Double Door Night Box

Megatron's Mom

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Hi Tom, I am working on this double door enclosure. Then it hit me. How heavy is this sucker going to be? I'm thinking the hubby and my older boy are going to need to help me move this.
 

Tom

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Oh also for those just getting supplies. Well here in AR it seems dang near impossible to get 1 1/2 rigid foam insulation. I had to buy 1" and 1/2 inch boards.
That happened to me when I built a box for some friends in GA. I had to buy three sheets of 1/2 inch rigid foam. Tripled the amount of foam cuts I had to make!
 

Megatron's Mom

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That happened to me when I built a box for some friends in GA. I had to buy three sheets of 1/2 inch rigid foam. Tripled the amount of foam cuts I had to make!
Crazy, I guess it just doesn't sell as often as the other sizes. It would have saved me money if they had it. That tacked on another 15 bucks. My husband just rolled his eyes and paid the bill :D
 

Maeve785

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Have you thought about using a standard ceiling fan? By putting it on a dimmer switch, you can slow it down to lower speeds than its lowest setting. Switching it from summer to winter mode is also helpful for cooling. Additionally, there are ceiling heater fans available that distribute heat downward more evenly. Some of the higher-end models, if not all, allow you to use them with or without heat. Personally, I use a regular ceiling fan along with an oil-filled portable heater, and it works really well for my 20x8 shed. While computer fans might be suitable for smaller spaces, they might be too small for a room-sized area.
 

Tom

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Have you thought about using a standard ceiling fan? By putting it on a dimmer switch, you can slow it down to lower speeds than its lowest setting. Switching it from summer to winter mode is also helpful for cooling. Additionally, there are ceiling heater fans available that distribute heat downward more evenly. Some of the higher-end models, if not all, allow you to use them with or without heat. Personally, I use a regular ceiling fan along with an oil-filled portable heater, and it works really well for my 20x8 shed. While computer fans might be suitable for smaller spaces, they might be too small for a room-sized area.
A ceiling fan will not fit in these night boxes. They are too narrow and there is not enough height inside.

Also, fans cool us because moisture evaporates form our skin. Fans don't cool reptiles because they are dry and don't lose moisture through their skin. A fan in a hot tortoise box in a North American summer is just going to blow hot air around. It will not cool them, unless you are somehow pulling cooler air into the box.
 

Renee_H

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Radiant heat panel. You can see it here:

This box is 4x4. The RHP and Kane mat are able to maintain 80 degrees when outside night temps are in the high 20s.
Tom, for the single tort night box which is more energy efficient? This combo or the oil filled mini radiator? I’m draw to the mat and rhp because it won’t take away floor space. But energy efficiency is a goal for me.
 

Tom

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Tom, for the single tort night box which is more energy efficient? This combo or the oil filled mini radiator? I’m draw to the mat and rhp because it won’t take away floor space. But energy efficiency is a goal for me.
The radiant oil heaters are by far the most efficient way I have found. This is because the energy used to heat them up keeps on giving off heat for a long time after the heater is "off", because of the "heat reservoir" of all that oil.
 

Tom

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@Tom Do the doors fit inside the cut outs or flush with the outside wall?
This is a weird one. The first boxes I made were not insulated. When I cut out the doors, I simply used the piece that I just cut out as the door by putting hinges on it.

Once colder weather hit, I saw that the heaters couldn't keep the box warm enough, so I added insulation inside, and covered the insulation with plywood. I called this a retro fit, and its essentially the same thing I did with other tortoise houses that I built.

Once the insulation was added, the box maintained temperature just fine, but I had not insulated the door. I decided to make things better and more efficient by insulting the door. Putting the insulation inside would have made a 2 inch lip for the tortoises to get up and over to go out, and it just didn't "feel" right, so I framed the outside of the door, added the insulation, and covered it with more plywood. This worked fine for me.

What's the point of the whole story I just told? The inside of the door is the cut out of the plywood that makes up the outside front of the box, so it fits like a glove. I build about a quarter inch lip with the 2x4s that frame the doorway, so the inside of the door can't protrude into the box and sits perfectly flush with the plywood it was cut from. This looks kinda weird, but it works, its easy for me to build, and it does insulate well.
 

