Thermostats in the US

bradley

New Member
Over here in England we use thermostats with every reptile we have. So if we want a 200 watt bulb on our chemeleons we can as the thermostat will just turn it off when it reaches desired temps. Do people in the US use thermostats. as I have noticed a few people not being able to get temps right with a 60 watt and too hot with a 100 watt. Why not just use a thermostat?
 

Julirs

New Member
Thermostats are good for keeping an ambient temp, but you would not want a thermostat turning a basking light off and on-that would be confusing for a cham.
 

bradley

New Member
We use pulse thermostats which do not turn the lights on and off they put less electricity into the bulb when it hits desired temps. You use the thermostats that turn on and off with heat maths and ceramics. basically things that do not give off light
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
With the right combination of bulbs I don't need a thermostat. My setup stays fairly constant and I wouldn't want the basking light to turn off even if the ambient temp is high. I'd just decrease the wattage of the bulb, which usually isn't a problem with screen cages since heat dissipates well. Reptiles need to feel the gradient imo for healthy activity.
 

bradley

New Member
I still have the correct heat gradiant the thermostat just controls the heat at the basking spot
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
We use pulse thermostats which do not turn the lights on and off they put less electricity into the bulb when it hits desired temps. You use the thermostats that turn on and off with heat maths and ceramics. basically things that do not give off light

Perhaps the difference between yours and our electrical systems may contribute to that? Your outlets run at a much higher voltage than ours. I dunno, maybe that doesn't matter but it's a thought... They're just not very popular over here for some reason.
 

bradley

New Member
maybe yes. Thats the thing we are told to always have a thermostat over here and hardly anyone uses them in the US
 

jojackson

New Member
Over here in England we use thermostats with every reptile we have. So if we want a 200 watt bulb on our chemeleons we can as the thermostat will just turn it off when it reaches desired temps. Do people in the US use thermostats. as I have noticed a few people not being able to get temps right with a 60 watt and too hot with a 100 watt. Why not just use a thermostat?

The problem with that Bradley is that having set your stat at a given temp, lets say 90f, your stat either turns off or regulates to maintain 90f.
So good so far, but you're setting the stat to maintain maximum air temperature.
Maximum air temperature is not the same thing as basking temperature.
Your reptile will need to raise its body temperature by exposing itself to temperatures above the maximum air temperature (basking).
Here comes the problem....
Our reptile must get within a given distance of the heat source in order to do that, regardless its 100watt or 200watt.
Since your lamp or fitting dosent move like the sun, once your reptile is within range enough to heat up above max air temp, the heat its exposed to will depend on the heat produced by the given source.
A 200 watt bulb will be considerably hotter than 100watt.
Since reptiles are notorious for thermal burns due to different skin structure/heat/pain reflexes being unlike ours, the hotter the heat source, the greater the inherent risk of a burn.
Some folk live in colder climates, like yourself, in which case, glass tanks are more common than screen (to hold heat & humidity), this means our cham under a 200watt is going to get very much hotter than one under 100watt.
While I cant say at exactly what temperature a thermal burn will occur, the hotter the bulb, the further away it must be to avoid that, the further away it is, the more heat is lost, since it rises, making using a hotter bulb than ness, uneconomical and risky.
Better then to use a lower wattage bulb, where possible.
Majority of US keepers use screen type enclosures for chameleons which lose that precious heat alot quicker, hence a lower watt bulb at a suitable and practical distance, maintained all day, allows US chams to bask safely without overheating and being forced to retreat to lower area of the cage, where regulating body temperature will be harder still.
Chameleons being arborial, prefer the upper reaches in general, so a 200watt scorcher will be problematic.
Why shoot a spider when a rolled newspaper will do? :)
Why spend money on a thermostat where its just not ness? With a screen cage and heat dissipating at a constant rate, your thermostat is useless, unless its pulse proportional anyway.
Different reptiles, different climates, different needs. :)
 
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pennington

New Member
Fellow Brit rights,

I use a thermostat to give my Chameleon a base line ambient temperature of 75+ and the warmer end and 70+ at the cooler end. This thermostat uses a ceramic heat emitter that gives off no light so I can use it at night without disturbing the photo period. During the day I use a 75w basking light that he can sit under.

I understand a lot of comments on here about no need for heat but when your house is as cold as mine I need to get the temperature up to at least 75 before I even think about adding a basking light otherwise he wouldn't move from it.
 

jojackson

New Member
All reptiles need heat Penn, no matter where they are, its just a matter of providing enough, safely, and maintaining that critical thermal gradient.
Insulation is another means of achieving that in cold climates (or hot ones) without danger of excessive heat, hence the use of Glass in UK .
Reptiles can't regulate their own temperature internally, so they are at our mercy.
Any reptile can quickly perish from overheating if they cant escape it, they cant cool themselves either.
If a thermostat works well for you, use one!
If its so cold you need a small furnace blasting away above the cage, then it makes sense
and is often more economical to maintain the ambient temperature of the room and provide less basking heat (while still keeping in mind that gradient), this might include insulating the room, covering windows etc. :)
 
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fluxlizard

Avid Member
I think we call those rheostats here, or proportional thermostats.

