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  1. #1
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    Ceramic Heat Emitter Suddenly Not Hot??

    Hey all!

    In addition to my UTH (connected to thermostat), I need an overhead heat source for my BP tank, as my house can be a bit chilly- especially during this cold winter. For the first few months, I was using 75W purple-light reptile bulbs in a 100W dome connected to a stand elevated above the tank. I am using a separate thermostat for the fixture and have 2 thermometers and hygrometers in the tank. I found the purple bulbs weren't entirely strong enough as I couldn't get the ambient air over 78 degrees (want it to be at 80).

    After some research and recommendations, I was told to get a ceramic heat bulb instead as they are supposed to be more powerful and last forever. The ceramic bulb came 11 days ago and up until today, it was working PERFECTLY. Ambient air was at 80 without a hiccup and was noticeably warming the whole area around her tank. I check her temps and humidity at least twice every day.

    Then, all of a sudden today I wake up, and her tank's thermometer is reading 73?!! All of a sudden. Nothing about the environment has chagned, everything is still plugged in connected to the thermostats. The ceramic bulb still seems to be giving off heat, but less powerful, maybe? If I put my hand directly under, it is pretty hot, but anything over a few inches away I can't feel it anymore.

    Does anyone know what happened? It's just weird that it was perfect for a week and then suddenly it's not helping warm the tank at all. Faulty bulb? Should I get a new one?

    I now have a small portable heater set up near her tank to get some warm air, but how long can the temps be sub-par? I may not be able to get a new bulb for 2 days (Monday). She still has her warm hide with a warm spot of 90- she's over in her cool side at the moment though.

    I have some leftover of the 75W purple bulbs I was using before. Should i hook one of those back up again?

    Advice would be great! Thank you!

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    Re: Ceramic Heat Emitter Suddenly Not Hot??

    Had to update- the problem is worse than I thought.

    After writing this, I decided to take her out for a moment and check the UTH and everything else. When I moved her warm hide and tested the surface with my temp gun, the warm side is only 83-85!! It's always been at 89-91 the entire time I've had her. Then I noticed the bottom of the tub is WARPED upwards!?! Like very warped- a good 2 inches upward arch in the middle of the tub. I have her in a 20 gal plastic tub, which I heard was better for holding humidity.

    But, now I guess the bottom is warping, so it is separating from the UTH so the heat isn't strong enough to come through the bottom.... I had to re-position her warm hide so that the majority of it was over the place where the tub is less warped and the temp was reading closer to 89. I also moved her water bowl over the place that it is warped so that the weight will press it down and squish to the UTH again... But i know all of this is going to stress her out. Plus i had to remove her logs that she likes to climb on to make room to move things around.

    Her tub is under a tall table I have- her own little cave- so I have placed a blanket to hang over the side of the table, creating her own little room, to try to help keep the heat inside her little area.

    What do I do now?? This has all been perfectly fine the first 3 months. I don't know what happened. Do I need to get a glass tank now? If so, I need advice with that, especially as I heard the humidity is impossible with the screen tops... Not to mention really expensive

    Confused, please help!

  3. #3
    Registered User SquirmyPug's Avatar
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    If the plastic warped then the uth must have got too hot. Either a problem with the uth or the thermostat. Where are the thermostat probes located?

    I'm not sure why the che would quit heating enough though.

    What brand thermostats are you using? For both heating devices to have issues at the same time it sounds to me like a thermostat malfunction. Have you had a power outage or anything lately?

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    Re: Ceramic Heat Emitter Suddenly Not Hot??

    Quote Originally Posted by SquirmyPug View Post
    If the plastic warped then the uth must have got too hot. Either a problem with the uth or the thermostat. Where are the thermostat probes located?

    I'm not sure why the che would quit heating enough though.

    What brand thermostats are you using? For both heating devices to have issues at the same time it sounds to me like a thermostat malfunction. Have you had a power outage or anything lately?

