Heated pet bowl question

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Majus, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. Majus

    Majus New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I bought a heated pet bowl for indoor use, but it heats the water way too hot since it was intended for outdoor cold climate use. Electrical info on the pet bowl is 120V, 60Hz, 75W. It doesn't have any controls.

    I want to add a control to drop the heat level. A friend said I should not use an ordinary dimmer but use a unit rated for motors, so I bought what was available at my local hardware. It is a Speed Control, 5A/120VAC, for a ceiling fan.

    After I got home, opened it and read the instructions, it says it is for use only with split capacitor or shaded pole motors used in ceiling fans and should not be used to control receptacles, etc.

    I had intended to install the Speed Control into a separate box (but not mounted on or in the wall) with a line to be plugged into a nearby wall receptacle. The box would contain the Speed Control and an outgoing receptacle to plug the heated bowl into. The heated bowl uses a GFCI plug.

    Based on the manufacturer's instructions to not use the Speed Control to control a receptacle and to use it only with certain types of motors, is what I propose dangerous? If so, what is the alternative?

    Thanks,

    George
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,570
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yes

    Why would you want to serve your pet hot water?
    Are you making coffee?

    The water will become room temperture in a matter of a few minutes so why heat it?

    What is going on here with this pet?
  3. Majus

    Majus New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I don't want to serve her _hot_ water, I want to serve slightly warm water since she prefers that. I keep my house quite cold and after the water bowl has been out for a while the water gets too cold and she won't drink it.

    Coffee? No, she doesn't care for it.

    The water will _not_ go to room temperature as the bowl supplies a constant heat source.

    What is going on with my pet? She's got preferences, as does everyone, and I'm just trying to make her happy.

    All that being said, since you say what I propose is dangerous, what is my alternative?

    George
  4. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    A NEW PET might be the answer.
  5. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,570
    Location:
    North Carolina
    To control the temperature of the water you will need to have a thermostat that reads the temperature of the water and regulates the current flow to the heaters based on the temp of the water.

    To try and control the receptacle or the heater in the bowl from a remote location such as a switch box would require a probe to be inserted into the water.
    Without something to let the heater know when to come on and off based on the temperature of the water there is no way to control the heat of the water.

    As a side note; if your pet desires hot water over cold water it might be a good idea to have her checked by a vet.
    As a pet owner of many different types of pets and animals I can say with experience all of the animals I own will always come to fresh cold water.

    Attached is a couple of my pets here is a couple of the dogs and let's not forget the cat. If you would like I will post some pictures of the birds and horses.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  6. Majus

    Majus New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Thanks, jwelectric; those are the answers I needed.

    I opened the bottom of the pet bowl to see what was inside. Nothing but wires in a pattern attached to a piece of foil attached to the bottom of the stainless steel bowl with a component about .75 long and .25 across inside the heatshrink tubing which apparently controls the heat. The heat seems to be constant.

    I think I'll just abandon this idea; it doesn't seem to be practical. The heated bowl will go on **** sometime and the Speed Control will go back to the hardware store.

    As for your comment about the vet, she's an indoor cat and does see the vet if she needs to, but at least once a year for a physical and shots. Her drinking behavior has been constant for years so it's nothing new, and I have spoken with the vet about it in the past.

    I just thought I had a simple solution -- not the first time. Ha!

    Thanks for the pics -- beautiful animals, all, especially the cat and the Shepherd.

    Thanks again, and have a great weekend!

    George
  7. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I've got it!

    Install a large magnifying glass just above the pet bowl, so it catches the incoming light and heats the water.

    Attached Files:

  8. Majus

    Majus New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Uh, I think that's old technology; solar panels would be the way to go.

    Thanks for the suggestion, though.

    George
  9. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    Two of my kitties.

    [​IMG]
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The reason not to connect any kind of control to feed a receptacle, is that many devices which may inadvertently be plugged in to that receptacle will not work, may be damaged, and in fact could be dangerous.....if run through any kind of speed control or dimmer. You know exactly what you intend to do, but instructions and codes must protect assuming that anyone in your family, a visitor, a tradesman working in your house, or some subsequent owner, will have no idea what is going on there.

    Best bet is to make the bowl heater thing a stand alone, self contained in a box, and plugged into a standard outlet.

    It's your business, but I sort of side with the others who suggest you rethink this whole pet priority situation!!!
  11. Majus

    Majus New Member

    Messages:
    10
    That was my idea, to make a separate, stand-alone box not on or in a wall which would have only the Speed Control and one outlet for the water bowl and clearly labelled as such. This box would, of course, have to be plugged into a power source which would be a wall receptacle.

    In my layman's eyes at least, it seemed that it would work because the motor control would cut down on the power delivered to the bowl thus dropping the heat output.

    Since the box itself would not be physically connected to the house, when I move it would leave with me.

    George
  12. CHH

    CHH New Member

    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Why not just use an aquarium heater?
  13. Majus

    Majus New Member

    Messages:
    10

    I've never seen one. How do they work? Do they go into the water?

    George
  14. CHH

    CHH New Member

    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I'm sure aquarium heaters come in many shapes and sizes. The ones I'm familar with are partially submerged and tend to be fragile. For a cat they should be fine. For a dog, no way.

    Now go to a pet store or use google to check'em out.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  15. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    If you have a metal pan like the ones with space under them you could set it over a small light bulb like a christmas tree light or a night light. It would keep the water a few degrees above room temperature.

    I would put the pan on a peice of ceramic tile that is raised slightly off the floor. Increase the insulation to raise the temperature of the water.
  16. Warm water collecting airbourne particles in your home equates to a great bacteria culture.

    My dog always sneezes after eating fried chicken so I wrap him in paper towels before he eats.

    He also has a CD in the bank collecting 4.25%


    GOOD LUCK
  17. snafflekid

    snafflekid Electrical Engineer

    Messages:
    45
    I vote for the aquarium heater also.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2007
  18. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Unless your pet likes to drink out of a fish tank-size bowl, I would personally stay away from the aquarium heater. Fido or Felix would be putting his/her tongue against a hot element that has live current running through it. Not a good idea in my book.

    You can pick up a cheap variac for around 50.00. You just plug the variac into a standard wall outlet, plug the bowl into the variac, and adjust the voltage from 0-130 to get the desired temp.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2007
  19. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Placing a Terrarium heater (under bowl) might just do the trick. Keep it simple.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2007
  20. CHH

    CHH New Member

    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    The heaters are either sealed units or remote mount. The heating element is not exposed directly to the water. There is little danger or exposing a pet to electric shock. They are built to warm a tank full of fish after all (ok, ok, fish don't have toungues to worry 'bout but I think you get my drift).
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