General Question

flo's avatar

Any more ideas (other than the following one below) on how to heat a room?

Asked by flo (12974points) January 12th, 2014

I’m not sure if this is without its problem.

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39 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Turn on the oven. Or a heat lamp. Or a old fashioned 100 watt light bulb. Edit. I just watched the video that would work too.

flo's avatar

…i.e in case of elecricity outage.

talljasperman's avatar

Fill the room up with overactive kids that release heat into the room, or wear a sweater.

jaytkay's avatar

I like the clever solution in the video. In my place I could turn on the oven.

ibstubro's avatar

Clever, but it almost seems like you’d need two set-ups. Wouldn’t the inner pot still be hot for a long time?

I have a gas cooktop, so if there’s a power outage, I put a big pot of water on to simmer. Moist air feels warmer.

YARNLADY's avatar

I can tell you from personal experience, just invite your most annoying relative over and get in an argument with them. At least you, personally will feel a lot warmer.

flo's avatar

About the video, I read the comments too, so I don’t know.
By the way @ibstubro let’s say the gas cooktop doesn’t work either, as unlikely as it is.
@jaytkay there is no electricity.
@YARNLADY funny answer but you’re all too cold to argue.

flo's avatar

…and it is polar vortex cold not your average cold.

jaytkay's avatar

@flo I have a gas oven. I wasn’t thinking of those with electric.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
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ibstubro's avatar

Okay. Let’s say you don’t have a graduated set of flowerpots in your room, either.
No flowerpots.
No electricity.
No gas.
Absolutely no warmth producing source whatsoever, and now a ‘polar vortex’.
I’m sure the car will be outlawed if we mention that. Of course, the neighbors, who have a gas generator will be out of the question.

Is there a gun? Can we just shoot ourselves before the story gets any more dire?

Response moderated
ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Put several cinder blocks on the floor. Warm up bricks outside on a grill or fire. Bring them in the room and lay them on the cinder blocks. Seal up the room as best you can. Space blankets can help contain the heat. Rotate freshly heated bricks for cooled as needed.

DWW25921's avatar

You need some fat friends. I’ve never been cold around big people. They’re just like walking radiators!

flo's avatar

@ibstubro Let’s say you don’t have a graduated set of flowerpots in your room, either. ....
I was asking for other ideas (other than the one in the video), whether it is gas or elecricity you use it is out of order.
Okay you use your car or the neighbors generator as you mentioned and how do you heat the room?

@ARE_you_kidding_me that is the kind of answer I’m searching for.

gailcalled's avatar

It’s not called a “three-dog night” for nothing.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The heat output is the same whether or not the candle is in a pot or not. If you are trying to just take the ege off the cold simply light some candles. If the candle is not enough heat putting it in a pot will not be enough. At least an exposed candle puts out light as well as heat.
I have a kerosene heater that puts out about 20,000 BTU / hour. It will heat a room nicely. Keep a 5 gallon can of kerosene in the garage. It will last forever.
If you are worried about the smell you can purchase a catalytic heater that attaches to an LPG gas tank.
I have a 1100 watt generator which is enough to run a few lights and your home heating system (if it is gas).
It does not cost much to be prepared.

Seek's avatar


If the situation is as dire as @ibstubro says, I’d throw a few bad paperbacks in a stockpot and make a fire. No matches you ask? In my closet hides my old Civil War Re-enactment haversack, which includes a small tinderbox with flint and steel. I’ll use rubbing alcohol as an accelerant if necessary.

flo's avatar

@LuckyGuy generator etc are meant for that purpose though.
I appreciate all your answers all. I am looking for out of the box kind of method. The one in the video is one, but according to the comments section it has its critics.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Every home should have a least one cigarette lighter and a flint and steel sparker for a propane torch. Look around in the basement.
I like @Seek_Kolinahr ‘s idea of starting a fire in a stock pot. If you are desperate you do what has to be done. Start it outside first then bring it inside.