    Thank you. I donít think Iíve had any power outages or anything out of the ordinary recently. And I am home a lot except for when I am at work, so it is unlikely anything happened while I was away.

    I am using 2 Zoo-med thermometers at each end of the tank that are the 2-in-1 hygrometers as well. I am using 2 separate Zilla Thermostats (1000W) for each the UTH and CHE. They are all brand new- got them about 3 months ago. The tub is also brand new as well as the UTH and CHE.

    The probe for the UTH is sandwiched between the bottom of the tank and the matt (I was instructed this was the way to do it to prevent overheating). The probe for the CHE is situated inside the tank towards the top, but not directly under the CHE, a little off to the side.

    I even have them all all plugged into a large, heavy duty surge protector to avoid shortages or anything??

    Plus isnít the melting point of plastic around 300 degrees or something?! How could it have warped the tub if itís not getting any hotter than like 95?!

    I canít figure this one out

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    Plastic doesn't melt until it gets pretty hot but any heat can make it softer and possibly allow stresses in the material to deform it.

    How are you measuring the temp of the uth? You should be measuring the temp of the glass that's right above the uth. An infrared temp gun is best for that. That way you don't rely on what the thermostat actually says, the numbers it shows are just a scale to adjust the actual temperature you measure.

    Now the ambient temp that you're using a che to get you need to have the probe hanging. I like to have it on a wall of the cage right next to the che but about halfway down the wall. You will need the thermometer probe somewhere away from that a little to get the ambient temp.

    The temp of the glass over the uth should be about 90f.

    The ambient temp should be around 80f. And you should check the ambient temp in a few places.

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    Re: Ceramic Heat Emitter Suddenly Not Hot??

    Yes, I use an infrared temp gun to measure the surface above the UTH, which is why I'm so confused. I check it very regularly when she isn't in it and it is always hovering between 89-92.

    If that is the case, maybe the plastic tub just isn't the way to go? The temps are all regulated and correct, but the plastic still somehow warped. I thought I heard from enough people that plastic tubs are great for BP, but maybe I should just invest in a glass terrarium?

    Thanks for the advice on the CHE thermostat probe though, I will be sure to move that to make sure it is getting an accurate read.

  9. #7
    Registered User SquirmyPug's Avatar
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    As for the plastic tub, they are all different. There's tons of different "recipes" and depending on how they are handled during manufacturing they can have all kinds of properties. All that said, it could be the type of tub you got. Or it could just be THAT tub you have, it could be a defect or something. Or possibly even the uth got really hot for a little while because it has a problem.

    You just have to figure out how to isolate each thing to see that everything works correctly and is how it should be.

    After you found the warped plastic you moved the uth, is the temp where it should be now? Is the che heating ambient to 80?

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    Re: Ceramic Heat Emitter Suddenly Not Hot??

    Hmm.. Got it. I was thinking to maybe switch to another tub made of Acrylic or just look for a "harder" plastic. If nothing else, I guess I'll just switch over to glass.

    Yeah, since the original post, I've been able to keep the heat back up to 78-80, but only by draping blankets all around her tub. The warp is flattened out, but only because I placed the heavy water bowl over the bubble. To do this, I had to rearrange all of her stuff and take out the logs she had for fun. I think the warp is permanent without the water dish, as it was already hardened and not like "melted".

    The heat mat seems to be just fine as usual. Holding around 90-91 and there are no real signs that it's getting too hot.

    It might have just been a weird isolated incident, but I think either way I need to get a new tub/tank as the warp seems permanent. Oh well!

    Thanks for all your help and advice. Isolating each thing to sort of "dissect" the problem helped a lot.

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    Registered User SquirmyPug's Avatar
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    If you get a glass tank, I like the exoterra cages with the doors on the front. I cover most of the screen with plastic wrap then a towel to hold heat and humidity. It works very well for me.

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    Re: Ceramic Heat Emitter Suddenly Not Hot??

    Perfect, that's exactly what I wanted to know! I was worried about the humidity. Thank you!

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