenor

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It radiates warmth on both sides equally.
Thanks, I can't but google translate made pretty quick work of it. :) So it looks like a standard heat pad similar the others I listed. Only without adhesive and it radiates the same amount of heat out both sides?

To me, both those things are disadvantages depending on how it's used.

If you're using it on the side of an enclosure or in a open book case it'll be a lot less efficient than one with adhesive on the front and insulation on the back side. With it sending out the same amount of heat from both sides you'll lose half your heat to the air. Without the adhesive to seal it to the tank you'll have to over come a bigger air gap (between the pad and the glass wall) to get heat into the enclosure. Gluing it to the side of the enclosure would fix the air gap but you'd still lose a lot of heat out the other side. That's why most pad makers sell them with adhesive on them and why most put more heat out one side than the other.

If used in a cabinet it will work just like a one I listed above. If both are placed low in the cabinet with the doors closed they should heat up the air the same as long as they have the same temp rating.

I've not used that brand or had a look inside but I image the guts of the thing is the same as the standard pet heat pad. Almost every pad I've taken apart over the years has been basically the same on the inside. There maybe some differences in manufacturing quality but there isn't any way to know that.

Are you putting it in between you enclosures like a lot of people do the heat tape?
 

Tim Benzedrine

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I didn't realize that we were discussing "human" heat pads as well. I don't think i would use one of those, I may be way off-base, but i don't think those are designed to be turned on 24-7 for perhaps months at a time or longer. But maybe it is perfectly safe, I have no cite that would indicate otherwise.
 

runCMD

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Why not use something like this with a heat pad on the side? Seems like for someone with only a few Ts it could work well?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016L7J2A4

EDITED with an even cheaper product. I have to think with one of those thermostats and a 4W heater pad on the side(which are mfg stated acceptable for plastic containers) you'd be in really good shape.
 
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Python

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I didn't realize that we were discussing "human" heat pads as well. I don't think i would use one of those, I may be way off-base, but i don't think those are designed to be turned on 24-7 for perhaps months at a time or longer. But maybe it is perfectly safe, I have no cite that would indicate otherwise.
They aren't designed for being on 24/7 however they do work and they work quite well. The upshot is, if they do go bad, you're only out maybe $10. I used them for years and had a few go out on me, no doubt. I kept one in a snake cage for over a year till a mouse ate the cord. It didn't even electrocute the mouse! Anyway, they always worked for me and they can be had at a fraction of the cost of pet targeted heat sources and they are really cheap to run. They also have a built in temperature control and what with temps not being as critical as once thought, there is bound to be a setting that would get in the right range. I have taken the cover off of them but I usually leave it on. A couple of staples through the inside of the cover on the back wall, slide the pad back in and you're in business. It works and there is nothing wrong with doing it that way. It also isn't the only way to do it. There are probably as many ways to heat enclosures as there are enclosures to heat.
 

Ungoliant

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I don't understand how a heat mat can get too hot. I don't know what kind of pads people here are referring too, but the one I have, and the heatcable don't get hot at all.
I would expect the reputable brands (particularly ones with UL Certification Marks on their products) to produce heating pads that are relatively safe when used properly. (I don't mean necessarily great to use on tarantula enclosures but safe from a catastrophic failure that results in fire or electrical shock.)

Misuse is likely the primary cause of heating pad deaths:
  • Plugging the heating pad into an outlet that provides power at a voltage and frequency other than what it's designed for. (Usually incompatible plugs and sockets will prevent devices designed for, say, a U.S. household using 120 V at 60 Hz from being used in Europe, which uses 230 V at 50 Hz, but theoretically, if you managed to get it plugged in, it could be unsafe.)
  • Choosing the wrong model, one that produces too much heat for the enclosure it's used on.
  • Not allowing adequate airflow around the heating pad (e.g., placing it under the cage, which rests directly on a shelf or table).
  • Putting the heating pad right against the glass with no buffer, allowing the tarantula to be burned when it remains in contact with hot glass.
  • Not connecting the heating pad to a thermostat with an automatic shut-off and then forgetting to turn it off during unseasonably warm weather.
  • Providing excessive heat based on an assumption that their tarantula has the same heating needs as the reptiles that they're familiar with.
  • In the case of tarantulas and other animals that instinctively burrow to escape heat, placing the heating mat directly under the cage (especially with no buffer between the heat and the enclosure).

