One of the most requested topics from our “What’s Coming Up Next” post was to discuss some alternative methods of cooling and heating your home. We have recommended in the “Car Kit” portion of our Emergency Preparedness Plan that you place a Coffee Can Heater in your car. These heaters could also be useful in a home if you had no other options available and needed to thaw yourself out a little bit.
A while back, we gave a little tutorial for how to make a coffee can heater, but we had a reader (David H. from Washington) who has refined and perfected this method and makes it so that the outside of the can doesn’t get too hot to the touch. This is a tutorial and pictures put together by him and posted here with his permission. This is the best part about our blog, we learn from our readers every day. You guys are the best!
How to Make a Coffee Can Heater
1 – Empty tuna can (not shown)
2 – 1 lb cans: 1 empty, 1 unopened
1 – # 10 can empty with plastic lid
1 – Roll toilet paper
1 – Can spray foam insulation
1 – Book or small box of matches
1 – Bottle isopropyl alcohol
1 – Empty popcorn tin (Three flavor type)
2 – Additional rolls toilet paper
Some observations from David. Originally, I hoped to make a self-contained heater with room for a small bottle of alcohol and some matches. This can be done by not using the tuna can, however, the 1 lb can with the toilet paper sits too low in the # 10 can and the flames may die from poor air circulation. Drilling a series of holes a couple of inches below the rim of the # 10 can through the insulation will help with the air flow. Use a hammer and nail to make starter holes so the drill won’t skate. Metal burrs may be found around the holes and the metal is sharp, so a file should be used to remove the burrs.
With four attempts at making the heater, I used about 1.5 cans of spray insulation. I estimate that one can could produce 3-4 heaters.
Note from Jodi and Julie: We hope this has been helpful for you. If you make one of these heaters using this method feel free to share about it in the comments or post a picture in our facebook fanpage. Thanks again to David for submitting this!
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder