In this post, I wish to share a useful means of heating small areas using very simple materials. I learned this technique from a yachtsman who used these in his boat.These heaters are truly off-grid in nature.
Very simply, the heater is a convection type heating unit, made from two ceramic pots. These are the kind you will find in most garden centres, for a few pounds. The pots should have a hole in the centre of the bottom.
In this heater design, there is a smaller pot hidden within the larger one. The bolt that you can see protruding from the outer pot is a stock-gate hinge, as sold by Mole valley Farmer’s or any agricultural retailer or decent ironmongers.
The inner pot is fixed inside the larger pot using the bolt. The pair are then placed on a support, about three centimetres high. This allows air into the chamber. I use three roundels of wood to form a base for the heater, with a fourth to support the source of heat – two or three tea-lites.
To use the heater, simply place the tea-lites under the pots and light. In about 30 minutes, you will find that the tea-lites have heated the inner pot. A layer of air is trapped between the two pots, and this will eventually heat the outer pot. You can reach a good temperature with these which will make a significant difference in a small room, office or boat.
Whenever using tea-lites, one has to be attentive to the stability of the tea-lite support. Never leave the ceramic heater “lit” when one is absent. All common-sense precautions apply as when using a naked flame indoors.
I will publish below a diagram for the construction. Having made several of these, and currently using two in my boat I can recommend. With 8 hour tea-lites, these ceramic heaters can produce heat all day long. Once they have warmed up, the outer pot can reach a good temperature, just about possible to put one’s hand on it. They offer a gentle and long-lasting heat and can be run completely off-grid.
And here, below, is a plan/profile of the heaters. I hope this is clear!