Sabrina Schirtzinger, ANR Educator Knox County
As temperatures get cold livestock owners search for ways to keep their livestock warm. Often livestock owners are in a hurry and think hanging a heat lamp will be temporary. In a hurry they quickly hang the heat lamp up in the corner of a stall using baling twine to keep a newborn kid or day-old chicks warm for the night. This is an accident waiting to happen! With any electrical appliance or heating source they need to be used carefully.
If you must use a heat lamp, follow these tips:
- Purchase a quality heat lamp. Use lamps that are enclosed with a heat lamp guard. If using a lamp outdoors, make sure the lamp is labeled for outdoor use.
- Use high- quality bulbs. Low quality bulbs such as thin glass can shatter.
- Periodically check to make sure that the bulb is tightly secured.
- Avoid using bulbs over 250W.
- Secure the lamp to a panel using chain or a heat lamp clamp. Recommended distance from the lamp to ground or livestock is 20”.
- Make sure the lamp is secured high enough that adult livestock cannot abuse (head butt, kick, or bash) the fixture.
- Plug your heat lamp into an Arc Fault Interrupter breaker which will trip if the fixture sparks.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the barn in case a problem arises.
- Install a loud smoke detector that can be heard at the house that will help to alert you of a fire.
- Never lay a heat lamp on a flammable surface.
There will be cases where you cannot avoid using a heat lamp. In those situations, never leave a heat lamp unattended overnight.
Sabrina Schirtzinger, ANR Educator Knox County, can be reached at 740-397-0401 or Schirtzinger.firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team, https://agsafety.osu.edu/.