Temperature during power outages

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Malaina

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I'm thinking of getting a bearded dragon, however, I live in northern California and we are prone to power outages due to fires. During the day we are able to run a generator but during the night we are not. The lizard would have to go without heat for nine hours whenever we have a power shortage which usually can last for a couple of days up to a week. During this time, temperatures can drop to around fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Is this okay for a bearded dragon?
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
50 degrees is too cold ---- they need it to be atleast 65 over nite -- they need the cooler temps at nite to sleep that and darkness --- but 50 is too cold - if the tank drops to that degree your asking for a sick dragon -- you would need a CHE ceramic heat emitter but that wouldnt do much good w/ no power - some others on here might have some suggestions but I would really think about it
Karrie
 

Malaina

New member
Original Poster
Ok thank you, would a heat pack or hot water bottle be helpful for keeping it warm?
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
Not sure a small enclosure yes but a big tank not sure - we can let some others weigh in on this
Karrie
 

Ellentomologist

Hatchling Member
Hi again Malaina,

As others have said, 50 degrees F for longer than a night or two is asking for trouble. They can tolerate it for short periods of time, but you run a much larger risk of your Beardie developing an upper respiratory infection. Most sources say that you run a risk of one whenever the nighttime temperature drops below the mid 60s.

When it comes to strategies to avoid temperatures this low in the case of power outages, you have a few options.

Hot water bottles may work, though to last a full 9 hours they would have to be quite large. You would also have to ensure that the surface temperature was cool enough that your beardie wouldn't be at risk of burning itself.

Chemically based heat packs are also an option, and perhaps the easiest solution. However, you want to make sure you are buying the right brand, and again, making sure your beardie has no chance to burn itself. There is a company called Ship Your Reptiles that sells awesome, long duration Uniheat brand heat packs that would probably be your best bet.

Honestly, though, how are you coming up with 40 degrees F inside your home (presumable where the bearded dragon is) from only a few hours without heating? I live in Michigan, and even when we have a power outage in the middle of winter, the interiors of my apartment, my grandmother's house, and my parent's home all remain reptile-friendly overnight without heating (assuming that they were heated during the day time). In fact, I usually turn my heating/cooling off every night at 10PM and turn it back on again 7:30AM as my daily ritual to save on my gas/electric bill, even during the winter and have never had it get colder than ~67 degrees F. According to what weather maps I've seen, your winters should be a lot warmer than mine, so it doesn't make much sense to me that it would be a problem.

My honest advice is to get a box of maybe 5-10 uniheat heat packs in case of emergency, but also get a thermometer display that records both the lowest and highest temperature it experiences over 24 hours. The first time your heat goes out during the winter, provide the emergency heating measure, but more importantly set up that thermometer near your reptile tank to see how cold/hot it actually gets. Heck, get a few and set them in each room to see which one stays the warmest at night! You might be better off providing no additional heat and instead just making a temporary habitat in the room of your house that stays the warmest overnight without heating (if it's not the room you keep your reptile(s) in already. It is for me, but then again my reptile room is always 5 degrees hotter than the rest of my apartment).

Hope that helps!
-Ellen
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hi there,

Does it actually drop below 50 in your house at night when there is no power? I probably live in a more mild part of California than you, but for that reason our houses here are not insulated well at all. And even on our cold nights which we get occasionally, temperatures don't drop that far during the night.

I've been in situations before where I had to keep my dragons in a garage many many years back. And it did get into the 50s in there on occasion. They did fine FWIW, but you are introducing a risk at that point like has been brought up.

What I would suggest is buying 1 or 2 battery backups (like what's used for computers and other devices) and keeping it charged up so that it's ready during a power outage. A typical battery backup should easily be able to run a CHE or other light bulb for an hour or so.
Something like this:
https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/accessories/apd/a9870993?gacd=9646510-1028-5761040-0-0&dgc=st&gclid=Cj0KCQjwhtT1BRCiARIsAGlY51IRsKXXgyWIZWcf-MvHD3F1E1FKioDwy4H6oKk8A7R2_qr5qqjDtc0aArpAEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
That particular one will run a 50w bulb for over an hour and a half.
Might not sound like much, but it might be enough to get your dragon through a cold night. You could always find a bigger battery backup too, although the price goes up obviously with capacity.

Additionally, you could buy a heat mat such as this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IDQD32Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It only uses up 17.5 watts. I own this particular one and it is great.

So, at 17.5 watts, that battery backup I linked you will run the heatmat for approximately 375 minutes if I did my math right.

The heat mat will be much better at keeping your beardie warm than an overhead bulb or CHE. And FWIW, the heatmat even comes with a thermostat so it will shut off and turn on at the temperature you set it at. I imagine if you set it to a point where it doesn't have to run at full power or constantly, you will easily make it the whole night on 1 batterybackup.

-Brandon
 

MrSpectrum

Gray-bearded Member
Malaina":2ldikg9d said:
I'm thinking of getting a bearded dragon, however, I live in northern California and we are prone to power outages due to fires. During the day we are able to run a generator but during the night we are not. The lizard would have to go without heat for nine hours whenever we have a power shortage which usually can last for a couple of days up to a week. During this time, temperatures can drop to around fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Is this okay for a bearded dragon?
I think both the direct and implied questions have been answered pretty well; what I have to add builds off some of the suggested remedies--insulation. With the right insulation, you could (theoretically) put a BD in an insulated box, put the box in a freezer, and take him/her out a month later no worse for wear.

I think it's a good idea to consider both Heat Loss and Insulation whenever buying or building (DIY) an enclosure that may be subject to temperatures outside the recommended range for its inhabitant. For example, quite a few people here have enclosures that are kept up to the recommended 80°-90°F with only a single (fairly) low wattage household light bulb. The reason we're able to do so is because the enclosures we have (or have built) have sufficient "R-value" (insulative value) to keep them toasty warm.

Without getting into a whole analysis/calculation, one simple thing might be to have a styrofoam cooler on-hand for use as a temporary enclosure (whether store-bought or DIY) for those extreme nights. If DIY, you could construct one with walls as thick as you like, or beef-up the insulation value of a store bought cooler. It could be kept warm with any of the previously suggested methods, and since it's temporary, you wouldn't need to worry about UVB for just a day/night or few.

Just something else to consider.
 

kingofnobbys

BD.org Sicko
There are 12V heatpads available for reptile tanks . You could set one up under a hide connected to a 12V 50Ah deep cycle battery permanently connected to a PWM battery charger .

Even get a 12V to AC inverter with a two outlets that can be connected to the battery and then to the basking globe or an CHE .
https://www.amazon.com/BESTEK-Inverter-Converter-Charger-Listed/dp/B07JJSW48V/ref=psdc_583328_t2_B00LWHL9XC

A fully charged 50Ah battery will power a CHE that's drawing 5A for 10hrs .

Is dead easy to work out the requirements using Power (W) = I (Amps) x V ( Volts).
P = I × V
I = P / V
V = P / I
 
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