OK, OK! I’m sorry! I missed the October update. But I have two nifty things to show you this month.
First is something I’ve seen gaining steam in the “prepper” world. The second will be a surprise coming before the end of November.
I fancy myself a prepper, not as far as The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) but I absolutely believe that everyone should be able to survive a week without power, should bad weather hit. Candle powered emergency space heaters made from terra cotta pots and some nuts and bolts are gaining more popularity in the prepper world, albeit with mixed reviews. People expecting major heat right away have been disappointed, but people who realize that it will take more than one tea light candle and a little while to heat up have been satisfied with this little rig to supply emergency heat for a small (emphasis on SMALL) room. I did read one bit of advice, make sure your pots are completely dry so that this will work better. I can attest that this is true. My pots were damp and they only got warm to the touch and the moisture that was being released kept putting my candles out.
•6 inch terra cotta pot
•8 inch terra cotta pot
•10 inch terra cotta pot
•10 inch terra cotta plant dish (if using the canning rack)
•One six inch bolt (not pictured)
•Nuts and washers that will fit on the bolt
•canning rack or plant stand
•3-4 tea light or votive candles (not pictured)
I sourced everything at my local Wal-Mart, but if you can find somewhere better, I.E. a locally owned garden shop that may have them on clearance, please support local first.
Put a large washer on your bolt and place bolt into your largest pot
Turn your pot over and put more washers and nuts on the bolt. Ideally you want enough so that the rim of your second pot is level with the first, I just didn’t have enough for mine.
Step 3 and 4:
Put your second pot on the bolt and add enough nuts and washers to make the third pot level with the top of the other two pots. Put your third pot onto the bolt. Then add a few more nuts and washers to the bolt. One set of instructions I read said that the more metal you have on the bolt at this point, the better this little contraption will work. Finger tighten the nuts to hold everything in place, if you over tighten things the pots could break. You don’t want them to bust but you don’t want them wobbly either.
I couldn’t find the type of plant stand I wanted this time of year so I brain stormed and came up with an alternative. Fiddle around with what you have for a few minutes until you find a set up that lets your candles get enough oxygen but puts them close enough to the pots to work. I found that putting the plant dish upside-down in the canning rack and then laying the handles over on to the dish gave me a solid surface for the candles (I didn’t want them to tip over, the LAST thing you need in a power outage is to set your house on fire) and the handles hold the pots far enough off of the dish to give an adequate air gap with out too much heat loss.
Since my candles kept going out the heaters didn’t get very hot, but I will update once I have a chance to test everything out again.
I saw a video ages ago mentioning this concept and the science behind it, and since then I’ve found even more videos and instructables on this type of heater. For those of us who a kerosene heater isn’t the most viable option (I’m paranoid about having them in a mobile home), or we can’t afford one, this makes a nifty alternative. For more information and video tutorials, go to YouTube and search for Household Hacker and AxeBros (warning: I have not watched the AxeBros video) for their versions of this.