I use the latter for my incubators (spyder robotics brand).

The concerns over the 200 watt bulb in this thread are from misunderstanding of the role of the thermostat being used. Basically it works like a dimmer on the bulb and adjusts as necessary so you get an exact desired basking temp when the probe is wired to the basking branch. Put a 200 watt bulb on a dimmer switch and turn it way down and it won't put out much heat or light. Same principle is going on, but being controlled by the thermostat. It is not an on/off switch, but an adjustable controller like the dimmer and constantly (probably multiple times per second) makes tiny adjustments to the amount of power the bulb is getting to keep the basking site at an exact temperature.

All that said, although I understand what you are talking about, I don't think the benefit for me is worth the cost of the equipment involved. Basking temps don't have to be exact- they just need to be a certain minimum and not too terribly far above that (say no more than 10 degrees or so), and then ambient temps need to be a bit cooler than the target basking temp, and then multiple basking sites should be provided at various distances from the hottest basking site so the lizard can choose from a range of temperatures and find what it wants.

When I can look out my window and every day the basking temp in the sun in my yard is exactly 85 degrees or whatever, then I will believe chameleons need a basking temperature exactly 82.5 degrees or whatever and invest in a thermostat. Otherwise, I think I'm pretty safe allowing the lizards to do what they do naturally, which is move in and out of the light and provide locations they can find and use in their environment that are varying temperatures within their desired range.
 

jojackson

New Member
The concerns over the 200 watt bulb in this thread are from misunderstanding of the role of the thermostat being used.....

This was an example only flux, no misunderstanding the function of proportional stats, re the wattage explanation is for on/off types, and In general, reasons for different setups. But now that you mention it, even using a proportional stat with an excessively high watt bulb, still risk a thermal burn. In the OP's case he lives in the uk, its cold, we can assume it gets pretty cool overnight even if hes using a ceramic which will only warm the surrounding air some. By lights up in the morning, the rooms ambient temp is quite cool,
well below the desired temp. The stat switches on at full power with that very hot bulb and will continue at full power until the probe reads the desired temp, only at that point will adjustment be made thereafter.
During that time its going to be as hot as it gets beneath that bulb. The chameleon meanwhile will be at its lowest body temp
and basking beneath that bulb, which if its close, risk a burn, even in short duration if its hot enough at the perch.
First thing in the morning the lizard is at its most vulnerable. Further, you dont want the probe beneath the bulb,
your trying to regulate the maximum ambient air temp, as I explained earlier, not the basking temp, which
will remain the same, since the bulb doesn't move. Your reading under the heat source ought be higher than the surrounding air,
so your lizard can achieve a higher body temp than the surrounding air , which it will do in nature.
If you have the probe directly under the bulb, and the bulb is very hot one, the probe will reach the temp setting and, in this case, dim the power, possibly before the lizard has reached it desired body temp, which means the lizard will bask longer.
This is not a bad thing, but if thats the case, you may aswell use a cooler bulb to begin with.
In the case of an on/off type, it'll switch off before the lizard can reach its desired body temp, and in general, with this type, the higher the wattage and the closer the probe, the more the stat switches on/off, which waste more power than a lower watt bulb run continuosly, and will shorten the life of the bulb.
Pro's and con's to every system.
Re basking temps/thermoregulation, I couldn't agree more! :)
 
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dlegare

Established Member
Thermostats are good for keeping an ambient temp, but you would not want a thermostat turning a basking light off and on-that would be confusing for a cham.

I have my basking lamp on a proportional thermostat so that when the temp gets to 86 the lamp dims slightly. If the basking spot reaches 90 the lamp dose shut off. Its a safety measure in case my house gets too warm. At 92 all lamps go off except for the room lamp and a fan comes on.

I love Thermostats and have used them for anything from starting seedling plants to controlling the temp in my reptile room.
 

bradley

New Member
I use a screen cage with a 100 watt bulb that gets to about 100f and a 60 watt wasnt getting hot enought. i use the thermostat so I can safely use the 100 watt and not overheat the chameleon. If I didnt use a thermostat I would have to lower the basking branch which I can't see the point of loosing 7 inches at the top of the cage
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
bradley- whatever works for you.

In your situation, my solution would have been to add a second basking site to the enclosure, raising the ambient temp overall and the basking site temps along with it, and increasing the amount of light in the enclosure overall.

I say this not to be critical of what you are doing, but to just share another option in a similar situation. It is good to be aware of all options.

I commonly use 75 watt bulbs over my chams.

In the USA we have a lot of options for bulb wattage at the moment also (40, 50, 55, 60, 69, 75, 90, 100) because of current political situation of saving money and going green which gives us weird size bulbs plus the old normal sizes (40,60,75, 100). The idea is if 100 is good, try a 90, if a 75 is good, try a 69, etc. For a few months I couldn't find normal size bulbs at one point, but now I can purchase all sizes. But anyway the point is, here if 60 doesn't work, someone can try 69 or 75 before jumping all the way from 60 to 100.

I'm not sure anything needs a 100f temp at the basking site...
 
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