Wednesday, January 15, 2014

H.U.M.P. Day DIY Heater

Welcome to Round 2 of HUMP Day. Today H.U.M.P. stands for Honey U Made a Pinstrosity!! Today's submitter. Me. I made a Pinstrosity. 

Every winter we wait to see how long we can stand it before we turn on the main heater in our house (it runs on propane...and propane is pricey). Two years ago we didn't ever turn it on. We may have looked like this all winter...
...but we made it. Luckily we're far enough west that the polar vortex didn't hit us this year (we had that lovely experience a few years ago...not sorry we got to miss it this year), so we've been able to keep warm enough this winter with bundling up, electric blankets, and a little space heater. But this past week I've finally gotten fed up with being cold (which is a little ironic as the daytime temperatures have been in the 50's and 60's). As one last ditch effort before lighting the pilot light in the monster, I decided to test a pin for a DIY heater I found. 

The Original Pin

If what I'm reading is right, 8 pence would be 16 cents in the US. Heating a room for $0.16 a day?! Sign me on board. I already had tea lights, bread pans, and 2 terra cotta pots in different sizes. So I pulled everything and went to set it up. I discovered that the two pots I had were too small to use with my regular sized bread pan, so I pulled out a mini bread pan. That pan only held 3 candles, rather than 4, but I figured that wouldn't make much of a difference. Some, yes, but nothing huge. 

I set everything up next to the computer on a metal chair, making sure there was room for the air currents (as he explains in the video), and got ready for awesome cheap warmth. I even had a thermometer stuck to the chair behind the pot so that I could know for sure just how much warmer it was. I figured the thermometer would show a little warmer than the room actually was since it was right next to the pot, but it would get me a good ballpark estimate. Now the room I was testing it in was bigger than the room in the video, so I wasn't expecting a huge temperature change, but I figured it'd keep my little corner warm. 

Well, at the end of 3 1/2 hours when the candles burned out, the temperature hadn't changed at all. 

Lame, lame, lame. I figured the room was too big. So I got new candles and put it in Darrow's room (11ftx13ft). Figured it would work great in there as it was much smaller than the living room (which is open to the dining room and the hall). 3 1/2 hours later the temperature was up by 3 degrees. Woo hoo! Pull out the lemonade and sun tan lotion. If there was an international font designated for sarcasm, you would see it in that previous sentence. 3 more candles wasted. Lame. 

I can feel heat coming out of the hole in the large pot, but not large amounts. Perhaps that 4th candle makes a huge difference. Perhaps I need larger pots. I don't know. But 3 candles, two small pots, and a mini-bread pan definitely don't make this work. I do need to test this with the right size of supplies, but planting pots are a little hard to come by in our town in winter, and I'm not making the trip to "the big city" just for two $2 pots. 

So now the heater is on. 



  1. Don't bother trying it. I tried it and got a 2-degree increase in temp. I'd say yours was pretty accurate. ;)

  2. You cannot heat a room with four candles unless you know how to break the first law of thermodynamics :)

    The flowerpot does increase the efficiency of the candle's heating power a little (more than just candles on their own) but nowhere near enough. Here is a long discussion on the subject:

  3. Thank you! I knew this wouldn't work, but then I always doubt my cynicism. LOL

  4. I am so glad you tried this before I did. We have electric heat and live in coastal Massachusetts so we've been freezing our cookies off and my bill is over $300. I have noticed that larger, lit candles will eventually start warming a room but I had my doubts about using tea lights. They never last long enough.

  5. 4 tealights can produce as much heat as having another person in the room. So figure out how many people you need to have around to keep the room warm, multiply by 4, and that should be enough for comfort.

  6. This is a very creative way in heating up your room. Thanks for sharing! Although, it would be best if you use the heater you have for your house. I hope you also consider changing your heater system so that it wouldn't be too pricey. You can always consult with experts to get the best heater for your house. Thanks for sharing!

    Christine Allred


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