Hello!  Welcome back!

A few days ago I posted the idea about a heat lamp used for chicken coops….remember?

light shield

Well, I went to the local farm supply store (it happens to be 1 mile from my house and also where I go to fill my propane tanks) and discussed this with the folks there since someone where *hopefully* use these or at least are more familiar with them than me.

Well, what do you know, but the guy I was chatting to about this just happened to use the exact same set up in his basement/crawl space!  Crazy, right?  I asked him all sorts of questions as he just uses it to heat the outgoing pipes from his tank water heater – so not exactly the same set up because the pipes I’m trying to keep from freezing are INSIDE my water heater.  Anyways, I got the heat lamp – it cost a total of $16 ($8 for the shield and $8 for the bulb – they were on sale!).  I also got a thermostat outlet but I had to purchase off Amazon as the farm store didn’t carry that.

So I got my heat lamp and wanted to try it out before I installed it (and I have yet to get the thermostat outlet).  I made a little experiment.  I set up the heat lamp outside on the chair and using the movable digital thermostat, put that on the ground about 24″ away from the heat lamp and monitored the temperature.


The exterior temperature was 60 and the reading after about 5 minutes of the heat lamp thermometer read 78!  Ok, so that will work on the exterior pipes no question but what about the interior pipes housed in the water heater.  What I found online was that heat lamps only heat the objects that’s reflecting it’s light not the air around it such as a convection heater.  So I placed a cardboard box over the thermometer.

trying to replicate what the temperature inside the water heater would be.

And in this set up – the temperature went back down to around 62 which was more than the outside temp of 60.  I guess a few degrees could be the difference between freezing and not but I’m not sure I want to chance that when it gets down in the teens.  =(

So, for the time being I’m going to put a small 700W oil filled convection heater in there with the thermostat outlet set to go on if the temp gets below 38/40.  Might have to experiment with this given the lag time a convection heater takes to actually heat the space.

700w heater

I think this is a low cost and low energy consumption option that will work for the time being.

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