Power go out unexpectedly in your area? Here’s a very simple, dirt-cheap homemade heater made out of flower pots and tea lights that you can put together in under 5 minutes flat- and here’s the kicker, it actually works.
COMMON SENSE DISCLAIMER: This mini heater can easily reach 300F in a very short period of time, like ANY emergency heat source, it is inadvisable to leave it unattended in a room with children or pets.
Now that we got the common sense disclaimer out of the way, check this out! This simple heat source would work fantastic in a small greenhouse to keep the chill off plants overnight! Follow the directions carefully, do not substitute items, do not use LARGER candles or votive candles.
Do not use a glass loaf pan or an aluminum foil loaf pan.
DIY Flower Pot Heater
2 Un-Glazed Terra Cotta (Clay) Flowerpots
a metal loaf pan
4 tealight candles– unscented, 4 hour burn time
a cooling rack (like you use when you bake cookies, seriously)
a couple of basic landscaping bricks (optional, but HIGHLY recommended, and btw- these are not fire bricks.)
a nickel or a small piece of tinfoil
When I first met a fellow who made one of these, he made me nervous. He balanced the clay pots on the loaf pan, which seriously made me wonder how he dared to leave it in his house at all. So, I’ve revamped the directions I’ve seen to make this topple proof.
First, place the tea lights in the loaf pan and light them. Place a brick on either side of the loaf pan.
Set the cooling rack on top of the bricks. This is to provide stability so the pots won’t tip over
Place the Smaller Clay pot upside down on the cooling rack, directly over the lit candles in the loaf pan.
Place a Nickel over the hole on the bottom of the plant pot to completely cover it. Failure to do so will result in very little heat. Alternatively, you could use a piece of aluminum foil to cover the hole.
Place the Large plant pot Over the small plant pot, creating a Heat Hut.
Here’s what the temperature looked like in 3 minutes:
at 5 Minutes:
at 10 minutes:
after 35 minutes: it has reached full heat. At this point, you should NOT attempt to touch the plant pots with your bare hands as you will get badly burned.
Depending on the brand of your candles, they should continue to burn for about 3 hours.
To replace the candles simply slide out the loaf pan, replace the spent tealight with a new Lit tealight and return it to the spot beneath the pots.
Some Notes: While this does generate quite a bit of heat, this is obviously NOT going to heat a 2500 square foot house. You can, however, use 2 of these setups to keep a 10×12 room fairly comfortable if you light it as soon as the power goes out and avoid opening and closing doors, etc.
Common Sense- Shouldn’t have to say it but we will:
- DO NOT Use Larger Candles, the tea lights are more than sufficient. Use of larger candles COULD result in the pot overheating and cracking
- Do not use more than 4 candles at a time (see above)
- Do not “Balance” the Pots on the Loaf Pan – use a cooling rack for stability
- Do Not Use Scented Candles- Seriously, you’ll just get a massive headache from them.
- Make sure the Terra Cotta pot is UNGLAZED – otherwise it will give off fumes (imagine that!)