Q: I am considering putting this product in our chicken coop. As I don't expect it to heat the whole coop I was thinking about mounting it behind the roosts to help take the chill off during the winter. We live in Alaska and out day time temps can drop to -20 for days if not weeks at a time. My question is what temperatures will this unit withstand and for how long, before it runs to long and will burn out? What else can you tell me about this product as the website does not give much detaiI. I am assuming this unit
does not get hot to the touch?
A: You can expect the OH1140 unit to give off and even laminar flow of heat throughout the entire 144 square inches of the heater. The surface temperature will be about 160 to 170 degrees F. We have been building the OH1140 since 1995 and I think all of them still are working. They have a three year warranty and we have never had to replace one because the heating element failed. Failures are very rare and most often are from a chewed cord, abuse or power failures. As I stated, the heater gets hot but not hot enough to burn when touched either by a pet or person. You will remove you hand or the pet will move away before it will burn. The heaters are completely sealed and easy to clean or disinfect. They are designed to be a safe replacement for wherever the dangerous heat bulb is used.
Q: What is the difference in the OH model and the SM model?
A: The only difference is where the power cord comes out of the heater. The cord comes out the top of an OH unit and comes out the side of a SM unit. The OH units are designed to be suspended and come with one (OH1111 and OH1116) or two (OH1130 and OH1140) 20 inch chain lengths and three S hooks for mounting. The SM units are designed to be mounted flush to a wall or ceiling and come with mounting brackets and screws.
Q: How close does the heater have to be to keep the chicks at 90 degrees? Also are there any parts that have to be replaced over time?
A: The Sweeter Heater is designed to be suspended or placed about 6 to 8 inches above newborn chicks. If you have a drafty or colder environment you will want to have it closer to them. Each environment is a little different, so you will want to be set up so you can observe the chicks. As the chicks grow you may want to raise the heater to keep them comfortable. The heater should be placed so the chicks can move in and out from under it to control their own comfort level. The birds will tell you where the heater should be placed as you observe them. As far as replacement parts, there are none. The heater is designed to be pretty much indestructible and durable. Most of the original heaters we built in 1995 are still in service.
Q: My concern is the 185 degree surface temp. I have Silkies and these are non-flying birds. However, I also have several breeds of chickens that "explore" any new object placed in their coop.
A: I don’t think you need to worry at all about the surface temperature of the heater suspended. Should
one of the birds get on top of the heater there is no danger of it being injured as the heater is insulated
on the top so the heat primarily escapes downward. The fact that the Sweeter Heater is suspended and
swings discourages the birds from setting on top of it. The surface temperature of the lens is such that
you can put your hand right on the lens surface. While it is quite warm it will not instantly burn your
hand, it will just become very uncomfortable and you will pull your hand away from it eventually.
Q: I don't like the way I am heating my coops and I am always worried about a fire. I wish I would have known about your heaters years ago! Here’s my question. I have a chicken coop that is 8ft long 4ft wide and about 8ft high. What size Sweeter Heater would I need for this one? My other coop is 4ft long 2ft wide and 3ft high. What size sweeter heater would I need for this coop? The winter can get very cold and damp here in PA but it’s the high winds that really make it dip. Thank-you for your time and great product!
A: What you need to keep in mind when using the Sweeter Heater is that it is not designed to heat the
entire coop. It is a specific area heater designed to heat the object under it with a soft infrared heat the
birds will absorb. The heater is typically suspended about 18 to 20 inches over the birds. For birds
whose backs average about 10 inches high when standing I would suspend the heater 16 to 20 inches
above the floor for starters. Depending on the environment they can be easily raised or lowered as
necessary by adjusting the chain supplied with the OH model heaters. By observing the birds you will be surprised at how quickly you are able to tell which level is best.
Q: I purchased your OH 1140 heater for warming baby pigs and it doesn't put out much heat. It gets
warm but not hot. I normally used two 250 watt heat bulbs and was hoping this would be a safer, more
reliable replacement for the bulbs.