Let's say you avoid all of the above mishaps. What about overheating of the device itself? I don't know how vulnerable these devices are to abuse or wear-and-tear. (It would be really interesting to do some destructive testing of common heating pad brands to see what circumstances result in too much heat.)

How exactly a heating pad could overheat really depends on what the pad is made of and how it works. Some guesses as to what could cause overheating within the device itself:
  • Failure of an internal thermostat or other safety mechanism designed to turn off the heating pad when it gets too hot.
  • Failure or removal of the resistor (if it contains a separate resistor), which could increase the amount of heat generated by allowing more current to pass through the heating element.
  • If the heating element is a wire embedded throughout the pad, degradation of the embedding material or insulation, allowing the coils of the element to move too close to each other. (This could increase the amount of heat generated by effectively reducing the resistance, allowing more current to pass through the heating element.)

Most keepers recommend heating the room instead of the cage itself out of an abundance of caution (and to avoid all of the potential ways to misuse a heating pad). Heating the room is really safer (and more efficient if you have lots of enclosures), but if you feel like you absolutely must use a heating pad:
  • Use only heating pads with UL Certification Marks.
  • Be sure to select an appropriate size and heat output for the enclosure. (Higher wattage generally means more heat.)
  • If the pad has multiple heat settings, keep it on the lowest setting.
  • Do not place the heating pad under the enclosure.
  • Be sure there is adequate airflow around the heating pad.
  • Provide a buffer between the glass and the heating pad so that the tarantula can't come in contact with hot glass.
  • Connect the heating pad to a thermostat that will reliably shut it off when the enclosure starts to get too warm.
 

Andrea82

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Thanks, I can't but google translate made pretty quick work of it. :) So it looks like a standard heat pad similar the others I listed. Only without adhesive and it radiates the same amount of heat out both sides?

To me, both those things are disadvantages depending on how it's used.

If you're using it on the side of an enclosure or in a open book case it'll be a lot less efficient than one with adhesive on the front and insulation on the back side. With it sending out the same amount of heat from both sides you'll lose half your heat to the air. Without the adhesive to seal it to the tank you'll have to over come a bigger air gap (between the pad and the glass wall) to get heat into the enclosure. Gluing it to the side of the enclosure would fix the air gap but you'd still lose a lot of heat out the other side. That's why most pad makers sell them with adhesive on them and why most put more heat out one side than the other.

If used in a cabinet it will work just like a one I listed above. If both are placed low in the cabinet with the doors closed they should heat up the air the same as long as they have the same temp rating.

I've not used that brand or had a look inside but I image the guts of the thing is the same as the standard pet heat pad. Almost every pad I've taken apart over the years has been basically the same on the inside. There maybe some differences in manufacturing quality but there isn't any way to know that.

Are you putting it in between you enclosures like a lot of people do the heat tape?
No, i only use it as a mini space heater and just put it loosely behind an enclosure, like the heat cable.
And although it may seem less effective, it does keep my inverts on good temps. And the question wasn't if it was effective, but if a heat pad was dangerous. Which, in my case is not an issue.
 

Andrea82

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I would expect the reputable brands (particularly ones with UL Certification Marks on their products) to produce heating pads that are relatively safe when used properly. (I don't mean necessarily great to use on tarantula enclosures but safe from a catastrophic failure that results in fire or electrical shock.)

Misuse is likely the primary cause of heating pad deaths:
  • Plugging the heating pad into an outlet that provides power at a voltage and frequency other than what it's designed for. (Usually incompatible plugs and sockets will prevent devices designed for, say, a U.S. household using 120 V at 60 Hz from being used in Europe, which uses 230 V at 50 Hz, but theoretically, if you managed to get it plugged in, it could be unsafe.)
  • Choosing the wrong model, one that produces too much heat for the enclosure it's used on.
  • Not allowing adequate airflow around the heating pad (e.g., placing it under the cage, which rests directly on a shelf or table).
  • Putting the heating pad right against the glass with no buffer, allowing the tarantula to be burned when it remains in contact with hot glass.
  • Not connecting the heating pad to a thermostat with an automatic shut-off and then forgetting to turn it off during unseasonably warm weather.
  • Providing excessive heat based on an assumption that their tarantula has the same heating needs as the reptiles that they're familiar with.
  • In the case of tarantulas and other animals that instinctively burrow to escape heat, placing the heating mat directly under the cage (especially with no buffer between the heat and the enclosure).

