How to Easily Heat Your Home Using Flower Pots & Tea Lights

Wanting to cut costs on the energy bill, especially now that temperatures are dropping for the season? Economics may be one reason to seek more sustainable energy sources, but this inventive way to heat the house is also purely fascinating.

Journalist, YouTuber, and boat owner Dylan Winter created his DIY heater using tea lights and placed inside a bread tin and covered with two ceramic flowerpots.

This creative system uses the scientific principles of convection heat transfer and, according to Winter, can heat his home for around 8 hours a day.

His YouTube Channel KeepTurningLeft shows how the method works: The tea lights are first put into a bread loaf tin and covered with a small upside-down flower pot.

The hole in the top of the upside-down pot is covered with the metal casing leftover from one of the tea lights. Then the pot is covered by a second, larger pot and the hole in the bigger flower pot is left uncovered.

This system works because the candles produce gases full of heated particles that are captured and channeled through the pots. As hot gas particles are lighter than the air, they will rise up through the top into the colder area.

What will then be caused is the cold air to fall into the warm areas and create a convection current; then heat is transferred from one pot to another, and then out of the hole.

One does not need a huge amount of money to invest in this economical heating method, either. Winter began by buying 100 tea lights from Ikea for less than a dollar, a standard loaf tin, and two different sized flower pots. In the video it is shown four candles are used for the heating system.

Sharing his invention with the world, Dylan explains that the heat from the candles warms the inside of the smaller flower pot, which becomes an ‘inner core’ that gets ‘very hot’. As explained before, a convection of air is then created between the smaller and larger pots and this heated air comes out of the top of the homemade heater.

When asked about his heater, he said: “People have told me that judicious positioning of flowerpots help to make the heating more efficient. I did not believe it but it really does seem to work.

You get a nice flow around the [pots] and it warms the room up. You’d be amazed.”

Dylan even uses the flowerpot method on his boats to conduct heat. Truly inspiring for those seeking to simplify, be more frugal with their dollar, and leave less waste, perhaps this system will warm many families this year as winter makes itself more present.


Daily Mail, UK

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179 Responses to "How to Easily Heat Your Home Using Flower Pots & Tea Lights"

  1. Pat Morley  November 20, 2013 at 1:09 am

    Unfortunately low energy bulbs give off little heat. It’s true that burning candles over lengthy periods produces a black smoke stain around where the walls meet the ceiling but this can be easily wiped away. Anyway you have to burn quite a lot of candles to produce this. Just as soon as a couple of clay plant pots or some suitable stoneware comes my way I am going to try this. Tea lights are much cheaper from places like Wilkinsons and Poundland, 99 p shops etc. The journey to IKEA from here would produce a massive addition to my carbon footprint. There used to be a bed warming device consisting of a pair of hinged metal bowls with a 40 watt bulb in the middle but I bet this has been discontinued now on safety grounds. I don’ t remember hearing of any fires caused by these though. I have a tiny flat and an even tinier shop so definitely think it’s worth a try. The fork handles thing comes from a well known sketch from the show The two Ronnies over the confusion of a shopkeeper on being asked for four candles when the customer really wanted fork ‘andles, it’s a British joke…….
    It’s now midnight so before I turn into a pumpkin (also a British not quite a joke) Bye y’all.

  2. Robin Worley  November 20, 2013 at 10:53 am

    This is only based on a couple of minutes thinking, so I’ve probably missed something. But although I doubt a couple of tealights could heat a room, using the pots to store and build up heat while decreasing airflow and the number of air molecules heated, could create a useful localized radiator – especially if you’re sitting next to it.

  3. okat  November 22, 2013 at 8:37 am

    make sure the candles aren’t toxic.

  4. WN  November 22, 2013 at 9:26 am

    … in Prinzip klappt es….ein Teelicht hat etwa 25 Watt Wärmeleistung. … Nachteile sind der Sauerstoffverbrauch und der Feinruß…. Eine Kerze im kleinen Gewächshaus langt für den Frost am frühen Morgen … Ich selbst nutze eine Kerze bei Temperaturen um die 0°C für den Heizölraum, damit bleibt die Raumtemperatur mit 8°C erhalten ..

  5. Neil  November 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Keep Turning Left? I’m a conservative. Am I not allowed to learn money saving tips? Only libtards?

  6. Janiece Payne  November 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    What size clay pots are used?

  7. cambridgearomatherapy  November 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I will try this using candles from beeswax, though probably more in our greenhouse than in the house. Our woodstove heats the hot water as well :) I understand the calculations in some of the posts above but there is nothing like a real world test to evaluate something properly.

