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DIY: Homemade Heaters

An elderly man and his grandson warming their hands in front of a DIY heater

With the temperature plummeting, you must be thinking about ways to not only keep your house warm but also save a few bucks on heating bills. Beyond saving energy, there’s also a looming threat of winter power outage when alternative heating sources become an absolute necessity. Sometimes you also get in a heating emergency when your heating system stops working all of a sudden, and you have to switch to other options. In any case, DIY heaters really come in handy!

A homemade heater won’t heat up your entire house, but it will help with spot heating, which is beneficial when you don’t have any other means to keep yourself warm. Also, they are easy to create – you can assemble most of them from the materials you already have on hand. Safety is a concern with DIY heaters, but you can use them without any risk with extra precautions. 

To keep you prepared for the chilliest months, we have compiled a list of 11 DIY heater ideas to keep your house warm and cozy but first, let’s look at a few safety points. 

Key Safety Points to Remember

Here are some main points to take into account before you start creating your heater:

Now let’s jump right into some easy homemade heater ideas:

1. DIY Space Heater from Terracotta Pots

This homemade space heater is perfect for small bedrooms or bathrooms. You can place it on a table or hang it with a chain; it’s totally up to you! However, by suspending it in the air, the heater doesn’t come in contact with the furniture, and there’s less risk of fire damage. You can even decorate it with paint to match the interior of your room.

It will take about 20-30 minutes for you to feel the heat radiating from this DIY heater. If there is ever a power outage in your area, you can try this technique to keep yourself warm.

Things You Will Require

How to DIY a Space Heater
  1. Take the rod and put two nuts on it. Twisting two nuts in opposite directions makes them tightly locked together.
  2. Then place the last link of the chain at the end of the rod. Next, place another link in the rod to create a loop. Finally, add one more nut to secure the chain. (You only need to put on a chain if you plan on hanging the heater).
  3. Now you have to assemble the pot. First, take a washer to slide it over the rod and then stick it in the hole.
  4. Secure the rod with a washer and a nut near the hole.
  5. Slide another washer on the metal rod, followed by the small pot.
  6. Then another washer followed by two more nuts. Repeat it six more times. You want all these nuts to capture as much heat as you can. The metal will store heat from the candle and radiate it to the pots.
  7. After this process, drill the hole in the pot base as they don’t usually come with holes.
  8. Slide the base on the rod and secure the end with washers and nuts.
  9. Hang the arrangement or place it on a tabletop.
  10. Place the candles on the base and light them up.
  11. Close the door of your room and check after 15-20 minutes. You will feel the warmth radiating from your DIY space heater.

2.  Stoneware DIY Heater

Put some decorative ceramic pieces or crockery items to use for making this easy heater. The warm air will collect under the ceramic bowl, and the fan will help to push it out in the living area.

Things You Will Require

How to Make a Stoneware Heater

  1. Put 3-4 candles on a tray and light them up.
  2. Position two bricks on either side of the tray and two behind the tray.
  3. Take the ceramic bowl and put it upside down on the tray. It should be covering all the candles.
  4. Place the small fan on the bricks behind the tray.
  5. Turn on the fan, and your setup is complete!

3. Alcohol Heater

Learning how to make an alcohol DIY heater can be a lifesaver during a winter power outage. It can provide you with heat to cook while simultaneously keeping you warm. You only need common house supplies, making it an inexpensive option to heat your house.

The toilet paper in this technique works as a wick while alcohol is the fuel. You will have to keep a constant eye on it due to the burning fire. As long as it’s dealt with care, it’s safe to operate.

Things You Will Need

Alcohol Heater Assembly
  1. Put the toilet paper roll in the metal can
  2. Pour the rubbing alcohol on top until the tissue roll is entirely drenched.
  3. Light a fire on alcohol, and that’s it!

4. Soda Can Burner

How to Create
  1. Take a can and place it upside down. Then, use a nail and drive it through the center of the can.
  2. Use push pins and make 4 holes around that nail hole. You can use a hammer to drive the pins in the can.
  3. Make 16 holes around the ridge at the bottom using the same push pins.
  4. Now, place the can horizontally on a flat surface and draw an even line using a permanent marker around the circumference.
  5. Make a cut along that line using a razor knife. You now have two parts. The one with the holes drilled earlier would go on top, while the other one would be your bottom section.
  6. Roll the pipe wrap insulation and fix it inside the bottom part of the can.
  7. Put the drilled part of the can over the insulation-filled base and put it together.
  8. Pour the rubbing alcohol on the can to fill it. Light the fuel on top of the heater.
  9. When all the holes are flaming, place a coin to cove the center hole in the can.
  10. Tada! Your soda can heater is ready to warm up your place.

