Under Tank Heater Safety Precautions [5 Pro Tips]

An under-tank heater is an electric appliance. So, it carries the risk of catching fire. And it’s the first concern of every homeowner who has an aquarium, reptile, or snake cage and uses an under-tank heater to heat their pets. 

To ensure the under-tank heater’s safety while running it, you should maintain the do’s and don’t to avoid any possible accidents.

But not every enthusiastic pet owner is not aware of the safety tips for running & using under-tank heaters as they are concerned about the wall heater’s safety issues

Here we have compiled a list of under-tank heater safety tips to make those careless heat owners careful to prevent possible fire hazards. So, stick with us till the end of this guide. 

Under Tank Heater Safety Precautions [5 Pro Tips]

Maintain the following tips that help you to use an under-tank heater safely and keep your reptiles, snakes, or fishes toasty on the chilly days of winter. 

Install the Under-Tank Heater Properly

Start from the basics to ensure safety! The most effective way to avoid any fire hazards is to install the under-tank heater according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

For example, you can’t use newspapers, clothes, paper towels, or other paper products as bedding over the heat mat. If you use any of them, there is a possibility of catching fire. 

For a side-terrarium mounting, you must keep at least 1/2″ space as the clearance between the wall and the backside of the mounting heat mat. 

Indeed, installing the under-tank heater according to the manual guide will help to prevent potential safety hazards. 

Use With A Thermostat

When you use the under-tank heater with a thermostat, it will be safe. A thermostat will help to prevent any potential fire hazards by shutting the unit off if the heater gets overheated. Indeed, there is no risk if the heater is on a thermostat. Also, make sure you keep the heater in a well-ventilated area. 

Keep the Heater Away From Flammable Stuff

Never keep any flammable materials like paper, paper towels, or cloth close to your under-tank heater. Otherwise, it may catch fire, even burn your entire house. Also, ensure you don’t use any flammable stuff as your heater mat bedding. 

Each under-tank heater is specially designed for external use on glass terrariums only. You can’t use the heater with acrylic, metals, plastic, wood, and fiberglass enclosures. 

Elevate it Slightly

Every under-tank heater comes with legs to raise the heater from the surface. Installing the heater with feet, you can keep them on a computer desk without any fear of catching fire.

Also, you can use some cardboard under two corners on the hot end to lift the heater from a wooden surface. It will perform the best and causes no burn. 

Is it Safe to Put an Under-Tank Heater On a Carpeted Floor?

Unfortunately, you can’t put your under-tank heater on the carpeted floor. If you do so, it’s guaranteed to burn through your carpet and it will melt down the carpet. 

Keep in mind; carpets are designed to use in open-air spaces to let them function properly. So, you can’t put the carpet under the under-tank heater. Otherwise, it’s a catastrophic meltdown and can kill your snake by burning. 


Do reptile heating pads cause fires?

No, reptile heating pads never cause fires if you use the heater with a thermostat. The thermostat will shut the unit down automatically if the heater gets overheated. 

Where should I place my under-tank heater?

It depends on the purpose of using the under-tank heater. For example, if you buy an under-tank heater for heating your home aquarium, install it close to the maximum water flow. On the other hand, you can place the heater under the glass terrarium or mount it on the side of the terrarium for heating your reptiles or snakes. 

Can you put an under-tank heater on the side?

Yes, you can put an under-tank heater on the side of the tank or under the tank based on your setup. 

Do under-tank heaters need a thermostat?

Yes, under-tank heaters need a thermostat to prevent any potential fire accidents. It will turn the heater off automatically if the unit gets overheated. 

How long do under-tank heaters last?

An under-tank heater can last up to 1-5 years. 


Under-tank heaters are generally safe if you take proper precautions and install them according to the manual guide. Always keep the unit out of contact with any flammable stuff. 

Also, you can follow the under-tank safety tips we mentioned above to avoid any potential fire accidents. If your heater starts malfunctioning, don’t hesitate to call a professional to help you out. 

About William

William is the founder of Fireplacehubs.com. He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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