Rope Lights for Heating--Shaul

greengrass12(5)December 2, 2013

I have a question about heating the worm bin from underneath. Specifically Shaul said, "Then I sealed the open areas around the pallet with styrofoam."

I guess I am a little concerned about heat build up in a closed insulated space since my set up is inside the basement. Let me ask it this way. If you did not lower the heat with a dimmer switch then the insulated space underneath the bin could possibly overheat to a hazardous situation. If that is true then what happens if the dimmer fails?

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I have rope lights as indirect lighting of a floor-to-ceiling entertainment center/bookshelf. They're attached in the rear of the thing and are on 24/7 and stay cool enough to hold in your hand.

I'm not sure the question would be about any overheating problem. Would they keep a worm bin temperate in a basement with temps at ?????


Patience, Moderation, Diversity

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:37AM
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Yes the question is about overheating. You probably have led lights which are only .75 watts per foot vs incandescent that throw some heat at 5 or 6 watts per ft. Using the incandescent ropes as bottom heat should be no problem. What I am wondering about is if you insulate around the lights with styrofoam so that the heat has no place to go but up into bins. Would heat build up too fast in space under bins without a dimmer to lower heat output. The reason I ask about conditions without dimmer is because sometimes a dimmer may fail? I will probably try this setup anyways but just wondering how others see this particularly shaul who has had experience for few winters.

As an aside I am using an old seed heat mat under the ends of 2 bins. I set the bins on strips of foam and a few inches of the bins heat up. One end gets to 80 and worms are in it while the other gets to about 87 and the worms stay away.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Great post greengrass1.

As with all techniques used with a worm bin, always deal with half of it regarding heat, food, water, etc.

Give them a place to escape to without bailing out of the bin.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 6:19PM
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My rope light is composed of tiny bulbs (not LED's) and is rated at 16w / meter. I have 5 meters = 80w. Now, while no part of it gets so hot as to be too-hot-to-handle, the total does = 80w and an 80w bulb is pretty hot; which is why I used a dimmer switch. If one is worried about dimmer switch failure, then just leave out the Styrofoam, or use rope light rated at a lower wattage, or use a shorter piece. What I did isn't carved in stone. I tailored it to my own needs and anyone is free to copy it (or not) and adjust it to their own situation. My bins are located outside and my system kept them toasty-warm (at around 80F) through two winters with sub-freezing temperatures and snow on the ground. Both my bins contain long-stemmed oven thermometers and by monitoring temperatures morning and night I was able to keep things comfortable. Although not often, there were times when bin temperatures would rise above 85F and it was then that I turned off the rope lights altogether until things stabilized.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 3:18PM
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Thanks for your response Shaul. That's exactly what I wanted to know.

I do want to insulate with strrofoam to optimzie the heat output so I think that I will get a 36 watt rope. I will also get a dimmer and even if it should fail the bin temps should not soar since the lights only put out 36 watts to begin with. I may not even need a dimmer using only 36 watts but I think that I will start with one and work from there. Looking forward to half price lights after Christmas and an increase in worm poo.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 3:57PM
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