5. Table Top Fire Pit

Want a personal heater on your table while working or reading? Try a tabletop fire pit.

It will not only warm up your personal space but also add a fireplace-like ambiance to your room. Moreover, with Sterno s’mores heat fuel, you can even roast your marshmallows!

For this homemade heater, use fire-resistant rocks and keep them dry. When rocks absorb water and then get heated, the water expands, putting pressure on the rocks. As a result, the rocks may break apart, and it can also lead to an explosion when combined with fire.

Required Materials

Table Top Fire Pit Assembly
  1. Take your fire-resistant container and layer the rocks inside.
  2. Try not to pack the rocks too tightly. The reason is that airflow is needed around the fuel, allowing the hot air to escape outside the container.
  3. Next, add your fuel can.
  4. Then layer more rocks around the can.
  5. That’s it! Go ahead, light it up and enjoy your tabletop fireplace!

6. Rocket Stove

If you require a simple heater, you can create a rocket stove from a small coffee can. However, if you also want to use it for cooking, you will need something bigger such as a propane tank.

Rocket stoves are quite efficient for heating and even cooking and can be fueled with just about anything you have lying around that is flammable, such as leaves, twigs, or even newspaper.

Things You Will Need

DIY a Rocket Stove
  1. Place the small can outside of the large can (which is your main can) at the bottom and trace the outline with a marker. Then, cut the hole with a metal cutting saw.
  2. After the cutout, you would notice sharp edges. Bend the hole’s edges using a screwdriver to give it a smooth look.
  3. Take the small can, cut out its bottom and fit it inside the hole.
  4. Take another medium-sized can and cut out an arch on its front.
  5. After that, place it vertically inside the main can, with the arch in front of the small can you have fitted inside. 
  6. Fill the large can with gravel and sand. They act as an insulator.
  7. Then push twigs or papers through the hole created earlier and light a fire. You will feel the heat rising up and smoke coming from the top.

7. Solar Can Heater

If you are looking to use natural energy to heat up your space and if you have lots of aluminum cans lying around, this method is definitely for you.

This solar heater sucks the cold air from your home through a tube installed at the bottom. When the sun shines directly on the dark aluminum cans, they are heated pretty quickly, warming the cold air. The hot air then returns through the tube on the upper part of the frame.

Things You Will Need

How to Make a Solar Heater
  1. Build 4 ft. x 8 ft. x 3.5-inch wooden frame.
  2. Take the plywood and nail it to the back of the frame. 
  3. Drill two holes, one at the top and one at the bottom of the frame.
  4. Drill holes on both the upper and lower sides of all the aluminum cans. Only drill the top hole for the cans that’ll be placed in the bottom rows (around 16).
  5. Make 16 columns by placing the cans on top of each other.
  6. Seal the joint area with silicone caulk.
  7. Allow the silicon to dry and then spray the black paint. 
  8. Place the can bottle column you have just created into the wooden frame and cover the structure with Plexiglas.
  9. Cut two holes in the room where you want to place this heater; one near the top of the wall and one near the floor.
  10. Connect the holes of the wooden frame with the holes in the room with the help of plastic pipes.
  11. Install the blower at the top pipe or bottom pipe.
  12. Voila! Your DIY solar heater is ready.

8. DIY Electric Heater

An electric DIY heater is a safer option considering that it does not involve open flames like other homemade heaters. As a result, it is a perfect option to use in areas such as a garage or shed. On the downside, its preparation takes several steps, requiring you to purchase numerous items.

It takes up to 10 minutes for the coil to warm up. The fan takes the cold air from your room and passes it through the coil to heat it and radiate it around.

