Do NOT try this at home

November 30, 2006

Journal, Lauren

If there’s something I love, it’s being irresponsible and unsafe in my own home. You’d never think it – I’m always on everyone else’s case to be careful, and think they can’t do anything right on their own.

*** Disclaimer *** That being said, don’t try these things at home. There is no way that you could ever do this without burning your house down. In fact, it’ll be a miracle if we don’t burn our own house down.

Now, on to the unsafe experiments!!! As you may know, I’m becoming freakish about cheap heat. The candle heater is pretty cool, but doesn’t get as hot as my unsafe model. Thinking along the lines of a true cheapskate, I wondered if you could just put tea lights in a cinder block and skip all the costly bolts and nuts. Having a plethora of cinder blocks in the basement, I give you:
Model One

Don't go having any earthquakes or anything

It gets pretty hot on top! It hit 165, which is plenty warm for putting your stocking feet on. The bottom stays cool, so the floor is safe. If I were going to do this on a regular basis, I’d probably make some kind of rig so the tealights couldn’t accidently get kicked out. (Which is unlikely, but possible.)

Testing the boundaries even further, we have the mini model:

Model Two

Mini Me

Toasty Tootsies

As we are still in testing mode, this picture was taken fifteen minutes after lighting the candles, and Lloyd said it was plenty hot – 137 degrees. I’ve taken out one tealight, leaving three. Ain’t dangerous experiments grand??

(Update: one hour later, it’s at 178.)

(Updated update: two hours later, and Mini Me is a bit warm on the bottom, too – 167. I’ve put a washcloth underneath, and we’ve had one on top for a while now as a buffer. The top is ROCKET HOT – 232. Tomorrow I’m trying again with just two tealights.)

(Updated updated update:  Um, some pretty bad creosote will build up on the one that is so close to the flames.  It will make a bad burny smell and might burn your house down before you know it.  Skip the tiny one, eh?)

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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9 Responses to “Do NOT try this at home”

  1. Brad Said on:

    You should try a model that’s made of wood. I bet that would get hot. Alternately, try a different fuel source. Gasoline in a cup burns nicely. I did that with my brother once when we were kids.


  2. Beth Said on:

    For the record, I have officially experienced the brick foot warmers…very toasty might I say…


  3. Brad Said on:

    So Lauren, did you figure out an optimum tealight-to-brick ratio? I would do this, but I’m a little concerned about the bottom getting hot and scorching my floor.


  4. Lauren Said on:

    Six work great in the big version, which is narrower that a full-fledged concrete block. It is toasty on top, and the bottom does not get hot. (If you’re worried, put a magazine or towel underneath.) The small one is just plain dangerous. I haven’t tried just two tealights -- that will be tonight.


  5. Dad Hofman Said on:

    When I was less than half your age, Lauren, we had a term for folks like you: PYROMANIACS. :>)


  6. Beth Said on:



  7. Lauren Said on:

    It’s true. You’ll all testify on by behalf for my arson trial, though, right?


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