A: First I want to assure you that you have purchased a product that will do a very excellent job of
heating your pigs if properly installed according to directions. The heater is designed to radiate very
soft heat down to the piglets under it. It is designed to heat a specific area safely, reliably and at a much
lower cost than the heat bulbs. The OH 1140 uses only 150 watts of power and draws only 1.4 amps.
Suspend the heater approximately 10 to16 inches above the piglets nesting area and let them decide if
it is warm enough. You are trying to keep the piglets body temperature at about 100 degrees. That is
roughly the same temperature as our body heat, also the reason that it does not feel hot. If the piglets
need to be warmer you can lower the heater a little at a time. As they grow simply raise the heater
accordingly. The piglets will tell you where the comfort zone is. You will very quickly begin to see the piglets laying under the heater without piling or competing for the same ideal temperature. We are not trying to burn the piglets like happens with the 250 watt bulb heaters. We are trying to create a comfortable environment that the piglets can lay under without competing for the sweet spot under a high intensity bulb. I am confident that if you give it a fair try you will be more than pleased with your investment.
Q: Our new heater arrived yesterday and my husband installed it in our chicken coop today. We live in WA State and it is rarely dropping below 30 degrees in the evenings, so I am perplexed why our large Sweeter Heater panel is barely generating any heat.
A: It is not unusual for new customers to think the Sweeter Heater is not generating enough heat. Most of them are used to using heat bulbs that create a very high temperature and are unsafe. The Sweeter Heater should be generating a surface temperature at around 160 to 180 degrees F. You will be able to hold your hand on it and feel it get hotter and hotter under your hand. At some point you will probably remove your hand. If it is heating, it is working properly. It is very difficult to measure the radiant heat generated by the heaters with a thermometer. We are not trying to heat the barn. We use a noncontact thermometer to measure the temperature of the unit. If you have your brooder set up so it is draft free, set the heater at about 5 to 6 inches off the floor for newborn chicks they will be fine. They will absorb the warmth off the heater, like sitting in front of the heat duct. You will see no piling and by observing the chicks regularly you will be able to tell how and when to adjust the heater for their comfort. I would recommend that you look on our “Applications Page” of our website and read the following information from Gail Damerow, who has published several books on brooding chickens.
Gail says, “The chicks in our first round are now about a month old and we have learned a few interesting things. I thought I'd give you a preliminary report on some of our early observations. First let me say that my husband is a trained engineer
retired from industrial equipment design; he finds fault with nearly every piece of equipment we acquire, but extols your heater panels as a superior product.
We set up four brooding units, side by side. Each is 34" across the front and 4' deep. The heater panels are toward the back. Feed and water stations are toward the front, with a light above them. We started out with 60 watt incandescent bulbs, which turned out to contribute too much heat, so we switched to 15 watt soft white appliance bulbs and they are just right.
With the light at the top front, the panel throws a shadow over the heated area, which is good for resting chicks. Having the panels toward the back causes the heat to be trapped against the back and side-back walls, preventing any possibility of drafts. The maximum panel height is 28 inches (limited by the brooder roof, which keeps in heat and keeps out predators). Current panel heights range from 12 inches for the youngest chicks (3 weeks old and the largest group with 33 chicks) to 18 inches for the oldest (5 weeks old and the smallest group with 20 chicks) with ambient temperatures in the mid-40s.
The first thing we discovered is that the chicks spend less time huddled under the heat, pushing and shoving for a warm position, and spend more time engaged in chickhood activities than chicks brooded under a heat lamp. We also found that - based on years of using heat lamps - we had to raise the panels more quickly than we expected, and during the day we opened vents to let some of the heat escape, even in cool weather. At no time did the chicks pile under the panels or
press away from the heaters and pant, as they do with an improperly adjusted heat lamp.