Let's say you avoid all of the above mishaps. What about overheating of the device itself? I don't know how vulnerable these devices are to abuse or wear-and-tear. (It would be really interesting to do some destructive testing of common heating pad brands to see what circumstances result in too much heat.)

How exactly a heating pad could overheat really depends on what the pad is made of and how it works. Some guesses as to what could cause overheating within the device itself:
  • Failure of an internal thermostat or other safety mechanism designed to turn off the heating pad when it gets too hot.
  • Failure or removal of the resistor (if it contains a separate resistor), which could increase the amount of heat generated by allowing more current to pass through the heating element.
  • If the heating element is a wire embedded throughout the pad, degradation of the embedding material or insulation, allowing the coils of the element to move too close to each other. (This could increase the amount of heat generated by effectively reducing the resistance, allowing more current to pass through the heating element.)

Most keepers recommend heating the room instead of the cage itself out of an abundance of caution (and to avoid all of the potential ways to misuse a heating pad). Heating the room is really safer (and more efficient if you have lots of enclosures), but if you feel like you absolutely must use a heating pad:
  • Use only heating pads with UL Certification Marks.
  • Be sure to select an appropriate size and heat output for the enclosure. (Higher wattage generally means more heat.)
  • If the pad has multiple heat settings, keep it on the lowest setting.
  • Do not place the heating pad under the enclosure.
  • Be sure there is adequate airflow around the heating pad.
  • Provide a buffer between the glass and the heating pad so that the tarantula can't come in contact with hot glass.
  • Connect the heating pad to a thermostat that will reliably shut it off when the enclosure starts to get too warm.
Nice post, but what exactly was the point of quoting me at the beginning?
 

Ungoliant

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Nice post, but what exactly was the point of quoting me at the beginning?
Just to show the topic I was addressing. (I didn't consider my reply directly responsive to the OP's post, which asked for firsthand experience of people whose heating pads had overheated.)
 

bryverine

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Messages
894
I would very much like to hear from someone who used a heating pad and had it cause harm. Then I'd like to know if they were using it bottom, side, if they were using the standoff rubber feet, had a rheostat, etc.

The heat bath idea seems cool but I'm looking for something that'll work for a display tarantula I mean to keep in a pretty enclosure in my living room. If I ever had a collection, I'd probably get some kind of display case with shelving and a sliding glass front door and heat the inside.
Recently(ish) replied to someone that said this talking about heat mats: "I keep it on the side of its enclosure and it (the tarantula) stays pressed against it."

@Python This is precisely how I almost lost my smithi years ago. She was stuck in a death curl inches from her water dish because she liked the warmth of the extra small heat mat that was stuck on the side of the tank (above the sub mind you).

Also from that conversation:

Logic behind cooking a tarantula with a heat pad:
1. Tarantulas use fluid to move
2. Heat evaporates/removes fluid
3. Tarantulas sure is dumb (get 'er done) and are drawn to heat
4. Without fluid, tarantulas can't move
5. When a tarantula cant move on a heat pad, all is moisture is 'cooked' out
6. With no moisture, tarantulas die
 

Python

Arachnolord
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Messages
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Recently(ish) replied to someone that said this talking about heat mats: "I keep it on the side of its enclosure and it (the tarantula) stays pressed against it."

@Python This is precisely how I almost lost my smithi years ago. She was stuck in a death curl inches from her water dish because she liked the warmth of the extra small heat mat that was stuck on the side of the tank (above the sub mind you).

