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Heat a room using tea candles and clay pots

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in this whole thread nobody has asked the obvious:

heating with smudge pots.

I was sure it was coming.

Fact is, not a lot of people use clay ones anymore.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.


Well I am thoroughly embarrassed for DP that you think this is a good idea. Seriously, a clay pot does absolutely nothing. You have heard of conservation of energy right?

The internet is rotting your brains.

If you would otherwise need to

heat a fairly large space, say, a living room, in order to get your small office area warm (opposite where the baseboard is), it seems it would help to have a little "tea light heater" near the desk. It's not as if a candle throws off more heat with or w/out a pot over it. But if the heat is concentrated w/in the clay pot, radiant heat would make it warmer right around it. It's the same reason people use space heaters.

My only concern, also raised in one of the video clips I watched, is air quality. The guy said it was important to have a carbon monoxide detector; but that, regardless, he could definitely smell the candles - and he didn't find it such a great smell. Yeah, cheap paraffin. People with asthma or any respiratory issue shouldn't even consider the idea. But it would bother anyone who was just sensitive. That is, unless you burned natural beeswax candles - which would surely eat up any savings!

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

well it would diffuse the heat

so it will tend to radiate heat out and it won't rise straight up as fast. But yer just not gonna get much heat from one tea candle.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

Diffused or not

There is no more heat in the room by using a tray, two pots and a piece of foil vs. just the candle.

Agreed but it's the point of the pot

People used to buy these little...radiators for gas stovetops. They kinda looked like a single piston cylandar off a scooter, all fins to radiate heat. I don't think anybody was fooled that the radiators increased the amount of heat.

If it's indeed supposed that the flower pots somehow magically increase the BTUs generated by a tea candle then we do indeed have a case for losing all hope and throwing ourselves off cliffs forthwith.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

It doesn't increase the BTU's

it heats up the clay pot which then radiates the heat out for longer than the candle. If you blow the candle out, there will still be heat in the clay and it will radiate for a bit longer. Same thing with cast iron skillets. If you cook with them they radiate out heat long after you turn the heat off.

Gonna try the clay pot idea with a votive candle

to place under my computer desk, to see if it might keep my legs and feet a bit warmer. I'll post an update...having trouble at the moment finding clay pots.

This is how we heat our remote cabin

during deer camp aka 'beer camp'. Only we don't use candles. Instead we turn one or two gas burners on and set a large clay pot over each. It really puts out the heat.

WOW...!!! Thank you for posting this...!!!


No problem! Unglazed pots. Glazed will crack.

I'll be here all week! nyuck nyuck nyuck..

Start with the flame as low as possible and work up from there. I didn't mention that we were using a propane stove/oven out of an RV in the cabin. I just assumed that people would understand what I was saying. Just wanted to make sure that got out there.


Yes, San Francisco burned down because of oil lamps and candles and an earthquake.

You'd want to put it somewhere safe, like in the bathtub or sink, or on the floor.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

I wouldn't put such a heat source in the tub or sink...

...thinking if sink is ceramic, the heat might crack it...or if acrylic tub would melt it.

The winter following Hurricane Katrina...

...with no electricity and no running water, 2 coleman propane lanterns (one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom, on low) kept the 500sqft small apartment over a garage warm.

Once back into my gutted cottage type house, no inside wiring, no wall insulation, no plumbing, an outside water hose stuck through a window, sub floors with spaces large enough to see cats chasing each other under the house...my decor continued to be Coleman (folding chairs, blow up bed, propane stove, propane lanterns).

I stapled large sheets of visqueen plastic for walls, ceiling, and floor to contain one 18x18 foot bedroom. The only contained room in the house. This allowed me a secure enough area to live while rebuilding.

After 6 months, a temporary electric meter was installed....giving me one outside electric outlet. With this luxury and heavy duty extension cords, I was able to run a window a/c unit in the contained bedroom during the hot humid summers, a small drip coffee pot for coffee and heating water, run the computer, and 2 small electric heaters in the winter.

The heating bill for the first winter with the 2 electric heaters was outrageous....so the second winter cut the contained room in half with more visqueen plastic and went back to heating with the little propane heater and propane lanterns.

