Clay Pot Heater Using Tea Lights





Introduction: Clay Pot Heater Using Tea Lights

So... Since its now 25° outside and my shop doesn't have heat. I decided it was time to warm things up. At least a little. I only have two plug in in my garage that I work out of and after and the plug in heater would trip the breaker when I was using my saws. So after looking at $300 heaters I decided to go a cheaper route. I made a clay pot heater. It does not create enough heat to warm my entire garage but it does heat up nicely within 6' radius around it which allows me to work without seeing my breath. I purchased everything to make this for under $20.

Step 1: Basic Items

You will need to get a clay pot and a base. I picked up a pot with about a 10" opening for $3.00 and the base to go with it for $2.00. The plate does not have a hole in it so I had to drill one. I will cover this in the next step. But before I started I filled the plate with water to help keep it from cracking or breaking when I drilled the hole.

Step 2: Drilling the Hole in Teh Base Plate

After letting the base plate soak with water in it for about 5 minutes, I placed the base plate over a block of wood to act as a backer to help keep it from breaking. I then used a 1/2" masonry drill bit. This was the most expensive part of the build. The drill bit was $9.00..

To drill the hole, I first centered the bit as best I could and filled the plate with water. Then slowly started boring the hole. I backed the bit out a few times to let the "red mud" get out of the hole. It only took a couple minutes to drill thorough and it had no issues with cracking.

Step 3: Hardware Time

Here are the parts I used to attached everything. The total for all these parts was in the ball park of $4.00

(1) 1/2" x 7" carriage bolt full threa(d

(12) 1/2" washers

(6) 1/2" nuts

Step 4: Lets GetSstarted

First you will need to place 1 or 2 washers on the carriage bolt. I only used one since my clay flower pot was not that heavy.

Step 5: Starting the Assembly

Next I inserted the 1/2" carriage bolt through the plate.

Step 6: Tighten Up the Plate

Next I placed a washer and then a 1/2" nut on the carriage bolt and gently tightened up the assembly where it met the plate. Be sure not to over tighten and break the plate. I just hand tightened my assembly.

Step 7: Setting the Clay Pot Height

Next plate another 1/2" nut onto the carriage bolt and screw it down to about 2" down from the top. You can place a second nut if you want but I did not. After that I plated another washer on top of the nut.

Step 8: Starting to Look Like Something

Now place your clay flower pot upside down onto the carriage bolt assembly. You may have to adjust the nut to set the height you want. I set mine with just enough space to place the tea lights inside and still be able to light them with a long lighter.

Step 9: The Buisness End

I used 3 tea lights that you would find at any big box store. These just so happened to be French vanilla scented. So no my shop smells better too! :) I used a long lighter to light each one after I laced them onto the plate.

Step 10: Okay.. So I Had to Improvise

So with the bolt sticking out from the bottom, the assembly leaned and pivoted alot. So to corrected the I cut up a piece of scrap mahogany I had laying he in shop to place the heater on. Leaving space in the middle for the bolt to go.

Step 11: Much Better

No that everything sits nice a flat. I put the tea lights inside the heater assembly and lit them. It took about 20 minutes to really feel the area around the heater getting warm. The pot got VERY warm to the touch but was not too hot to handle. I would say it warmed the air up around it about 15° to 20° which makes it a little nicer in my shop. SO TAKE THAT WINTER! I will build a few more of these and it should heat the shop up nicely. The candles burned for about 2 1/2 hours before the flames went out.



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    16 Discussions

    I made one of these once and the fumes were unbearable. This was in my 12' x 16' office that isn't heated. Obviously it didn't produce enough heat to be effective in that space, but the fumes were bad enough that I couldn't keep it going.

    try flipping the base over then you dont need the wooden blocks

    Probably not an issue in a large shop, but anyone who is interested in this project should be aware of the increased chance of fire and increased carbon monoxide levels produced with this project. There's a reason flame powered appliances usually require additional fresh air and ventilation.

    5 replies

    It probably would be a minimal issue if someone made 2 or 3 of these and placed them in a small bathroom or closet. The amount of carbon dioxide produce by a small tea light candle in minimal. As always, use your better judgement when using anything with fire.

    Carbon Monoxide, or Carbon Dioxide? Big difference...

    Both are related. Carbon dioxide is the natural byproduct of a hydrocarbon fuel when it is being fully combusted. That can be wood, natural gas, butane, propane, fuel oil, coal, etc. Anything containing carbon that is burned can produce carbon dioxide. Normally we want each carbon atom to join with 2 oxygen atoms to make the carbon dioxide. If there are not enough oxygen atoms available the carbon atom will join with 1 oxygen atom and make carbon monoxide.

    Interesting... From CO2 to CO

    But why would that happen? In open air, there would be enough oxygen, correct? I believe diesel engines also produce CO. Is that for the same reason?

    It is a good idea Wells! Thank you for sharing, will give it a try.

    P.S. common sense is not common in a lot of folks!

    get a gas heater... very good providing heat, burn pretty clean as well.

    2 replies

    Thats what I'm saving for. Also been looking into the dual a/c and heat windows units.

    Also nice because they usually screw into a propane tank for a grill, so no having to figure out a way to mount it etc. Can usually find them cheap at hardware stores.. Farm equipment stores.

    I have a couple of these keeping my greenhouse warm (well not at the moment, all the plants are dead so no point)

    I find 2 tea lights per pot, will last a whole night if i light them at about 5, and will keep the frost off my tomatoes :)


    1 year ago

    Just because its gotta be in equals energy out. The clay pots can't radiate any more heat than the candles put into why do you need the clay pots? The candles by themselves will put out the same amount of heat.

    3 replies

    But in the case of radiant heat it traps the heat made from the candles and stays warm well after the candles burn out. When you light a candle and put your hand above it. You feel it's heat. When you put your hand a foot or more to the sides of you you will feel very little warmth. The pots help transfer that heat into a larger radius.

    There's no such a thing as free energy, but safety could be an issue without a cover...

    I did say it cost me less than $20. And without a cover it has the same safety concerns any other candle.