Also from that conversation:

Logic behind cooking a tarantula with a heat pad:
1. Tarantulas use fluid to move
2. Heat evaporates/removes fluid
3. Tarantulas sure is dumb (get 'er done) and are drawn to heat
4. Without fluid, tarantulas can't move
5. When a tarantula cant move on a heat pad, all is moisture is 'cooked' out
6. With no moisture, tarantulas die
That's nice and all but just a couple of points.
1. You assume that heat is what caused your T's death curl, you don't know it to be fact. T's can and will sit in what appears to be a death curl just because. Look through the posts on here. It happens all the time.
2. You stuck the pad directly to the glass which, as I and quite a few others have already said, is where the trouble comes in. Glass contact is not what we are talking about.
3. I know that T's use fluid to move and I also know that they are fairly fluid tight, which is why their water requirements are so low. They don't lose a lot of moisture through their exoskeleton unless it is super hot. Desert species are especially hardy in this respect.
In retrospect, it seems that offering information based on experience is a bad idea. No one wants to hear it, especially if it defies what they have been taught. Much like some religions, there are people here who will not listen to anything that might disagree with their "learning" and anyone who says otherwise is clearly a heretic. There is a ton of evidence that heat pads are not bad, none that they are, if used properly. I've looked into it and that is what I've found. A lot of the naysayers are now gone from this thread because they couldn't prove otherwise. There are several people asking for proof and not a single shred has been provided. The funny thing is, all I got was hate for pointing it out. Look, I offered my experience and others have offered theirs. We have asked, nicely, for any sort of information so that we might have a better understanding on this issue. When the hate started rolling in but the information didn't, I even went on a search for the information to help the other side out. I couldn't find anything other than a single incident of a heat pad catching fire and burning a house down. Space heaters are far more likely to cause house fires, I looked it up. The numbers were staggering. I should know better than to offer any kind of information on here. There are those who refuse to change their way of thinking and that is sad. If they had something to back up their claims, it would be different, but the only thing they can offer is hate. I've been here for over a decade and I've seen a lot in that time. I've been in the hobby longer than some of these people have been alive. I have experience. I have knowledge. Just because it's not something that someone else learned, it doesn't make it wrong. I think the sooner some of these people realize that they are not the ultimate authority on T's the better off the hobby will be. Climb down off your egos folks, there might be something new to learn if you only give it a chance.
 

bryverine

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Messages
894
That's nice and all but just a couple of points.
1. You assume that heat is what caused your T's death curl, you don't know it to be fact. T's can and will sit in what appears to be a death curl just because. Look through the posts on here. It happens all the time.
2. You stuck the pad directly to the glass which, as I and quite a few others have already said, is where the trouble comes in. Glass contact is not what we are talking about.
3. I know that T's use fluid to move and I also know that they are fairly fluid tight, which is why their water requirements are so low. They don't lose a lot of moisture through their exoskeleton unless it is super hot. Desert species are especially hardy in this respect.
In retrospect, it seems that offering information based on experience is a bad idea. No one wants to hear it, especially if it defies what they have been taught. Much like some religions, there are people here who will not listen to anything that might disagree with their "learning" and anyone who says otherwise is clearly a heretic. There is a ton of evidence that heat pads are not bad, none that they are, if used properly. I've looked into it and that is what I've found. A lot of the naysayers are now gone from this thread because they couldn't prove otherwise. There are several people asking for proof and not a single shred has been provided. The funny thing is, all I got was hate for pointing it out. Look, I offered my experience and others have offered theirs. We have asked, nicely, for any sort of information so that we might have a better understanding on this issue. When the hate started rolling in but the information didn't, I even went on a search for the information to help the other side out. I couldn't find anything other than a single incident of a heat pad catching fire and burning a house down. Space heaters are far more likely to cause house fires, I looked it up. The numbers were staggering. I should know better than to offer any kind of information on here. There are those who refuse to change their way of thinking and that is sad. If they had something to back up their claims, it would be different, but the only thing they can offer is hate. I've been here for over a decade and I've seen a lot in that time. I've been in the hobby longer than some of these people have been alive. I have experience. I have knowledge. Just because it's not something that someone else learned, it doesn't make it wrong. I think the sooner some of these people realize that they are not the ultimate authority on T's the better off the hobby will be. Climb down off your egos folks, there might be something new to learn if you only give it a chance.
I'm curious what else you think could have caused that death curl or her to play dead enough for me to pick her up by hand without moving.