Buy candles at GoodWill. They are really cheap after Christmas – and put out the same amount of heat as new ones.

flo's avatar

@LuckyGuy I agree eveyone should be prepared your advice is well taken.
Edited: I woulld want it flame free though you just never know.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am not sure where you live but here in the Western NY you can figure a room will need about 5000 BTU/ hour to stay warm at if the outside temperature is at freezing. Just for comparison, a typical candle puts out 50 BTU/ hour . Read those numbers again. 5000BTU/hr needed and one candle is 50 BTU/hr. Virtually nothing.
Now let’s do a sense check. A 1 kW electric heater is 3400 BTU/hr, so 1 Watt is 3.4 BTU/hour. Do you think you can you heat one room with two 7 Watt night lights? Nope. Not unless it is a very small room and the outside temperature is only one degree cooler than the inside.
The laws of physics are hard to beat.

josie's avatar

Over time, you would save money by buying a thick blanket or duvet, a wool sweater, and some wool socks or good slippers.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There is also a type of heater Called a rocket mass heater It does use fire but uses very little fuel and is more or less safe inside. A small one can be built and just rolled into the room as needed. I have never used one but the design is simple. As far as emergency heat like @LuckyGuy said, nothing really beats a kerosene heater except when you are out of fuel.

talljasperman's avatar

A space heater and a portable generator.

CWOTUS's avatar

I worry less about heating the room (sometimes) and more about “what can I wear?” to mitigate the effects of lack of heat. The huge advantages to “dressing more appropriately” (including wearing thermal underwear indoors sometimes) are that there’s no risk of fire or asphyxiation, and no added operating cost.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I have several hurricane lamps that I can use if the generator quits for any reason. I also have my camp heater. The camp heater is designed to be used in a tent.
If those were not available, I would spend the day in bed with my GF, we can generate a lot of heat.

Coloma's avatar

Forget the dogs,shove a couple cats under the covers. I have a 17 lb.& 8 lb. bedwarmers. :-)

VS's avatar

We have a kerosene heater and keep the 5-gallon can full. I have not had to use it in a very long time, but last weekend when temps here in sunny SC were anticipated going down to the single digits, I broke it out, put in some fresh batteries (electric starter), and even after several years, it worked perfectly. Dressing appropriately is always a good idea, but as for heating a room, without power, I don’t know of any other safe alternatives.

LuckyGuy's avatar

GEEK ALERT!!! (Read no further if you think I am a normal person.)
Rather than use only hearsay I decided to do some measurements in the lab.

I used a tea light from Ikea (white with aluminum holder and ran some tests)
A Tea light puts out heat at a rate of 120960 Joules/hr. That is equivalent to 33 Watts or 114.65 BTU/hr.
At that rate, one tea light will burn for 4.3 hours.
You would need to burn about 45 of them at one time for a total of 243 tea lights per day to keep one room (heat loss 5000 BTU/hr typ.) warm if outdoor temp is at freezing.
Make sure to get unscented candles or you’ll smell like you were attacked by a bottle of perfume.

Not a very practical method but it would be romantic, if you don’t set the house on fire.

Seek's avatar

Not to mention, your room would be neatly coated in a nice layer of soot by the end of the night.

glacial's avatar

And that this is how a lot of homes go up in flames every year. Thanks for doing the math, @LuckyGuy!

YARNLADY's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Good point. I thought about that too, since I burn a couple of dozen candles on my Solstice night ceremony and the fumes are nearly overwhelming.

Kropotkin's avatar

I watched the video and it’s a good method. Just in case anyone didn’t quite catch how it works, I’ll summarise.

Buy tea lighters from Ikea. They’re cheap!

Light four of the tea lighters, and for some unfathomable reason, put them under two plant pots. (Perhaps the plant pots magically give the tea lighters more energy.)

Upload a video of this process to YouTube and get over 5 million hits.

Use the ad revenue from your viral video to properly heat your room, or install insulating materials and new double-glazed windows.

Kropotkin's avatar

On a less sarcastic note. Composting. Free heat from microbial activity and waste food and organic matter! I’ve been looking into it and may experiment with something small scale.

CWOTUS's avatar

Composting is a good suggestion, @Kropotkin. I had nearly forgotten, but it seems to me that Mother Earth News had an article many years ago (1980s, I think) where they proposed (and designed) a compost pile made up of wood chips filled around a closed coil of water and anti-freeze that would cycle naturally to heat an entire house. Naturally, this was not your mom’s compost pile of table scraps in a corner of the back yard. Their pile was nearly 8’ tall, I think, and had to be replenished periodically as the organic matter decayed and the volume was reduced.

Coloma's avatar

I still can’t believe people sleep with dogs. haha
Yes, I have slept with dogs too, and cats rule! lol

CWOTUS's avatar

Here is a more recent take on what I had mentioned above.

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