Need advice on Freedom Breeder

Hi, I am hoping to get some feedback. I am considering upgrading my ball python setup to Freedom Breeder. I’m currently using a hodgepodge of RBI, Animal Plastics and C Serpents. My issue is that I don’t have a heated reptile room. I’m in NJ, so it can get cooler in the winter. I know enclosed racks are more ideal for this environment, but I think a FB fits into my plans better. So here is my question, does anyone use them in an unheated reptile room? And if so, have you tried insulating the rack? What have you tried and how has that worked out? I know I may need to just stick with PVC as heating the room may not be an option. Thanks in advance!

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Welcome to the group Chris :blush:
I can’t quite answer your questions, but you may find this thread of some use …

Opinions On Best Racks


Freedom Breeder does custom racks,…call them and talk to them about your needs.

You can get sheets of insulation cheap from home depot/lowes for this purpose. I did so with an open air TGR rack in my quarantine room/closet. Can’t really say how well it worked because I didn’t do a before/after test. I’ve since got a little mini oil filled heater to keep the ambients up and dont need the insulation.

You might be surprised how well a $75 oil filled heater can do to get those ambient temps up. If you’re going to go the professional freedom breeder rack level I’d be looking into effective ways to heat the room. You can likely insulate one enough to get by similarly to the enclosed racks you are used to but I wouldn’t think of it as a permanent solution.

The main question I have is how cool is your room in the winter or even year round?

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I would hesitate to recommend this for a closed room unless it vents to the outside because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. I’ve seen and heard of way too many people using these to warm horse trailers/baby rooms in the barn and consequently dying of CO poisoning.

A space heater with a fan built in (one that just uses coils to heat up) from Walmart is what I use to warm individual rooms in my house. Cheaper, safer, and easy to use. And if it gets to hot you can change it to the fan setting.

I think you are mistaking what an oil filled heater is there is ZERO risk of CO2 poisoning with them and they are the industry standard.

They are the MOST reliable heater when combined with a reliable external T-stat.


I have a 27x12 room in the basement. On a 91 degree day in NJ, the ambient today was about 74 degrees. In the winter, it sits at about 67/68. With the enclosed racks, I have been able to keep my racks in the optimal temp range.

I was thinking foam sheets and some strategically placed velcro would make insulating the rack easy. May even end up better insulated than the pvc racks. I’m also planning on getting a rodent rack and breeding my own rats. I’ve heard they can bump up the temp in the room a little. I’ve also been looking into those oil space heaters/radiators. Though when I mentioned it to my wife she was worried about a fire hazard.

At this point I’m exploring all of my options. I haven’t settled on anything yet. I have had way too much free time to think with NJ not fully reopened yet… lol…

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Ah ok, I was thinking of something else, not a radiator style heater. My bad


Fire hazard had always been my number one concern as well, yet I used to run a oil filled heater in my old snake room 365 days a year (old cold basement) now I run it 4 to 5 months out of the year but during that time it still runs 24/7

Again the key is a oil filled heater (analog not the one with digital t-stat) and a reliable thermostat and no use of an extension cord.

I never had an incident that way but I can tell you I had 2 close calls with heat tape malfunctioning, to put everything in perspective.

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That is another thought I had and I’m not sure of the answer. I’ve wondered if the stainless steel rack and the way they do those metal heat panels makes the whole system less prone to fire. Failure possible, but fire no. It was another aspect that has been motivating my idea to switch rack systems.

Out of curiosity, how did you identify the problem and keep the close a close call? When it comes to this kind of stuff, I like to know what to keep a lookout for.

In both cases the smell while doing my evening inspection, I check and 1 tub was melted with a pretty sizeable hole in it, the good news is because I use PVC racks which are fire retardant it did not go any further.

The rack itself suffer no damage.

Now to come back to trying to insulate a freedom breeder rack you could actually increase the fire hazard depending on what you plan on using to insulate them.

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Here’s a photo of my old boa room with the same heating setup I still use. Oil filled heater run by a dual Ranco thermostat (one acts a failsafe should one fail). The oil filled heaters are very safe. I wouldn’t do it but you could put a piece of paper on one full blast and it’s not going to catch on fire. I’d be very weary of using a heater with fan/coils personally.


That room was large living room that I split with curtains and made half a snake room. I’d much rather had their own room since the heat ended up spilling out quite a bit… but it worked.


Most heaters with fans/coils have a dial that makes it so it shuts off once it reaches a certain temperature (it won’t turn back on until the coils cool completely), and they also have a failsafe for if they get knocked over that they automatically turn off. Been using them for years and never had an issue or needed a thermostat (I shut them off if no one is in the house since that is asking for something bad to happen). The rooms I keep my snakes in are too small to need an oil heater, and I also just don’t feel safe having something that has heat and electricity running to it that is filled with oil. If anything did go wrong it would have all the fuel it needs to start a large fire.

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