100 Watt Dog House Heater




Introduction: 100 Watt Dog House Heater

About: I'm a photographer by trade, which means I'm usually broke. So I'm always having to fix things cheaply. I'm also a Craigslist addict. I'm married and have four kids, but they're the kind that walk on four...

One of my dogs cannot be trusted inside while we're away, so add that to the fact that we have no garage or shed, and you can see why I had to come up with something.  In this instructable I'll show you how to heat a dog house with a 100 Watt flood light, a paint can, an extension cord, a lamp base, and a few other items you may already have.  The current set-up seems to keep an interior temp. of about 60 deg. F. in weather slightly below freezing.

Warning:  There is a slight risk of electrical fire if you do this wrong, so be careful and keep an eye on your completed, heated dog house for the first few hours it is in use.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Here's What You'll Need

1.  A gallon sized paint can clean of all flammable substances or a tin can of equal or larger size.

2.  A 100 watt outdoor flood light.  Colored bulbs are recommended as they put off equal heat, but less light.  In colder climates a ceramic heat bulb might be a good idea, they put off more heat and no light, but proceed with caution as I haven't tested one with this equipment yet.  Here's some links so you know what I'm talking about.

  What I used:

  Ceramic heat lamp:

3.  One ceramic lamp base without a switch

4.  1-Gang Metal Ceiling Electrical Box, the kind that's roughly a 1/2 inch thick
Like this: 

5.  A wire clamp  to secure the wires to the box

6.  An outdoor heavy duty extension cord.

7.  A  drill

8.  Hole saw equal or slightly larger than the hole in the electrical box

9.  A set of drill bits.

10.  A jigsaw

11.  Small corner brackets.

12.  Screws and nuts the correct size to fit your electrical box and corner brackets.

13.  1/2 inch long wood screws

14.  Tarps or old dog food bags made of the same material (optional)

15.  insulation capable of withstanding the heat of the light fixture.  Radiant barrier car windshield sun screen will do. (optional)

Step 2: Cutting the Hole

1.  To start use trace the outer lip of the paint can/tin can with a marker where you would like to mount it. 

2.  Use your drill and a drill bit larger than the width of your jigsaw blade to drill a hole somewhere along your traced line.

3.  Use your jigsaw to cut out the hole along the traced line.

4.  File or saw away as much frayed plastic as you can.  Frayed plastic catches fire easier than smoothly cut plastic.

Step 3: Building the Light/heater

1.  Begin by using your hole saw to cut a hole in the center of bottom of your paint can or tin can.  Make sure the hole is as big or bigger then your wire clamp.

2.  Aline the 1-Gang Metal Ceiling Electrical Boxes center hole with the hole you drilled in your can by placing the electrical box on the outside of the can.

3.  Mark the mounting holes for the electrical box on the outside of the can.

4.  Drill the holes to mount your electrical box with a bit of a similar size as the mounting holes in the electrical box.

5.  Now place your electrical box inside the can and mount it in place using small bolts and nuts.  Lock washers are also a good idea to keep everything secure.

6.  Now mount your wire clamp in the larger center hole in the top of your can with the wire clamping part facing out.  You can fasten the knobby ring screw from the inside by turning it with a flat-head screwdriver.

7.  Now take your short heavy duty extension cord and cut the end opposite from the end that pugs into the wall off.

8.  Use your wire strippers to strip each of the wires bare about a half an inch down.

9.  String the stripped end of your cord through the wire clamp. Pull the wire out of the open end of the can.

10.  Get out your ceramic lamp base.  You will see 2 screws on the back of it. 

11.  Twist the end of your hot wire and bend it into a hook clockwise.  Then hook it around the brass screw on the back of the lamp base and tighten it down.

12.  Do the same with the white wire mounting it to the silver screw.

13.  Loosen one of the screws that holds the electrical box in place and mount the green or bare ground wire around that screw and tighten.

14,  Attach the lamp base to the electrical box with the 2 screws included, being careful not to pinch the wires.

Step 4: Mounting the Light/heater

1.  Now mount the corner brackets to the outside of the can by drilling holes and securing the brackets with screws and nuts.

2..  Mount the light assembly to the doghouse using short 1/2 inch wood screws through the other sides of the corner brackets.

3.  Now screw in your light bulb and pug it in to test.

4.  Hopefully it's working.  If not, check your light bulb in a fixture that you know to be working.  If it's not the bulb, go back to the last step and start over with your wiring.

Step 5: Insulation

This step is optional.  But will make your heater much more efficient. 

1.  using an old windshield sun blocker or whatever form of insulation you choose, cut to size and then wrap around the outside of your light fixture.

2.  Secure insulation with duct tape, be sure to wrap the tape in a complete circle all the way around.  Duct tape is very sticky, but sticks to itself better than anything.

Step 6: Door

1.  Get an old dog food bag made of tarp material or a scrap tarp.

2.  (if dog food bag)  Turn bag inside out and clean the oiliness from the dog food off with soap and water.