We find that each panel can handle about five dozen chicks for their first few days of life. After that, the size of the brooding area is the limiting factor. In a proper draft-free setup, this size panel might accommodate five dozen chicks for their entire brooding time (until brooding temperature reaches ambient temperature). We hope to check this sometime in the future by setting up a panel in one of our goat-kidding stalls.
Bottom line: The chicks react favorably to the Sweeter Heaters compared to heat lamp brooding, and we have had to modify our thinking away from the usual issues involved in infrared or incandescent heat lamp brooding. Because of all the variables
involved (varying ambient temperatures, number of chicks in each group, brooder size, regulation of heat source) brooding chicks always requires constant adjustments from one day to the next and one year to the next. We are in the process of discovering what adjustments are involved with the Sweeter Heaters. Now that we have a better idea what to except, we are looking forward to the next round of chicks due in mid-April, to learn more and take lots of photos.
On another issue: In the past we have on occasion had a heat lamp shatter when baby ducks or geese splattered water in the brooder. Although we do not keep waterfowl at this time, I feel confident the Sweeter Heater would be more suitable/safer for brooding ducks and geese than any type of heat lamp - an important feature to mention in your brochure. If you feel it would be of benefit to you, we will brood a few ducks after our mid-April chicks outgrow the brooders. Please let me know your thoughts ASAP, as I would need to order the ducks before it is too late for this hatching season.”
Q: Is the Sweeter Heater safe for my Goat or other animals that are around the farm?
A: I don’t think that there is too much to worry about with the heater as far as the goats hurting
themselves, at least no more than with any other electrical appliance. As long as it is connected to a
ground fault outlet like you would use in your bathroom it is much safer than any other heater that I
know of. The unit will not get hot enough to do any damage to the goat if it touches it or even chews it.
I would expect if he put a horn through it, which I think would be difficult, if properly installed it would
short out through the ground fault or it may just keep working.
Q: My heater is giving off a bad odor that smells like fiberglass and adhesive. Is it safe for my pets?
A: The condition that you describe is consistent with all of the units we sell. We are bonding two quite
different materials - the fiberglass lens and a tough Hi Performance Styrene (HIPS) shell. We are aware
that the odor given off while the units are curing is more sensitive to some customers than others. The
odor will dissipate in time, usually within a few days, but there is nothing we can do to eliminate the
condition and continue to have a reliable bond. It is much more noticeable in poorly ventilated areas.
We have customers using these units in several zoological gardens, aviaries, in exotic bird rearing and in
brooders, in addition to thousands of chicken and pet applications and we have never had anyone
indicate that it has affected any of their stock. I hope you will be able to be patient with the unit and let it cure out. Your birds will be fine and thanking you.
Common exchange from new user (1):
Customer wrote: I recently purchased a heater from you for baby chickens. I tried the heater today and it does not get very warm at all. The temperature under the heater only reaches 50 degrees in the brooder box. What is the easiest way to return and get a refund on my purchase?
A: Because we are operating with infrared at relatively low temperatures it is very difficult to measure the temperature generated with a thermometer. The environment is taking the heat away as fast as it is being generated. Keep in mind that we are not trying to heat the brooder; we are trying to warm the chicks with the warm infrared rays being emitted. The chicks will absorb the rays and be quite comfortable as long as the heater is set up correctly. I would recommend placing the heater against a wall of the brooder six inches from the floor for new chicks. I think the chicks will do well in the environment you are describing. Give it a try; I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well the chicks do. In the event that you do want to return them, we charge a 20% restocking fee less shipping and handling charges. The heaters must be returned in like new resalable condition.
Response from customer asking original question:
I wanted to let you know that I love the Sweeter Heater. I admit I was very skeptical, but my chicks LOVE it! Thanks so much!
Common exchange from new user (2):
Hello. I am possibly interested in one of your heaters for day old chicks and other fowl. I have a few questions
-What size do you recommend for 30-40 chicks?