Megatron's Mom

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This is a weird one. The first boxes I made were not insulated. When I cut out the doors, I simply used the piece that I just cut out as the door by putting hinges on it.

Once colder weather hit, I saw that the heaters couldn't keep the box warm enough, so I added insulation inside, and covered the insulation with plywood. I called this a retro fit, and its essentially the same thing I did with other tortoise houses that I built.

Once the insulation was added, the box maintained temperature just fine, but I had not insulated the door. I decided to make things better and more efficient by insulting the door. Putting the insulation inside would have made a 2 inch lip for the tortoises to get up and over to go out, and it just didn't "feel" right, so I framed the outside of the door, added the insulation, and covered it with more plywood. This worked fine for me.

What's the point of the whole story I just told? The inside of the door is the cut out of the plywood that makes up the outside front of the box, so it fits like a glove. I build about a quarter inch lip with the 2x4s that frame the doorway, so the inside of the door can't protrude into the box and sits perfectly flush with the plywood it was cut from. This looks kinda weird, but it works, its easy for me to build, and it does insulate well.
Thanks, from the pictures I was thinking it didn't go inside.
 

seanbaker1

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Hi, I'm new to the forum.

I'm in the process of planning and building a similar (4x8) house for some large sulcatas.

I would love to see some more pics of the doors (hinge placement, open and closed from the inside and outside). That would be super-helpful.

It's interesting that you have no slope to the roof. I'm in so cal (inland empire), and we do get some hard rains in the winter. Sure would be easier to not have a sloped roof, but wouldn't the water just puddle on top? Also, looks like you just painted the roof, no shingles?

Also curious how you raise it off the ground? I was going to use some blocks or bricks, just to keep it off the wet ground.

Some of this may have been covered in the older night box threads, but the pics are showing in those.

Thanks Tom, sorry for all the questions!
 
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Tom

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Hi, I'm new to the forum.

I'm in the process of planning and building a similar (4x8) house for some large sulcatas.

I would love to see some more pics of the doors (hinge placement, open and closed from the inside and outside). That would be super-helpful.

It's interesting that you have no slope to the roof. I'm in so cal (inland empire), and we do get some hard rains in the winter. Sure would be easier to not have a sloped roof, but wouldn't the water just puddle on top? Also, looks like you just painted the roof, no shingles?

Also curious how you raise it off the ground? I was going to use some blocks or bricks, just to keep it off the wet ground.

Some of this may have been covered in the older night box threads, but the pics are showing in those.

Thanks Tom, sorry for all the questions!
Excellent questions! I like you already!

-I'll link the other threads for night boxes at the end of this post. There is an "exploded" CAD view that is awesome.

-Never had any slope to the roofs, but none of my enclosures are perfectly level either. There is always a slight slope one way or another. For years, I would paint all the box tops white every June, and dark every November. I think this prevented any rot or problems. Now I cover the roofs with corrugated roofing panels instead and that works even better. Shingles and everything else are too heavy. The lids are so heavy that my petite little wife has trouble lifting them, so I try to keep the weight down by using only 2x2s in the lid, and the lightest 2x4s I can find for the rim. I've never taken the time to incorporate those gas shock pistons, but other members have, and it seems to work.

-To raise it off the ground I lay three flat pressure treated 2x4s under each box. I've tried not doing anything and letting the boxes rest right on the ground, and even dug a 2-3 inch deep "hole" for one, with the thinking the the ground is warmer than the air on a cold winter night, and those boxes don't rot in our climate. Its so dry here all the time and so darn hot most of the year, that wood just doesn't rot on the ground like it does in other parts of the country, so you don't even need to elevate it.

-Links:


More questions are welcome.
 

seanbaker1

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Any chance you could post some closeups of the hinge placement for the doors, open and closed? The exploded view helps, but I'm still having trouble visualizing that part. Do the doors fit flush with the house?
 

Tom

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Any concerns with a lack of air when it's all closed up for a period of time?
None. Its not air tight. There are gaps around the door, and the door is open all day.

I'll try to remember to take some pics of the hinges and door articulation for you.
 

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