  8. Peter Kaplan BR'97  November 27, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Whoa, this is counterfactual permawashing. Any fuel with a flash point as low as paraffin’s is always going to burn way less efficiently than a fuel with a high flash point. Indeed, heating any space using paraffin will cost you almost 6x what natural gas heating costs.

    Stop polluting the green revolution with bullshit permawashing ideas and pretending they’re part of the solution.


  9. anon  January 10, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    The Daily Mail? You think that is a source worth listening to for science advice? This whole putting candles in things to make a heater is a joke, and that it is getting mindlessly repeated shows that the repeaters don’t know what they are talking about: the same amount of energy will be released from a candle if it is covered or not. I guess the flower pot stops some visible light photons going out of windows, but if the curtains are closed it does not matter if the IR source a flowerpot or the walls/windows.

    By sitting near a point heat source a skewed judgement about what feels hotter can be made, but the laws of physics cannot be hacked with clever flowerpot placement. Nor the use of a magic bread bin.

    If the candles are made from non-fossil fuels then possibly it is good for the environment, but in reality using an electric heater is probably overall less polluting!

  10. sh  February 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    should have tried it anon. The candles are covered to heat the flower pot. The pot is covered in another pot to form “convection” heat. I did it and it brought a 50 degree 28X18 room to 65 degrees. I’m thinkin’ 2 or 3 would make it cozy. Oh and the pan is to let air go through to the candle so it doesn’t go out…and as the saying goes, I typed this slowly so maybe you could understand

    • Peter Kaplan BR'97  February 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      ugh, no one is debating that a candle will eventually heat up a room. The point here is that a candle, compared to ordinary gas or oil heating, is
      (1) less efficient
      (2) more polluting
      (3) larger carbon footprint
      (4) potentially poisonous(!) (carbon monoxide)

      SO DON’T DO IT. Not in place of ordinary heating, not in place of renewables heating. Just don’t.
      Also, “convection” is not a magic word. It means “making the heated air move through the room.” There is nothing special about the double-flowerpot setup. The end.

    • Peter Kaplan BR'97  February 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Forgot to mention, all those comparisons also apply when comparing the candle to electric heating. SO DON’T DO IT.

  11. sh  February 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    You ain’t the bossa me! :) I firmly believe that God has complete control of global temperatures, and He doesn’t care how many candles I burn. Way down south in Dixie we are having an extraordinarily cold winter. We are looking for temporary alternative heat in case of power outage. We aren’t doomsday preppers but I know of at least one person who was afraid to try this due to your negative responses. May God bless America!

  12. Gottin Himmel  February 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Oh, dear. Suffice it to say, I used this method aboard my own small sailboat in the wintertime when I lived aboard her. Winters’ technique is a refinement of setting an inverted flowerpot over a candle or a gas stove burner. I’ve been using the updated version this winter and it does work. I’m truly green — gardening, recycling, reusing, etc. This horse hockey about the candle heater being more polluting than other forms of energy is … horse exhaust. And if I can avoid paying more money to the public, and highly political, utility companies, it’s all good.

    • Peter Kaplan BR'97  February 6, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      I welcome you to do as you please, and trust in God (may peace be upon him) or whatever authority you choose.

      But neither you nor I have the right to debate the facts. They are not subject to argument. They are facts, laws of how the physical world works. You do us all a disfavor when you call the facts horseshit. You set society back. You offend the Creator who set those facts in place.

      I do not believe life should be *about* facts; I believe it should be about spiritual fulfillment. But part of that for me is owning that boundary where my claim on my spiritual reality ends and objective facts begin. You and I share that responsibility. *Please* help me hold it. I can’t do it alone.

    • Peter Kaplan BR'97  February 6, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      These, for example, are facts:

  13. Susan  February 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Peter, I was not aiming anything at you personally. LOL. I was rather amused by the comments based on conjecture, not on real-life experience. BTW, my time aboard my boat was a spiritual experience. God didn’t tell me to freeze in the process.

    • Peter Kaplan BR'97  February 8, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Susan, please don’t call facts conjecture. If God had intended for them to be the same thing, they’d be called the same thing. Stop misrepresenting the Lord’s work.

  14. Kahliahsa  February 11, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    So despite y’all’s ugly bickering, back to the point….
    I tried this and it worked moderately well. I say moderately because several of the candles stopped burning but were melted into the liquid form due to heat.
    Also, I have a 6.5″ & 8″ pot to use. So, maybe somehow the candles aren’t getting enough oxygen so they stopped burning? I don’t know. Also, definitely not good for a large room. Tried it in my sons room, worked ok. The livingoom, nope!!! That space was too big.
    Any ideas?


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