Flex watt heat tape question

I have recently built a new rack. The only thing I have left to do is install my heat tape. My question is:
1.Do I run one continuous strip from one level to the next with approximately 45 ft of heat tape?
2. Cut 36" strips for each level and then jump wire from one level up to the next for 9 levels?

I know it says to keep the heat tape sections under 50 feet continuous. But I didn’t know if one Heats better than the other way? Would having less footage to heat work better? Any advice would be greatly appreciated so I can get this finished. Thank you

You can safely do either but three important things:

  1. Make sure your terminations are solid. You’re dealing with AC voltage so sparking and arcing can happen. Make sure they’re really cranked down and solid. Make sure you, humidity, children, pets, etc cannot touch the terminated areas or exposed bus bars. Regular lamp cord works fine.
  2. Measure with a temp gun 99,000 times and then measure again.
  3. Quadruple check even if you’re using a thermostat - 89 on a thermostat isn’t always 89 on the heat tape especially if you’re using an old janky mechanical relay thermostat. Get a nice one.

Each section of heat tape has to be exactly the same length with the same number of “black bars” (the elements). You can verify with a digital multimeter (DMM) that each section is roughly the same resistance to make sure they’re the same length, etc. Using a vanilla DC (not RMS) resistance is a guesstimate, though, so hit it with the temp gun 50 more times. :slight_smile:

Should go without saying: Never, ever cut through the elements (black bars).


I thought about this a lot when I built my small rack. I ended up going with one continuous strip so I wouldn’t have to worry about all the extra electrical cords, the difference in heat per level, etc. At only a dollar, it was well worth it to me to have Reptile Basics wire it for me. I’m certain that I couldn’t do a better job than they did.

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