Terracotta Pot Heater

Perfect inexpensive solution for indoor cooking and providing a little space heating when the power goes out.
Perfect inexpensive solution for indoor cooking and providing a little space heating when the power goes out.

We are always interested in exploring new ideas to help keep warm when the power goes out. I was intrigued when I watched the viral video demonstrating how to heat a room using tea lights, flower pots, and a bread pan. Could it really work? Yes and no.

In the video, four tea lights are placed in a bread pan and lit. Then a smaller terracotta pot is placed upside down over the bread pan and the hole is covered to prevent the heat from escaping the inner pot. A second pot is placed on top of the smaller pot. This set up creates a type of convection which provides nice warm heat. The air coming out of the top of the second pot is between 250-400 degrees F. The inner pot reaches very high temperatures, while the outer pot is almost cool enough to touch. It provides a little space heating, but is mostly a very nice hand warmer.

We wanted to find a better, safer solution and finally settled on using canned heat instead of tea lights. We replaced the unstable bread pan with a portable folding stove. The results are awesome!

It is important to note that the terracotta pots do not increase the amount of heat produced by the tea lights or canned heat. The thermal mass of the pots collects the heat and it becomes a concentrated heat source. Radiating a nice warmth into the immediate area.

The cost of heating using the tea lights or canned heat is not usually less expensive than electricity. We don’t think this would really save on your power bill. Open flame increases your risk of a house fire and requires great care. Any flame poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and requires ventilation. However, it could be a good option to provide a heat source during a power outage. The portable folding stove allows you the flexibility to cook using the same equipment.

How will you stay warm if the power goes out? This might be the answer you are looking for. Read the details of our experiment below.

Amazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon ImageAmazon Image

Print Recipe
Terracotta Pot Heater
This inexpensive little device can double as both a heater and stove. It will NOT warm an entire room, but is a great hand warmer and provides a little space heating. We originally got this idea from a gentleman who was using a couple of terracotta pots, a bread pan and tea lights to heat his room. As we experimented, we were concerned with the stability and safety of the setup. The results of our exploration has resulted in an inexpensive, versatile, safer method. We calculated the cost and found that it is probably less expensive to use electricity, when it is available. However, this might come in very handy during a power outage. Always exercise great caution when using open flame.
Servings
Servings
Instructions
  1. Basic materials to construct a Terracotta Pot Heater include: 2 different sized terracotta pots (4", 6" or 8" all work great), a portable folding camp stove, and canned heat. Our favorite is Safe Heat. It can be purchased at Sam's Club in a case for a little over $1 a can, which lasts 6 hours. They burn clean and can be used indoors.
  2. We experimented with the original design using a bread pan and tea lights. Four tea lights are placed in the bread pan and lit. The smaller pot is placed upside down over the bread pan. The hole in the top of the pot is covered with a piece of aluminum foil or other non-flammable material. The larger pot is placed over the smaller one. It worked as reported producing enough heat to warm your hands and a very little bit of space heating. Our biggest concern was the stability of the design. It was top heavy and could easily be knocked over.
  3. We improved upon the design by utilizing a round pan and cooling rack to create a more solid base. However, the tea lights have to be changed out every few hours and do produce some carbon monoxide when burned. We still wanted a better solution.
  4. Our experiment progressed and we decided to use canned heat in place of tea lights. One can produces much more heat than a few tea lights. In order to use the can we needed a deeper container and tried using a few kitchen pots with cooling racks over them to hold up the terracotta pots. This worked very well, producing a little more heat. We were still concerned about the set up. It would absolutely work in an emergency, but could we make it better?
  5. The solution came when we remembered the portable folding camp stoves which are designed to be used with Sterno canned heat. The stove is stable, compact and keeps the source of the heat just off the surface to prevent damage to the table or counter top. It is easy to light, extinguish, or replace the can without having to touch the hot surface of the pots ... increasing the safety.
  6. We were excited when we realized what a great solution this would be for a power outage for someone who lives in an apartment or who doesn't have the financial resources to purchase a more expensive option. One portable folding camp stove ($10), two terracotta pots (total $6-7), and canned heat ($13 at Sam's Club for 72 hours burn time) could take care of cooking and provide a little heat during a short term power outage.
Recipe Notes

Always exercise great caution when using any open flame! Accidents happen easily and fires spread amazingly fast. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation when burning anything, including candles or canned heat.

Share this Recipe
Powered by WP Ultimate Recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Terracotta Pot Heater

Print Recipe
Terracotta Pot Heater
This inexpensive little device can double as both a heater and stove. It will NOT warm an entire room, but is a great hand warmer and provides a little space heating. We originally got this idea from a gentleman who was using a couple of terracotta pots, a bread pan and tea lights to heat his room. As we experimented, we were concerned with the stability and safety of the setup. The results of our exploration has resulted in an inexpensive, versatile, safer method. We calculated the cost and found that it is probably less expensive to use electricity, when it is available. However, this might come in very handy during a power outage. Always exercise great caution when using open flame.
Servings
Servings
Instructions
  1. Basic materials to construct a Terracotta Pot Heater include: 2 different sized terracotta pots (4", 6" or 8" all work great), a portable folding camp stove, and canned heat. Our favorite is Safe Heat. It can be purchased at Sam's Club in a case for a little over $1 a can, which lasts 6 hours. They burn clean and can be used indoors.
  2. We experimented with the original design using a bread pan and tea lights. Four tea lights are placed in the bread pan and lit. The smaller pot is placed upside down over the bread pan. The hole in the top of the pot is covered with a piece of aluminum foil or other non-flammable material. The larger pot is placed over the smaller one. It worked as reported producing enough heat to warm your hands and a very little bit of space heating. Our biggest concern was the stability of the design. It was top heavy and could easily be knocked over.
  3. We improved upon the design by utilizing a round pan and cooling rack to create a more solid base. However, the tea lights have to be changed out every few hours and do produce some carbon monoxide when burned. We still wanted a better solution.
  4. Our experiment progressed and we decided to use canned heat in place of tea lights. One can produces much more heat than a few tea lights. In order to use the can we needed a deeper container and tried using a few kitchen pots with cooling racks over them to hold up the terracotta pots. This worked very well, producing a little more heat. We were still concerned about the set up. It would absolutely work in an emergency, but could we make it better?
  5. The solution came when we remembered the portable folding camp stoves which are designed to be used with Sterno canned heat. The stove is stable, compact and keeps the source of the heat just off the surface to prevent damage to the table or counter top. It is easy to light, extinguish, or replace the can without having to touch the hot surface of the pots ... increasing the safety.
  6. We were excited when we realized what a great solution this would be for a power outage for someone who lives in an apartment or who doesn't have the financial resources to purchase a more expensive option. One portable folding camp stove ($10), two terracotta pots (total $6-7), and canned heat ($13 at Sam's Club for 72 hours burn time) could take care of cooking and provide a little heat during a short term power outage.
Recipe Notes

Always exercise great caution when using any open flame! Accidents happen easily and fires spread amazingly fast. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation when burning anything, including candles or canned heat.

Share this Recipe
Powered by WP Ultimate Recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *