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  1. #1
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    Dimmer v. Thermostat for CHE

    This may be an ignorant question but is there a large difference between using a dimmer versus using a thermostat for a CHE? What about a rheostat? I am planning to utilize a 100w bulb with a lamp stand as the main heat source for my enclosure but I am concerned that a dimmer won't be as accurate nor as safe as a thermostat. What are your experiences and do you have possible images you could share of your set up to help educate me better? Thank you!
    Last edited by jakethesnake13; 06-23-2020 at 01:39 AM.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Dimmer v. Thermostat for CHE

    Quote Originally Posted by jakethesnake13 View Post
    This may be an ignorant question but is there a large difference between using a dimmer versus using a thermostat for a CHE? What about a rheostat? I am planning to utilize a 100w bulb with a lamp stand as the main heat source for my enclosure but I am concerned that a dimmer won't be as accurate nor as safe as a thermostat. What are your experiences and do you have possible images you could share of your set up to help educate me better? Thank you!
    Essentially a dimmer and a rheostat are the same thing: a sliding/rotating dial that adjusts the amount of power provided to that object.

    The difference is that a thermostat regulates the amount of power for you automatically by using a probe to measure the temperature and then adjust up or down according to what you’ve set the temperature at.

    There are on/off, pulse, and dimming varieties of thermostat. On/off simply delivers or denies power to the heating element when it get too warm or too cold. The other two adjust a bit more subtly and keep a much more reliable set temperature when dialed in.


    Here’s a small quarantine tub set up I use for new animals with a CHE. The thermostat probe is secured inside the tub at an area I’d like to be 80°.

    I set the thermostat for 80° and it delivers a minutely adjusted percentage of power to the CHE to keep the probe as close to 80° as possible. It’s generally within .5° +/-.

    I also use Herpstat by the way. I have a single jumpstart thermostat for back up in a pinch but have a herpstat 4 getting here Wednesday as well.

    Hope this is helpful!


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    Last edited by jmcrook; 06-23-2020 at 02:34 AM.

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    Re: Dimmer v. Thermostat for CHE

    This is absolutely perfect! Thank you so much. Do you also utilize a UTH or just the CHE? I've seen conflicting arguments on that as well.

  5. #4
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: Dimmer v. Thermostat for CHE

    Quote Originally Posted by jakethesnake13 View Post
    This is absolutely perfect! Thank you so much. Do you also utilize a UTH or just the CHE? I've seen conflicting arguments on that as well.
    You’re very welcome.

    With this particular set up, yes. The CHE is centered over the tub to give a pretty uniform ambient temp and there’s a UTH that sits under about 1/3 of the tub.

    This setup is just for quarantine in my cooler temperature bedroom and that is the reason for using both heat elements. My snake room is about 80° in the warmer months and would need only the UTH once I move the animal out of quarantine.

    In my other enclosures I have a combination of heat tape and/or RHPs depending on the enclosure type, size, and species being kept. There’s no one right or wrong set up per se. Only what works best for your animals in your conditions. Just be sure that all heat elements are properly regulated.


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  6. #5
    Registered User Caitlin's Avatar
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    That's great information from jmcrook! I use only thermostats, but I'd like to add one important detail about using dimmers.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 06-24-2020 at 01:02 AM.

  7. #6
    Registered User Caitlin's Avatar
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    That's great information from jmcrook! I use only thermostats, but I'd like to add one important detail about using dimmers. Dimmers are only safe if your room temperature is stable within about a 3-4 degree range. As your room temperature increases, so will your enclosure temperature. That means temps can get into dangerous ranges if not closely monitored. In other words, the dial on a dimmer is controlling power at a fixed rate. It's not adjusting to meet a temperature target. In order for a heat lamp or mat to automatically adjust to hit a specific temperature, you need to use a thermostat.
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