Is there a thermostat for hard-wired heat lights?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CityChook, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The heat light in my coop is hard wired. Is there a thermostatically controlled way (like the thermo-cube) to power it?

    I have 4 hens. The 6x8 coop is insulated and draft free with a large southern window and deep litter. I'm holding out on heat until it gets so cold that I'm losing sleep at night worrying about the girls. I've never had an outdoor pet in this frigid MN climate and I'm entering the season with trepidation. I'd like to have a plan B for when I "chicken out" on braving the cold temperatures.

    I just thought it might be greener/easier on my electricity bill if it's only running when necessary instead of 24/7.

    Any advice is appreciated. Cheers!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I would *think* that you could use the same kind of thermostat as they sell for electric baseboard heaters (you'd have to wire it in)... tho you should check with a real electrician first. Although one difficulty may be finding a thermostat that can be set low enough -- I mean, surely you do not want it coming on til temps are at or below freezing, right? And I am not sure that household thermostats can be set that low.

    A timer might be simpler. You could change it from day to day or week to week according to the weather forecast.

    Of course you realize that lots and lots and lots of chickens go thru real cold winters just fine *without* heatlamps, right? [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  3. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Pat - this is going to sound really stupid, but here goes:

    How does the timer work? How is it installed with something that is hard wired? Setting it daily isn't really a problem. Who knows, maybe I won't need it at all - I just want to have a back up plan.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:They make wired-in timers. Or you could de-hard-wire your heat lamp, if you wanted to use a normal appliance-type timer. Or, I suppose you could just shrug and get a second one [​IMG] (the fixtures are really inexpensive, esp. if you're just going to use a plain lightbulb rather than a 250-watt heat monster which you really don't need) and plug it into the outlet that I am going to guess you already have for plugging in your waterer heater (?)

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. plapczynski

    plapczynski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you just want to pus a brooder bulb in there...

    Look for a timer that will work with a kerosene forced air heater, the ones that look like a jet engine. They should handle three amps.

    A 100 watt bulb will pull about 0.833 amps, so even if your heater bulb is under 300 watts it should be fine.

    Here are two samples:

    Link1

    Link 2
     
  6. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I have an outlet for the water heater. I suppose I could always just plug in the brooder light in times of desperation. And here I thought I was being Ms. Fancy Pants with my hard-wired light. Shrug.

    Plap - Thanks for the recommendation. Unfortunately, from looking at the links, I have absolutely no idea how this would work with my light fixture. I'm not very mechanical I guess. And *assuredly* when I tell my DH what it costs, he will tell me that the hens can shiver.... But thanks anyways!
     
  7. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    ok here goes. you can get a timer that plugs into your receptical and then plug your light into the timer...

    or you can get a high voltage thermostat and wire it into your light circuit.. I have one like this wired into my hot water heat system...

    I would not use a kerosene heater because I am leary of carbon monoxide..

    I live in central wisc. and it gets cold here also.. last year I insulated the chicken coop and kept about 35 chickens in the 10 x 16 coop.. no heat except 1 60 Watt light bulb and their water never froze . they laid eggs all winter ,too..
     
  8. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    jvls - I wondered if there was such a thing. I have something sort of like this that I used on my brooder light to turn the heat down. Worked like a charm. I have a Fleet Farm here in the Cities and I'll look there to see if I can find a timer that might fit into my fixture...

    Thanks everyone. I love this forum!
     
  9. lendyseason

    lendyseason New Egg

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    I have a similar problem here in Colorado but my question is a bit different. I run a 40 watt red bulb 24 hours a day in my 8X8 coop...it is pretty draft free (except the door to the outside run that is 12"X12" )...I really like the temp I get in there and dont mind the bills BUT:

    Does a 24 hour red lamp at 40 watts hurt egg production ...ie: is it too much light? DO THEY NEED DARK AT ALL? They can get semi-dark in their roost boxes raised above the red lamp?

    thougts?
    LR
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I believe i've read somewhere that 24 hr light is harmful, but am not sure if yours is bright enough to 'count'.

    However, I have to comment that a 40 watt bulb is not giving you any significant heating in an 8x8' coop. The fact that it's warmer inside the coop isn't from the bulb, it's because coops are naturally that way (partly b/c of the body heat of the chickens, partly because any enclosed area will stay warmer than outdoor night temps).

    If you were running a lamp to keep combs from freezing in especially frigid weather you would want it *over* the roost, anyhow, not the roost higher than the light.

    Me, I'd just turn the thing off. I don't think it's likely to be doing you any good, and as you say, it *could* be not such a good thing for them.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     

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