Heating Enclosure in Garage

Trevor Ostrander

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I have read a lot of threads on using oil filled space heaters to heat outdoor hides for tortoises. I need to keep my hermann's awake for at least part of this winter. I have built an enclosure that is 2 feet by 6 feet by 2 feet tall. I have insulated with foam insulation but am finding it hard to maintain temps with 150 watt CHE. I was toying with the idea of using the optimus 6003 which is a 700 watt oil filled heater. I am just afraid of burning the place down. I have read so many warnings with oil filled space heaters in homes. Has anyone used these indoors for their enclosures? I was going to place this heater on it's own breaker since the breaker box is very close to the enclosure and run romex to a designated outlet. I will also use a proper thermostat rated for the wattage. I would like to place on the floor of the enclosure and place a wood barrier around it to prevent the tortoises from coming in contact with it. Does this sound safe? I know @Tom does this with his outdoor heated hides. Again I just don't want to burn down my house! Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

SarahChelonoidis

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How cold is your indoor habitat getting? A 700W heater seems like overkill for that size enclosure - unless you're getting freezing temperatures outside of it.
 

Yvonne G

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Far as I know, the oil-filled electric heaters are perfectly safe. If they get tipped over, they automatically shut off.
 

Trevor Ostrander

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I'm sorry I guess I should have been clearer. My main questions is the safety of these heaters inside such a small space. Most of the post I've seen have been in relatively small spaces compared to what the where made to be in. For example the manual on these heaters say to keep a 3 foot space around it. The posts I've seen looks like they are surrounded by a wood barrier with little distance between the heater and the wood barrier. My concern is since this is in my attached garage I want to make sure I don't have a fire hazard. @SarahChelonoidis the heater is 700W at full power. I was going to use it at the lower setting. It was the smallest I could find. My garage is not heated and can get close to freezing temps in the winter. I actually have two 2' x6' enclosures on shelves. Since this a very temporary enclosure I have surrounded the unit with 1" foam insulation with aluminum foil coating. Trying to make the best of the situation I have right now. I was planning on hibernating but they are not ready according to the Jackson Ratio.
 

Tom

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This is thin ice to tread. I'm not going to tell you what to do here, but I will share with you what I do and what I've seen.

I have a buddy who ran a full size 1500 watt oil heater in a 3x3x3 plywood cube that housed his tortoise outside. It was up against the wood on one side and almost touching on the top. No thermostat. It was on all night and off on warm days. This never caused him a problem.

I don't do things that way. I cinch mine mini oil heaters down and keep several inches between them and the wood. I even use a heat shield over head, though it really isn't necessary. I've been doing it this way for years with no issues to report. Mine are heating 4x8x2' boxes outdoors in below freezing temps.

Your plan sounds fine to me, but I also think it might be over kill and it will use up a lot of floor space. In my garage I am able to use two 100watt CHEs on a thermostat to maintain 80 degree temps year round. I'm using 1.5" rigid foil backed foam out there.
 
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