By – The Unhived Mind 24th November 2013

After coming across the video by Dylan Winter showing a rehashed version of a greenhouse heater I decided to see if I could improve the idea for both heat and burn time. First of all you cannot purchase tea-lights as cheap as Dylan claims, the cheapest you’ll pay will be £1.75 at Ikea not £1. You will usually be able to get one-hundred tea-lights for £2 making each light worth two-pence which is double the cost that Dylan claimed. If you use just four lights in a larger open room you will not get as much benefit as you may desire. I have only trialled mine in a large open room and one that has a draft problem. Dylan’s version may be suitable for some small rooms but you certainly cannot extend candle burn times with his version. With my version you can increase the heat suitable for larger rooms and at the same time double candle burn time. The cheap tea-lights will only last two hours sometimes less and sometimes a fraction more, to me this was poor. Do not just throw away tea-lights when they are done with, you can recycle the left over wax and drop it in the melted wax of ones currently being used and extend the candles life. It is best to recycle previous wax halfway into the burn time of the new candles. Place some melted wax onto the wicks whilst you do the recycling before putting the pots back on top.


If you look at the left diagram you’ll view how easy it can be to figure out how to extend the burn time of candles whilst getting a lot more heat. Do not bother using two pots bolted together you will not extend burn time and at the same time you end up relying more on the device being a radiator. As a radiator you will not feel any decent heat past an inch from the sides of the device. With my design you do not cover any of the holes on any of the two pots, they must be open. I have not experimented but I suspect that some lights may go out if you cover the inner pot hole due to a lack of oxygen resulting from the my configuration of tea-light positions. When the holes are open you get a lot more heat compared to any of the old designs.

I use a larger area tin compared to Dylan winter. My tin will house four tea-lights lined in one direction and six to seven in the other direction resulting in a maximum capacity of twenty-four tea-lights that can be used. You will have to find a similar tin or experiment yourself with tins you have around the home. The tin you use may not be suitable to achieve the same results I have. I would recommend you place the tin upon a couple of bricks. The tin will get hot so please do not place it upon magazines and books like Dylan Winter did in his video, stick with bricks or a heat resistant base.

It can be pointless heating a room that has drafts because it defeats the object. If you have drafts coming from windows, they can be covered them with either film or plastic shielding like eco-ease and lets not forget how useful a well place thermal lined set of curtains can be extended past the windows with an added squared off pelmet. Use draft excluders underneath doors and plaster up any cracks in walls. Start wearing long johns and thermal clothing including socks and jumpers along with dressing gowns with hoods. Utilise hot water bottles under jumpers and clothing for added warmth, you can even do this when you go outside.

Try to buy tea-lights in bulk and get the price as low as you can in order to compete with utility bill tariffs. Do not be fooled that central heating is simply a gas bill coming, it is not. When you use central heating you also use a costly electric pump in order to pump the hot water around the home. So you will have to factor in both utility costs. You cannot use central heating when the boiler breaks down or during a power-cut or gas problem. You can always use the flowerpot heater if you have the equipment and some spare tea-lights. The central heating heats all over the home and not just one room like a flower pot heater. Some people claim it can be a waste of energy to heat a whole home, but it can be a good thing because it could save you large costs in the future trying to repair damp damage to the property.

Original Dylan Winter video:

Youtube Link

Leave a Reply