Instructables

The Hotmail Heater, prepper bug out off the grid heat and hot water

Picture of The Hotmail Heater, prepper bug out off the grid heat and hot water
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I built a Teardrop trailer in 2011, finding a cheap heat source for of-the-grid camping that is safe is one of those ideas always being kicked around on the best (IMO) website for Tear Drop Trailers (TD) http://www.tnttt.com/index.php.  There is a company that makes a tent heater powered by propane, but a few years ago they stopped making the model that would work the best for tents and TD, instead they now sell a very expensive large capacity one that mostly seems aimed at the military and others with big tents to heat.
    I am an airplane mechanic for a living and small twin engine aircraft are mostly heated using a combustion heater like this one http://www.kellyaerospace.com/articles/Heater_AMT.pdf , I figured there has to be a cheap way to make heat for tents and TD's that uses common hardware store items. Then as I was wandering around in the the blue Borg, (though orange is my favorite, we don't have green around where I live)  I think I figured it out.
   My idea is simple, a kerosene lantern, which is used by most of the people in the world, and two mailboxes. the rest is just using physics to get heat to go where we want it and soot to stay out of our lungs.
   While searching for the BTU (heat output) rating of a kerosene lantern I found a site that reports that most people in the world without electricity use kerosene lanterns, and stoves, most of these are not vented to the outdoors, and this causes quite a few lung problems. SO WORK CAREFULLY, SEAL ALL YOUR SEAMS, AND IF IT IS WINDY OUT USE THE 12v FAN FOR POSITIVE PRESSURE SAFTEY.
   One other note, while a candle is a better-than-nothing source of heat, it actually coats the inside of your tent, TD, and lungs with wax as it burns, and anything that burns is using up the oxygen in your tent or TD, every year people don't wake up in their tents due to using candles, lanterns, and stoves to heat. YOU ARE JUST VISITING THIS PLANET, DON'T CUT IT SHORT, PLAN AHEAD AND BE SAFE.
  The figures I found show that a candle puts out 90-100 BTU's (per hour), a human being puts around 250 out (equal to a 100 watt incandescent bulb) and a kerosene lantern puts out 800-3000 BTU's (depending on model and wick width, if a mantel is used, etc.) I am using the cheap oil/kerosene lantern from wallyworld for this which I believe will give me 1000 BTU's input. 
For comparison, my house has a rather small oil boiler rated at 85,000 BTU's, and a pellet boiler rated at 175,000 BTU's, Most homes have 100,000 to 300,000 BTU rated systems. However my TD is about 40 square feet compared to 1,200 sq ft in my house.
   For disaster or emergency use a kerosene lantern is your best bet in most cases for light and now for heat, most wick type lanterns will run on olive, jojoba and just about any type of oil, kerosene or lamp oil may not be around when you need more.
  
 
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ardrhi1 month ago

I have my Mr. Heater that provides more heat than I could ever need from a propane source and a couple of D-Cell batteries for the internal fan. It has a tip-over and oxygen depletion sensor, so it's not going to cause any problems.

gumby_kevbo3 months ago
Warning for kerosine lamps in general:

There are various grades of fuel oil sold as "kerosine"

Some of these May have flash points as low as 100F. If this is used in a wick type lamp it is likely to result in a runaway condition weth huge flames that can be very unsafe.

Proper lamp oil has a flash point around 140F, and is what the lamps are meant to burn.

If the container label leaves any doubt, search online for th MSDS for the product, and that will list the flash point.
-copper tube-7 months ago

being put to sleep forever means dying.

dboat10 months ago
This virtual heater should keep me virtually warm in my virtual world. I could probably use the real lantern and tape measure. Do you have a picture of the finished product?
rowerwet (author)  dboat10 months ago
I came up with this as the answer to a problem I don't have. I camp at campgrounds with 110V, and have a tiny heater that is more than enough. I also don't camp in the winter.
Back when i built my tear I was planning on staying in it year round a few nights a week. That has never happened.
How to have heat off the grid comes up often on TnTTT, I made this i'ble as a possible answer.
I have all the parts sitting in my workshop, but boat building and teardrop modifying has taken up all my free time :( , right now I'm in wood splitting and stacking for the winter mode. I may get to building this and trying it out this winter, but make no promises
weldor2 years ago
Look in the wood stove/fireplace supplies at the local hardware and try to find the fire barrier/fire stop spray in foam. There are several different ratings for this as well as the RTV silicone sealants. If you wet you fingers (spit on them!) you can use them to get a really nice smooth finish on the RTV.
Looks good on LCD. Now go out and build one. If it works I am sure it will be a huge hit. Can't wait to see the prototype.
rowerwet (author) 2 years ago
the outer box wouldn't be that hot, at least I don't think it would be hot enough to melt plastic.
I labeled some of the pictures, hope that helps.
josh
SeamusDubh2 years ago
Some labeling of the parts/sections, flow directions in the diagrams would be nice.
Also I wouldn't use the foil faced bubble wrap.
(Plastic, melty, burn, poisonous gas, bad, very bad.)
Hit up the plumping section of you hardware store for water heater exhaust insulation. It's made to handle the heat and is rather fire proof/resistant. Or even the regular household insulation section, looking specifically for fire rated.