-I would like to raise the birds in the barn instead of my garage. I hate how dusty they are. The barn is not insulated but is free of drafts, has doors and is relatively small. Would this heater work to keep days old chicks warm enough when the temperature dips into the 40s at night? I understand the Brines Eco glow has a temperature tolerance it can operate in. Can your heater operate in any temperature? If this will work for 40 degree nights, how low of an ambient temperature is safe to still properly heat chicks? I sell chicks and cannot afford to lose any due to cold.
-I understand this is less of a fire danger than a brood lamp. How close can it safely get to things like straw? Is there a concern with dust, or stray feather or piece of straw getting into it and igniting?
A: Your chicks will be fine in the barn. I recommend an OH1140 for maximum effectiveness. For the small difference in price you will be glad you went with the larger model, especially as you find other uses for it on larger birds or other pets. Place it against a wall (the chicks seem to feel more comfortable with their backs protected) or in a corner if the barn is cold at 6 inches from the floor for newborn chicks. You may want to raise it as the chicks grow. The surface temperature is much hotter than the Ecoglo which makes the Sweeter Heater much more versatile.
Dust, feathers, and the environment will not harm the units as they are completely sealed and can be washed down. If the unit should ever get knocked down and the surface enclosed so the heat cannot escape there is a built in snap thermostat that will shut the unit down until it cools. We have never been involved with a fire issue and we have been making the units since 1995. As long as the unit is positioned so the heat can escape there is no danger. You can place your hand on the surface and see how long you can hold it there, you will remove you hand before you can burn it. The same hold true with the birds and pets, it will not burn them if they touch it. There is a lot of information and pictures from customers on our website and several application pictures on our Facebook page you may want to check out at www.sweeterheater.com.
Response and follow up question from customer asking original question:
Thank you so much for you detailed email. Overall what would you say is the lowest safe temperature for chicks to be in under this heater? Could they be outside in the dead of winter? Additionally how many chicks can the OH 1140 comfortably warm? At times I have as many as 100.
Follow up answer: I wouldn’t recommend having them outside in the dead of winter but then I dont know for sure where you live, we live in Wisconsin and dead of winter here can be subzero for weeks. I would say that you have to do some experimenting with the units as every environment is different. If you just use common accepted practices you should be fine. The harsher the weather the more protection the birds will need. I would suggest maybe an open ended box or something if the weather is in the 40 degree range. Keep in mind the heater will not heat the area, it is designed to warm the birds under the heater, and it is not unusual for new customers to think the heaters are not hot enough.
Some of our customers tell us they can brood up to 100 chicks with the OH1140, but I am skeptical especially in harsher conditions. Just to note, the part number of the heater is pretty much the size of the unit, for example the OH1140 is 11 inches wide and 40 inches long. It will have a pretty even laminar heat flow radiated throughout the entire surface. You can sort of estimate the number of chicks that can cuddle under it. Keep in mind that the chicks will constantly be moving in and out from under it to feed and do their business. I would recommend getting the first one for the 30 to 40 chicks while the free shipping offer is running and go from there. If you need another for additional chicks or larger broods, we ship the same day so you are only a few days form getting you another one.
Response from customer:
That was very, very helpful information. Thank you very much. I purchased the heater last night. As a firefighter I am all too familiar with the dangers of the heat lamp, yet I continue to use one as I did not know there was a better choice. I stumbled upon your product quite by accident. With your safe product, reasonable prices and excellent customer service, I wish I had learned about your product sooner.
Q: I want to use this for my hedgehog and since I'm a little nervous about leaving any heat source on while I'm not home how safe is this? Are you able to hook up a thermostat? If so can you recommend one?
A: All Sweeter Heaters built since 2015 have a built in snap thermostat designed to turn the unit off if it should fall on the heating surface so the heat cannot escape. It will simply shut off and restart after the unit cools down. We have customers who use thermostats and timers often. We use one called the Lux Win 100 5-2 programmable outlet thermostat. It can be programmed several different ways and can be purchased at most hardware or electrical stores.