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Choosing a Heating System for your Kennel or Cattery


The choice of a suitable heating system is an important matter for anyone designing, building or refurbishing a kennels or cattery. The main points to consider are:-

1. Provision of an adequate degree of warmth and comfort for the animals.

2. Reasonable capital cost, as regards both equipment and installation.

3. Reasonable running costs.

4. Ease of maintenance.

5. Floor and walls to be unobstructed for ease of cleaning.

6. A system which can be extended or modified simply if extra accommodation is added or the layout of the kennels is changed.

7. A healthy environment which minimises the risk of infection.

These requirements are, we believe, best met by the Wren infra-red dull emitter system. Infra-red dull emitters are electric heaters which are suspended, one per compartment, usually over the bed, whelping box, etc. The units emit no visible light, just a gentle penetrating downward radiant heat which warms the animals and their bedding without too much heating of the surrounding air. This is an important point because cross-infection is more likely to occur at higher air temperatures. The units are available with a wide range of heat ratings to suit different breeds, and to cater for sick animals, whelping bitches, etc. If it is necessary to change the level of heating in a compartment because of change of occupancy, etc., this can easily be done by changing elements, just as different powered electric light bulbs can be plugged into a table lamp. Also, because each individual section or compartment has its own heater, it can be switched off when not in use without affecting the conditions for other animals.


As with any heating system, insulation is important. Because of the way infra-red heating works and its great flexibility, animals can be accommodated comfortably in buildings which would themselves be impossible to heat by conventional means. The important points are to provide insulating walls and ceiling for the individual compartments and to eliminate draughts, especially at floor level. Materials such as plasterboard, preferably of the foil-lined type for extra heat-reflection can make a tremendous improvement when used to line walls and ceilings and will quickly repay their cost. In addition to conserving heat in cold weather, such insulation will help to keep animals cool in hot weather.


As valuable and sometimes rare species or new strains are placed under Wren Lamps, we give careful attention to safety and reliability. It is approved and used by many animal welfare societies and veterinary surgeons. It is also extensively used in boarding kennels and catteries.


Not only does the efficient design of the Wren lamp give maximum useful warmth from every unit of electricity, but also the wide selection of element ratings means you can choose exactly the right power for the job: no need to use 250W where 200W or 150W will suffice.

Read our other guides on Kennel Heating Lamps...



Because of their low electrical consumption, a normal 13A ring main, protected by a 30A fuse or circuit breaker, can supply as many infra-red heaters as there are sockets provided. In fact, the heaters can be connected to any kind of 3-pin socket, as even the small 2A size will comfortably supply a 400W heater – the highest wattage in the Wren range. Heaters should never be connected to 2-pin sockets or plugged into lamp-holders because these do not have the necessary earth connection for the metal reflector. The plug which is supplied with the unit is fitted with a 3A fuse.

The Use of dimmers, Energy Regulators etc will also help to reduce energy costs, and in the case of fit, adult animals a thermostat which automatically switches the heating off if the weather turns suddenly milder, is certainly worthwhile. Heaters in compartments containing sick animals, young puppies, etc, which need to remain on, can be connected separately to ensure continuous supply of warmth.

The careful design and high quality construction of the Wren Lamp ensures the maximum useful heat for every unit of electricity consumed. Extra cable of any desired length (up to the recommended maximum) can be supplied fitted to the unit. Recommended maximum is 20 metres for the Major and 40 metres for the Standard.


For efficiency of control, we suggest splitting any installation into small, manageable sections, ideally of between 6 and 12 heaters, depending on the overall size of the installation. This will also provide security as, in the event of a fault in one circuit, the remainder of the installation can still be used. Each section of heaters may be controlled through a main switch, a time switch, a thermostat, an Energy Regulator and then each heater should also be individually switched. The main switch will allow the section to be isolated for maintenance or alteration, the time switch can be used to bring the heaters on at pre-set times, the thermostat can switch the heaters on or off in the event of a dramatic change in the outside temperature, the Energy Regulator will provide an electrical saving, and the individual switches will enable each unit to be switched off when empty. Any or all of these control devices may be used, depending on the size and type of installation and the funds available. As each installation is different, these suggestions should only be used for guidance.


The best mounting height for infra-red heaters depends on the circumstances. They should of course be mounted above head height for the animals, but not too high or the intensity of the heat will be reduced, although the area covered will be greater. Generally, the lowest mounting which meets other practical requirements is most economical. The final test is to observe the behaviour of the animals and adjust the height of the unit to suit them. To cover a greater area with the same heat intensity, raise the unit and fit a correspondingly larger element. We offer suspension chain fitted with a spring clip on one end which makes it very easy to adjust the height of the unit from day to day if necessary. This is suitable for either the Standard or the Major unit and can be supplied in any length to order. Please see price-list.


Keep reflectors clean and polished, because the efficiency of the unit depends upon it. Dull reflectors absorb the heat instead of reflecting it downwards which not only wastes heat, but allows the element holder to heat up unduly, and may damage the electrical connections.


All Wren Lamps are designed and quality built for many years trouble-free service, and are guaranteed for twelve months against constructional faults. Elements are also guaranteed against failure due to manufacturing faults.


Boarding and recovery kennels

Where a number of Wren Lamps are to be used in a well-insulated building divided into sections, a general warm glow will result as all surfaces become warm. It may therefore be possible to use slightly less powerful elements than those suggested above by relating total wattage to size of building, e.g. 3000 watts total for a building 25’ x 20’ by 8’ high. However, the individual requirements of different breeds in separate compartments should not be overlooked.


A Wren Standard with 150 or 200 watt element is recommended for individual cats or queens with kittens in well-insulated houses. A reduction to 80 or 100W should be possible in small, well-insulated boarding compartments. For general warmth in a stud house or where a number of cats are kept, we suggest a Wren Major with 350 or 400W element. If the cats share a bed, 250 to 300W should suffice.


Read our other guides on Kennel Heating Lamps...

The Diamond Edge range of Wren Heating Lamps

Regulating Heating Power

Dog Breed Guide for choosing a Wren Heating Element


Created On  10 Aug 2015 16:37 in Kennel Heating Lamps  -  Permalink


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