Things You Will Require

How You Can Make it

  1. Take a nichrome wire and coil it around the syringe.
  2. After you have made a coil, remove the syringe.
  3. Take some plaster of Paris, mix it with water and fill your syringe with it.
  4. Let it dry and form a solid shape.
  5. After the plaster of Paris has solidified, cut the syringe with the help of a welding machine to get the solid plaster out. 
  6. Then, put the plaster in the coil made earlier and then use a thin steel rod and slide it inside the solid plaster.
  7. Now, connect both ends of the coil with an electric wire. Cover the setup with tapes.
  8. Take the metal can and drill two holes on the sides. Fix the coil inside the holes.
  9. Drill a few more holes in the can to make space for the switch and electric cord.
  10. Put the switch in a hole and wire it with the electrical cords connected with the coil.
  11. Cut a hole in the center of the can lid to make room for fan placement. Fix the fan inside with screws.
  12. Take the metal grill and install it to the side closest to the coil.
  13. In the end, connect the fan’s power line to the switch and put the electric power cord out through the hole.
  14. Plug in the power cord to start the heater.

9. DIY Patio Heater

A DIY patio heater is a great way to enjoy your time outside without freezing in the colder months. When creating this heater, care should be taken to wash and dry the cylinders thoroughly. Moreover, creating this heater requires some welding skills, so keep that in mind.

Things You Will Need

How to DIY a Patio Heater
  1. Take two propane gas cylinders, remove their values and wash them thoroughly.
  2. Leave the cylinders to dry in the air for a day or two.
  3. Cut both the cylinders in half using a cutting saw, keeping their top part for use.
  4. Use wood sticks to create a fire and burn the paint off the cylinders.
  5. Then, join the top parts of both the cylinders using tack welding. Next, you have to join at the valve area.
  6. On the top cylinder, mark the area for the door cutting. Before cutting out that part, drill small holes on the left side for the hinge installation. On the other side, drill a hole for the doorknob.
  7. After installing the hinge and knob, cut a hole on top of the first cylinder for the steel rod. The rod will act as a chimney.
  8. Insert the rod in the cylinder and then weld it all the way around.
  9. After that, drill some intake air holes around the bottom of the top cylinder. This is to ensure that the fire has enough oxygen when lighting.  
  10. The last step involves painting the whole setup in black paint. This is because the black color retains heat for a longer time.
  11. Open the door, place wooden blocks inside and light the fire. That’s it! Your DIY patio heater is ready to use!

10. 100 W Mini DIY Heater

If you are looking for a heater to keep your hands and feet warm, this mini room heater can be a great option. You can even use it to warm your food items.

Things You Will Require

How to Create
  1. Take a small tin box or can and drill holes for the insulator.
  2. Install the insulators and secure them using screws.  
  3. Then, take black clay and thoroughly wet it with water.
  4. Place a piece of cardboard in front of the insulator in the tin and then add black clay.
  5. Fill the tin with the wet clay, leaving the insulator section.
  6. Place both the coils on the wet clay and outline.
  7. Remove the coils and leave the clay to dry for 24 hours.
  8. After the clay has dried, add both the coils on top and connect them with the insulator.
  9. Take the power source and connect them with the insulator.
  10. The coils will start heating up, and voila, it’s that simple!

11. Solar Hot Air Collector

Solar hot air collectors can be used anywhere; greenhouse, garden shed, or even garage to heat the area on a budget. It is an eco-friendly product that harnesses sunrays to deliver hot air to your house. Solar radiation reaches the solar panel and heats the collector. The air passing through the collector takes up the heat, which is then delivered to your house via a small fan.

Place the collector on the south or west side as these sides get most of the sunlight. Installing the hot air collector on a vertical surface is recommended to get the best angle between the panel and the sun.

Required Materials

How to DIY a Solar Air Collector
  1. Take the light fixture and remove all the lights and wires.
  2. Seal the small holes with caulk and cover the large holes with aluminum tape.
  3. Let the caulk dry overnight, and then paint the entire fixture in black.
  4. Use a screwdriver to punch a hole at the top and bottom on the backside of the fixture.
  5. Use metal scissors to cut the holes.
  6. Install the small fan on the upper hole and secure it with drywall screws.
  7. After that, place the Plexiglass on the fixture. Put caulk on the edges to make the glass stick.
  8. Then, take the solar panel, apply caulk on the back and place it on the top left corner.
  9. Let it dry overnight before use.
  10. After your solar air collector is ready, it’s time to connect it with your south-facing window.
  11. Drill the holes on the top and lower part of the window frame to align with the two holes drilled in the fixture. The small fan in the absorber plate should be inside your window.
  12. Make as many collector plates as you want and place them around the south-facing area to generate heat.

As the temperature starts to take a dip, making a homemade heater is one of the best ways to cut back on energy costs and keep your house warm. And while you are all set to create your own heating system, make sure you have read all the precautions and your smoke detectors are in working order for safety.

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