3.  Place the clean dog food bag against the opening to the dog house.

4.  Drill holes in sets of twos around the lip of the door.  5 sets of two should do.

5.  Press the dog food bag around the door opening.

6.  Locate the first 2 holes and use a wood screw to poke holes in the dog food bag that align with the holes you drilled.

7.  Now string a zip tie through one hole and out the other securing your dog food bag door.

8.  repeat until the door is secure all the way around.

9.  Now cut a vertical slit down the center of the door flap.

Step 7: Now You're Done

Now you're done.

This dog house heater should help your outside dog through the winter.  You will however need to check on your dog regularly and making sure the bulb is still working and the heater is supplying enough heat.  It is recommended that you still bring your dog in at night.  This heater will probably not help much in high wind or in climates well below freezing.

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
Craftsman Tools Contest

Participated in the
Joby Transform It! Challenge

Participated in the
Sugru Life Hacks Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Tiny Speed Challenge

      Tiny Speed Challenge
    • Heart Contest

      Heart Contest
    • Fiber Arts Contest

      Fiber Arts Contest

    15 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 3

    Its a great project and nice heater, but it is still a light bulb
    !!! How would you like to sleep with 100 watts light bulb on whole
    night ?? I don't think animals like the light being on all the time
    either. I found an alternative


    is a ceramic bulb, so it does not provide any light, but it heats the
    space nice. Also adding a metal mesh is a good idea to avoid pets
    touching the light/ceramic bulb, or just get a lid from the paint can and drill it with 1/2 inch or bigger drill to make holes.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I listed a ceramic heat lamp as an option in the list of items required. The link no longer works though as it's been a couple of years since I posted this instructable. I've been using a ceramic lamp the last couple of years and it doesn't seem to get as warm, but at least I'm not worried about the brightness.


    7 years ago on Step 6

    I did this same design, but I used an infrared bulb, and believe me its nice and toasty inside. : )


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    Also, enlarge the hole and put the can halfway inside the house, then caulk with fire resistant 3m caulking its rated for over 1300 degrees. I tryed to make sure the sides of the can wasn't touching the plastic.



    9 years ago on Introduction

    I have the same dog house here. I put a piece of wood to block the lower half of the door and used an old rubber rug to make a flap for the rest of the door. Then filled the bottom with hay.


    2 years ago

    The downside is using a light bulb they can explode and shatter and shower sparks and hot glass into the area where there is a blanket or straw etc and cause a fire. Not common but does happen and I doubt your insurance company will find that amusing. You might have a hard time collecting.

    Old barn lights had a thick glass screw-on cover over the light bulbs and for good reason, that is what I would suggest, and while you lose some heat you also never have to worry about a light bulb burning down whatever!

    Or you could encase the bulb and fixture in a paint can and with carefully placed vents would eliminate any chance of fire as well. But the design you have here is prone to moisture and calamity.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    When we lived in Michigan, we had a wooden dog house, you can use heat tape, the kind used for pipes to keep them from freezing, and staple it around the sides of the dog house it'll heat your dog house, and will turn on and off, depending on the temps your is set to, ours turned on and off at 50*, we now live in Florida and it's not sold here, my dogs only go out during the day and any time the temps drop below 60* they die from the cold. LOL and we have a doggy door into our garage, and we have a dog house in there, but they're spoiled and get cold too easily and I don't want to worry about them while I'm not home, so I lined the walls of the dog house with Christmas lights and now they stay toasty in the winter.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That's a really good idea. I assume the tape doesn't get hot enough that laying against it could be harmful? I think I might try just doing it on the ceiling maybe on a foil insulation layer, so there isn't a chance of him laying against it.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    we just used in on the ceiling and the floor, under the wood on the floor. I think the tape only heats to 50*, that shouldn't be hot enough to burn you or your dog

    I wonder if there's a type of bulb that's a wavelength dog's can't see? That looks awfully bright to sleep in there.


    6 years ago

    Our dogs generally get a good amount of straw and do fine.
    Straw retains heat well and it allows them to make something of a den. I put a good amount in and open a hole at the door, and they end up with straw on all sides


    6 years ago on Step 7

    Perfect timing! My cousin just posted a few pics of his dogs after he let them in out of the cold. I was telling him about putting a heat lamp in the dog house, when your post showed up on my newsfeed. Nice instructable. Should work for any type of doghouse, plastic or wood. Thanks!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I live in mid-west Ohio, where temperatures rarely get down below 0 in the winter. we have always put a regular light bulb in our dog house, the reason we haven't put a heat bulb in is because my dad claims my dog would never come out and she wouldn't develop her winter coat. Do you think this would be likely to happen?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    hi, i did this same thing in dec. i use a 200 watt heat bulb & it did get too for her. so i just used a floodlight & she stays inside now. i also put a carpet door. i actually like your set up better. i just kinda hung the bare bulb inside after cutting small hole in roof. then i sealed with plastic bags, duct tape, tin, more duct tape, then spread that black stuff that u seal the cooler pans with. looks like tar? anyway, it worked. might re-do so it looks pretty like yours> lol