heater bloc releases open-source guide for alcohol heaters


according to a report by the department of housing and urban development (HUD), the number of homeless people in the U.S. rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2020. the numbers—which don’t even take into account the coronavirus pandemicincreased by 2% since 2019.


amid all the challenges faced by unhoused individuals, simply keeping warm is one of the biggest problems during colder winter months. in a bid to spread warmth to these vulnerable communities, portland-based heater bloc has shared a free guide on how to make a tent-safe copper coil alcohol heater for as little as $7.

these tent-safe DIY heaters for unhoused people cost just $7 to build
image by heater bloc via twitter



how do they work?


to make the simple heater you’ll need 1/4 inch copper tubing, a glass canning or mason jar, J-B weld two-part epoxy, a cotton t-shirt for the wick material, wire mesh to create a safety enclosure, a terracotta pot for the top, a plate for the bottom, and isopropyl or ethanol alcohol to burn inside.


heater bloc explains, ‘alcohol fumes or vapors from the liquid fuel in the glass jar collect in the copper pipe and, when the pipe is heated, the fumes expand and are forced out a small hole at the bottom of the copper loop. these fumes combust as soon as they exit and hit the open flame, which then heats the top of the copper loop. it creates a constant cycle of vaporized fumes being forced out of the hole and then combusting.’


the alcohol heaters are ideal for indoor spaces such as tents or small rooms. the design is also safe as burning alcohol presents no significant danger of carbon monoxide and the flame will extinguish if the heater tips over or runs out of fuel. of course, heater bloc asks users still to exercise caution using an open flame and not to leave it unattended. 


heater bloc has shared its detailed guide here, and the collective is regularly posting updates on the design with their community on twitter

these tent-safe DIY heaters for unhoused people cost just $7 to build
image by javs via twitter



project info:


name: heater bloc