Save Money, Electricity, Bulb, Etc. Put a dimmer on your heat lamp!


BYC Staff
17 Years
Dec 26, 2006
California - SF East Bay
My Coop
My Coop
Over the years and many times we've put our baby chicks and ducklings into a brooder we have the same problem with our 250 watt head bulbs: They are perfect for the Winter and when the chicks are new, but as they get older and/or the weather gets warmer a 250 watt bulb is overkill. Our solution is always to raise the bulbs up higher above the brooder.

Sure, we could go buy other bulbs that have lower wattage outputs (200, 150, 100, etc.) but they aren't cheap and we don't really want to always be swapping out bulbs.

Well, today I purchased a "Lutron Lamp Dimmer" that is made for installing inline to a lamp.

Basically you cut the cord in half (unplugged of course) and stick both ends into the switch.

I attached mine to a 6 foot cord extension (since my brooder lamp has a round cord) and it works like a charm! Now I can dial in exactly how bright I want my head lamp to be based on my chicks' behavior and the temp I'm looking to get.

I'm sure they make these already build into cords, but make sure they are rated for the watts you'll be pumping through them. For example, this one is rated for up to 300 watts which is plenty for my 250 watt light.

thanks for the heads up. I was wondering how I was going to raise the 250 watt bulb up every week as the temp needed to come down....I'll keep this in mind when the time comes...thanks again
gckiddhouse and ArizonaDesertchicks both used a dimmer switch to regulate their temperatures in their INCUBATORS!

And they both have chicks from my eggs to prove it works... almost as good as a thermostat!
I have several of the reptile light shields w/dimmer in line from PetSmart and LOVE them, they work very well. At $25 +/- they are probably about equal to a good clamp light + dimmer switch cost-wise and come pre-wired. Another wat to save $$$
is to use the lower wattage halogen spots. They put out lots of heat, last longer and are more compact. Disadvantage: they don't come in red.

edited because I mis-typed the price
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What an awesome idea!

I can't raise the light in my brooders so I had been switching out bulbs, what a pain. I'm going to look for a couple of those today and get using them.

Thanks Nifty!!!!
They also make dimmers that you plug into the wall and then plug the lamp's cord into (no slicing as I can be quite dangerous with a knife).

The only problem with these is that most places only carry the two prong version, but every now and then you find a three prong.

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