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  1. #1
    Registered User Ashe9's Avatar
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    Question UTH safety question

    Hi! From what I hear it is pretty common practice to use foil tape to make a single use uth reusable by sticking it on the sticky side of the uth. I just did this for my bp but then had the worry that it is a bit of a fire hazard since aluminum is conductive. The UTH is regulated and everything and his bin is lifted for airflow, but is this really safe?

  2. #2
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    Re: UTH safety question

    I think foil tape is fine. I have used the HVAC type in the past. In terms of conductive, there shouldn't be any electricity flowing out of your UTH. That would be bad and dangerous for all. I wouldn't worry about that.

    The bigger concern is the UTH getting too hot because it's pressed closer and "somewhat sealed" now. However, if you are using a thermostat, and you should be, the UTH should never get hot enough to worry.

    Where is your thermostat probe? If it's between the UTH and the tank, it should be fine. You might have to adjust it slightly after you use the foil tape because the UTH will be adhering better.

    Any other questions, feel free to ask.

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    Homebody (07-31-2022)

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    Re: UTH safety question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashe9 View Post
    Hi! From what I hear it is pretty common practice to use foil tape to make a single use uth reusable by sticking it on the sticky side of the uth. I just did this for my bp but then had the worry that it is a bit of a fire hazard since aluminum is conductive. The UTH is regulated and everything and his bin is lifted for airflow, but is this really safe?
    When I used a UTH, I used foil tape to secure it to the bottom of my tub. I didn't have any issues, but I only used it like that for about a year. Then, I switched to heat tape which you do not secure to the tub.
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    Re: UTH safety question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashe9 View Post
    Hi! From what I hear it is pretty common practice to use foil tape to make a single use uth reusable by sticking it on the sticky side of the uth. I just did this for my bp but then had the worry that it is a bit of a fire hazard since aluminum is conductive. The UTH is regulated and everything and his bin is lifted for airflow, but is this really safe?
    I know others have suggested using foil tape on UTH- but personally (& I've been using UTH for literally decades with no safety problems) I do NOT use foil tape on UTH, ever- When those who manufacture these products provide safe guidelines, I think it's prudent to follow them.

    Note- there are many brands & types of UTH, some are more insulated than others, but any of them can have minor damage or manufacturing defects too. Now that you're asking after you've installed it with foil tape, only you can answer whether you're comfortable assuming the (hopefully minor?) long-term risk of having done so.

    Many years ago when I was very "new" at this stuff, I was using a strip of UTH ("Flexwatt") on a long metal shelf with multiple hatchling set-ups in a row (each housed singly), when I noticed that I could feel a little electrical buzz when I touched the shelf. Does that answer your question? I was NOT using metal tape at all, & this was on coated (factory-painted) metal shelving.
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    I know it's tempting to use foil tape, since it's wide & sticks very well, but honestly, I use duct tape. Electrical tape- tried it in the past, but it softens & lets go.

    Every set-up is different- Under my glass tanks, I also use other ways to keep UTH in place: I prop something (like a ceramic tile, which makes a good "heat sink") under UTH in the gap so that it's not resting on a wood cabinet base, & is held in place right next to the glass floor. Even duct tape can loosen in time, so if you use it, make sure you clean the surface very well (like with isoproyl alcohol) first to remove any film that prevents good adhesion.
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    Re: UTH safety question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I know others have suggested using foil tape on UTH- but personally (& I've been using UTH for literally decades with no safety problems) I do NOT use foil tape on UTH, ever- When those who manufacture these products provide safe guidelines, I think it's prudent to follow them.
    I agree wholeheartedly. While I did use foil tape on my UTH and I didn't experience any problems with it, I was never really comfortable with it. That was one of the reasons that I switched to heat tape.
    Last edited by Homebody; 07-31-2022 at 12:19 PM.
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    Bogertophis (07-31-2022)

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    Re: UTH safety question

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly. While I did use foil tape on my UTH and I didn't experience any problems with it, I was never really comfortable with it. That was one of the reasons that I switched to heat tape.
    Just to be clear, Flexwatt is also called "heat tape". It looks much like the similar brands sold by Reptile Basics & others. I've never been a fan (or customer) of the type of UTH that sticks totally onto the undersurface of enclosures. "UTH" is just the generic category.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 07-31-2022 at 12:38 PM.
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