Depending on the climate, that you live in, heating your home in an emergency may be a matter of life or death. Where I live it would be cold, but with dressing warmly, I could survive in my home without any additional heating. Now I am not saying it would be comfortable but I could get by well with this improvised heater.
Now I know that many of you who live in ultra cold climates have multiple means of backup heat, wood stove, coal, propane and etcetera. But what about these you who live in climates where a bit of heat would be nice but is not necessary or if you have to bug out and leave your preps. Can you make an improvised heater that will heat a small space or a tent?
I have been playing with a heater that will take the chill of a small room and even in a cold climate combined with other techniques could keep you alive. See Staying Warm While Sheltering in Place After a Disaster for some other ideas.
In the heater I built, I use two different size clay pots, a bread pan, 4 tea light candles, a bolt and a washer. These are items that normally are not to hard to find. Any small homemade oil lamp or candle could be substituted for the tea lights. They would just have to be small enough to fit.
I set the four tea light candles in the bread pan and lit them. You then place the smaller of the two clay pots on top of the bread pan. Use the washer and bolt to plug the hole in the bottom of the clay pot. Then place the larger pot over the top of the smaller. The heat from the candles will heat the inside pot and convection will transfer the heat to the larger.
I have been running one in my office for about 2 ½ hours now and it looks like the tea lights are starting to get low The pan is too hot to touch and I can just lay my hands on the outer pot. I would not try to touch the inner one. This little heater is putting out quite a bit of heat and has driven my wife out of the room.
Using a tuna or an Altoids can, some oil and a cotton wick, you could make one that would run considerably longer. It may not keep you warm and toasty, but it might keep you alive. Don’t forget to leave a small amount of ventilation the improvised heaters will give out carbon monoxide.