OP said 4W heat pad. I've only found reptile heat pads that are made to stick on tanks with this wattage but we're not taking about those?

While it's not their intended use, I'm not opposed to using the ones I assumed OP was taking about as radiant heaters.
 

Andrea82

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Messages
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Recently(ish) replied to someone that said this talking about heat mats: "I keep it on the side of its enclosure and it (the tarantula) stays pressed against it."

@Python This is precisely how I alm"t my smithi years ago. She was stuck in a death curl inches from her water dish because she liked the warmth of the extra small heat mat that was stuck on the side of the tank (above the sub mind you).

Also from that conversation:

Logic behind cooking a tarantula with a heat pad:
1. Tarantulas use fluid to move
2. Heat evaporates/removes fluid
3. Tarantulas sure is dumb (get 'er done) and are drawn to heat
4. Without fluid, tarantulas can't move
5. When a tarantula cant move on a heat pad, all is moisture is 'cooked' out
6. With no moisture, tarantulas die
I'm really sorry your T died. But the heat pad i am talking about is not the same as the one you were using. Heat pads are not inherently bad all by themselves.
It is misuse that causes a lot of trouble, and using the WRONG kind of mat. I'm not, i repeat, i am NOT saying you are to blame for its death by using a mat. But it is not right to say all mats are bad and T's die solely because of them, that is simply not true.
It is the manufacturers fault for not stating the correct use and or cautions on the product, and the sellers/lps fault for not informing buyers that not all heat mats are safe.
 

Python

Arachnolord
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Messages
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I'm curious what else you think could have caused that death curl or her to play dead enough for me to pick her up by hand without moving.

OP said 4W heat pad. I've only found reptile heat pads that are made to stick on tanks with this wattage but we're not taking about those?

While it's not their intended use, I'm not opposed to using the ones I assumed OP was taking about as radiant heaters.
I really couldn't say what caused the death curl. I've had T's die without any apparent cause and I'm sure everyone who has had more than a few can say the same.

Just because a heat pad is made to stick on a tank does not mean it has to be. I have never stuck one to a tank but I have stuck them to nearby surfaces. When I first became exposed to heat pads almost 30 years ago (they were all the rage for reptiles), I was told by those with more knowledge than me to wrap them in a towel and sit the tank on that instead of stick them to the glass. I heard horror stories of shattered glass and that was enough to keep me from using them for a long time. When I finally did use one, I wrapped it in a beach towel and stuck it under one end of a 20 long. It looked ridiculous and lopsided as all get out but it did diffuse the heat rather effectively. I kept it that way for probably less than a week before I scrapped it and started over.

All that aside, no matter what a heat pads intended use, they all work the same way, wires sandwiched between layers of plastic heat up when current is applied. The biggest difference is the electrical ratings. The result is the same, plug them in and they all heat up. If you plug them up ahead of time, you can figure out how far to keep them from whatever it is yiu are trying to heat. One thing I never do though is direct contact with the enclosure. Using that one simple rule, I have never had a problem

Something just occured to me. It may seem like I am advocating the use of heat pads but in fact, nothing could further from the truth. I am advocating open mindedness. Don't discount an idea just because you've always heard that it's bad, especially if the people you heard it from have no first hand experience. I've noticed that most of the people who swear they are bad have openly stated that they've never used one. To me, experience counts and until I can find some sort of evidence to the contrary, I can only go off of my own experience. If evidence does surface however, I will incorporate that into the information that I now have and I'll rethink the whole thing.
 
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runCMD

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Again, doesn't a thermostat in the enclosure that powers the pad resolve all of this? Of course once your enclosure count starts building up I can see it being much more economical to heat the room - but a little common sense tells me that monitoring and control of the unit with a thermostat could solve any problems people have brought up about them, even if it was directly on the enclosure.
 

Venom1080

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you make interesting points for sure.. still, a space heater is far superior once your collection gets bigger.
 

runCMD

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Meh lol why risk it when theres other options lol :)
What good option do you propose for someone with a 2000 sq foot house they don't want to keep warm all the time and only one T?
 
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