Emergency Preparedness Idea: I was concerned that if we lost power and natural gas, we wouldn’t have a way to heat our house. My sister told me about terracotta pot heaters. I have found them intriguing. They are built with simple items that can be easily stored.
Basically a Terracotta Pot Heater is built in this order:
- Place a cooling rack on the surface
- Put a metal pie tin or bread pan (Over time, I have decided a bread pad is a better idea than the pie tin)
- Place four tea candles in the center
- Set another cooling rack on top
- Then put an upside down 4 inch terracotta pot (the tiny hole in the base needs to be clogged with a small piece of aluminum foil rolled into a ball)
- Put two nuts on the pot
- Next place an upside down 6 inch terracotta pot over the first pot (don’t cover the tiny hole in this one)
- Light the candles and you are finished!
It is like a masonry fireplace. My kids did their science fair projects with these heaters so we could test them. In a 45 minute time period the temperature would usually rise about 3 degrees in the small room we used. Though a three degree temperature rise is quite insignificant, we found out there is an additional benefit. In the 45 minutes the pots got so hot we couldn’t remove them with bare hands. I found myself putting my hands near them like a camp fire. The heat was constant. When we blew out the candles, it took about 15 minutes before we could remove the top pot without a hot pad. At that point, it was a perfect hand warmer. The smaller remaining pot took additional time to cool. If the weather were frigid, a simple heat source would be very inviting.
I add a caution: If you are not going to closely monitor the heater, you should use a bread pan and not a pie tin, because it is deeper and will keep the flames farther from the terracotta pot. There will be less fire potential.
These heaters won’t keep a home at 70 degrees, but they have made it into my emergency preparedness plan! The peace of mind of having a little heat makes it worth it to me.
Spring time is a great time to find the 4 inch and 6 inch terracotta pots needed to make the heater. (Look for pots that aren’t painted or glazed.) I bought the tea candles and cooling racks at a dollar store.
I feel more comfortable knowing I have a heat source option that only relies on a match.