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Can You Really Heat a Room With a Terracotta Pot Heater?

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You may or may not be aware of all the DIY heater ideas out there, but there are a few circulating that are worth knowing how to execute in an emergency or just for some extra warmth in a drafty room!

You never know when you may be without heat in an unexpected weather scenario or want to warm up a small space when camping, living off-grid, or maybe your local power supply isn’t reliable.

One simple heater people are making and sharing around the internet is the terracotta pot heater, an illustrative name for a simple yet effective device.

If you’re lazy or want something decorative and don’t want to put in the effort, they are available premade on Etsy for a hefty mark up compared to the cost of materials.

Terracotta pot heaters are tremendously easy to make yourself though they might not look as pretty. You may already have many of the items needed laying around your home.

In this article – we’ll showcase some of the best and most beautiful terracotta pot tutorials we find.

We’ll also show you how to build your own!

Building a Terracotta Pot Heater From Scratch!

Candle Powered Air Heater - DIY Radiant Space Heater - flower pot heater - Easy DIY
Here’s my favorite method of building a terracotta pot heater. The design is genius! It also looks easy enough to assemble.

Building a terracotta pot heater is easier than you think – even if you’re not sure how to start.

Read More – Here’s How to Build an Off-Grid Cabin on a Tiny Budget!


Before you start building, you will need to gather some supplies. It is critical to mention that not all terracotta pot heaters are created equal in utility. Some don’t work!

(While some of the nonfunctional variety don’t work that well. Others offer splendor to any home decor. But, let’s talk about the heaters that work.)

Some methods on Youtube show the builder only using one terracotta pot which doesn’t get as hot as using multiple-sized pots that fit into each other, like a Russian doll.

The heater works by concentrating all the heat from a tiny candle flame into a single point and then helping it to radiate outward. Using two or three terracotta pots stacked on top of each other will radiate more heat.

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Needed Materials:

  • 2-3 terracotta pots of varying sizes; one small, one medium, one large.
  • One bolt, 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick, 4-5 inch long, and a nut that will fit the bolt.
  • Washers 10.
  • A candle or two, depending on the candle size. Shorter and stouter are better.
  • 3-5 Bricks or some other non-flammable object to prop up and support the pots (In one video, a gentleman uses a hefty saw blade.)

The Assembly Instructions

three terracotta flower pots varying sizes
Most of the terracotta heater designs I’ve seen call for several terracotta pots that fit inside one another. Like a Russian nesting doll! Here’s an example of three terracotta pots of alternating sizes perfect for a heater.

Place the smaller pot inside the larger one. And then again, if you have three. 

Push each of the bottoms together and thread the bolt through. That way, the nut is on the inside of the structure.

Use as many washers as possible to provide more metal for heating.

The number of washers you can fit will vary depending on the thickness of your pots and the length of your bolt. Tighten the nut and bolt by hand until the structure is stable and sturdy.

Now it is time to arrange your bricks or metal or whatever flame-proof items you have chosen for a base. Note that it is vital to leave space for air to travel under the pot’s foundation for a few reasons.

One is so the fire can have enough oxygen to continue burning and so that air may flow in to get trapped and warmed.

One experienced Youtuber claims that you must have an open hole towards the top of your clay pot heater (aside from the bolt hole at the base of the pot).

scented candles burning indoors
I love stout candles the most for terracotta pot heaters. Thick candles allow for the candle to fit snugly underneath the clay pots. Short, wide candles also burn for a long time. Bonus points!

The open hole, he explains, helps warm air can flow freely.

(It makes sense to us!)

The air flows after being sucked up through the space we created earlier at the bottom of the heater above your bricks.

That said, it is worth finding a pot with more than one hole in the bottom. It isn’t 100% necessary, but something to consider worth experimenting with and considering.

There are a ton of tutorials online for free walking step by step through the process of drilling through terracotta. 

Remember to wet the terracotta before any drilling to avoid cracks!

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05/25/2024 10:26 am GMT

Terracotta Pot Heater FAQs

We realize the art and science of creating a terracotta pot heater is new – and tricky!

That’s why we’re answering a few common questions you may have.

We hope these answers help you!

How Do Terracotta Heating Pots Work?

Place the candle or candles directly under the metal bolt and washers. That way, the tip of the candle flame is about an inch under the bolt. The hottest point on a small flame is immediately above the blaze itself. The nut, bolt, and washers will turn red after not very long. The heat then radiates to the terracotta surface of the first and outer pots.

The entire large surface of the outer pot becomes very warm in no time! And all from a tiny little candle flame.

The surface gets around 200 degrees on average, so protect yourself from burns and don’t let the little ones around it unattended.

It is critical to know that if an emergency cold weather event happens where this device helps for survival, place it in the smallest room possible! Or, you won’t feel much temperature change.

Aside from choosing the smallest room, block all cracks where heat may escape to conserve warmth.

Are Terracotta Pot Heaters Safe?

Every year we read about people accidentally dying from makeshift heating arrangements. Are terracotta pot heaters dangerous? A single candle flame eats up so little oxygen that it would be nearly impossible to die from carbon monoxide poisoning even in a tiny space.

So yes, the clay pot heater is much safer than other DIY heaters or emergency heaters such as kerosene or electric heaters that run off a generator.

It’s also easy to transport the device on a long hike and safe for the campground.

(I’ve also read plenty of horror stories about people bringing their BBQ grills or gas-based power generators inside to heat their homes in the winter. Never do that – it’s tremendously dangerous!)

Emergency Heating for free 90% of all Terracotta Tea candle heater tutorials are wrong! Flower pot
Here’s another video tutorial showing how to build a terracotta heater from scratch. I love the massive terracotta pot on the outer layer!

Happy Building! And – Always Remember to Put Safety First! 

May you build the terracotta heater that best works for you and your personal needs, whether that be an emergency prep kit, a camping bag of essentials, or clever decor for a drafty drab hangout space.

Also – if you have experience heating your home with a terracotta heater, please let us know!

Did you get good results? Does it help heat your room and keep you cozy during winter?

Thanks again – and happy heating!

Read More – The 10 Best Off-Grid Refrigerator Options! Plus, How to Run Them!

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  1. “A single candle flame eats up so little oxygen that it would be nearly impossible to die from carbon dioxide poisoning even in a tiny space.” Actually, carbon *monoxide* poisoning is the real hazard here, which is why people have CO detectors in their homes.

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