The price between heating with small propane bottles and electric heaters was a big difference.

I never expected to camp out in my gutted house for 2 years. The first year I considered it to be a camping adventure and devised all kinds of ways for personal hygiene and comfort. The second year it was getting tiresome. But so many houses being rebuilt were being ripped off...not only by contractors, but new electric wiring stolen for its copper, central air and heating units stolen....even the new toilets and sinks!

Finding different ways to heat an inside room safely and inexpensively always peeks my interest, giving rise to new ideas.

Interesting Anecdote

Thanks for sharing. Those were hard times for many people.
When you cut the occupied space in half, did you leave the first "wall"? Just wondering. The interstitial air space would have served as a barrier to heat exchange. Given that plastic sheets are the only material available for use, more compartments, free from air changes would probably increase resistance.

My dogs keep me fairly warm, in a room with a closed door, but the fuel bill is steep.

ya, just added long strip of plastic to cut size of room

The outside walls of the house were horizontal wood tongue n groove with shrinkage leaving gaps. The black tar paper shield was stripped away so bare wood could be cleaned.

I wish I had thought about doubling the plastic on the walls and ceiling and leaving a space between them, but it never crossed my mind. I kept thinking...its only temporary.

Interior shutters are invaluable...

Buy some hard foam insulation and cut it to wedge into your window. You can pull the blind down behind them if you don't want it to look weird from outside or pull it over them so you don't have to look at the insulation. I made one for my large kitchen window and it is green so I don't mind looking at it. You can also cover them with fabric if you want to get sexy about it. It is amazing how much heat you will save doing this. Your greatest heat loss is through your roof and the next is through your windows. I am so much warmer this year.

Ah, that gave me a good idea....thanks


What's the idea?

I'm always looking for ways to live frugally. Where in Maine did you live? I was on an island in Casco Bay for 30 years.

15 years Lisbon Falls & Freeport

When you were talking about the foam board for the windows as inside shutters....I thought FANTASTIC...they're light weight and easy to work with.

And then I started thinking about foam mats. Also easy to work with and inexpensive, but pliable enough to be rolled...like the old time bamboo roll up blinds: http://homewindowblinds.morrishalliburton.com/bamboo-rollup-...

And the foam mats (as roll-ups) might solve the dilemma with the large glass exterior metal doors. Those puppies scream heat in the summer and knee knocking cold in the winter.


Most of my home improvement projects seem to take longer than expected, even under normal conditions.


I'm just happy, after 8 years, to have the house 80% finished. The luxury of having a real flush toilet and a shower with hot and cold running water where one can wash their hair AND their whole body all at the same time! Along with central air/heat and well insulated walls/ ceilings to strongly dim the noise of the neighbors barking dogs.

Next on the list is building the inside closets and a front porch, so the house doesn't continue to look like a drive-by.

It should all be completed by the time Hurricane Katrina's sister comes for a visit.

For extra heat...

every little bit helps, use cast iron skillets for cooking. Once they get heated up, they radiate off heat for quite some time, similar to the flower pot but actually better as it holds heat longer. I might try the candle thing, though, just to see how much heat it actually puts out. I don't have the right flower pots right now. Another thing that puts out heat is the old fashioned light bulb. You can keep your pipes from freezing by hanging a light bulb near them.

old light bulb heat

In winter, use to keep a 40w in the outside dog house in Maine. Worked like a champ!


I lived in Maine, too, and that's how I know a few things about heat! Also, another tip, if you keep a small fan above your pipes they will not freeze.

not in Maine any more, in New Orleans now....but...

...placing the fan on the pipes, this I didn't know. We use to wrap the ones at the camp with heat tape. And at the house just let the water drip. (along with placing bales of hay all around the outside exposed basement walls.)

Not in Maine, either, in NC..

and it's cold here right now! I tried the plant pot this morning and it was good for hand warming...in an emergency situation I think you could use it as a burner and heat water or soup.

Ah...thanks for letting me know...!!!

I'm still trying to find clay pots to experiment with.

Incandescent light bulbs are

Incandescent light bulbs are a threat to the environment, I am reporting you to the authorities.

Southern Agrarian