Ellpea's Terra Cotta "heater" experiment - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-27-2015, 11:46 PM   #15
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You need a lot more energy and a lot more mass.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:06 AM   #16
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You need a lot more energy and a lot more mass.
I'd readily accept more energy, but am perfectly satisfied with my current "mass," thank you.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:43 AM   #17
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Interesting testing LP, I might have add a few candles as I don't have a LP heater and don't use hookups. Glad you're getting out with your rig after all the problems you had early on.
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Old 10-28-2015, 06:01 AM   #18
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Ellpea's Terra Cotta "heater" experiment

Try taking a general science class. It is solar radiation that heats the earth. Even on cloudy days some of it, particularly the UV wavelengths penetrate the clouds. Anyone with a solar panel knows that, as they may not have as great an output on cloudy days, but they still produce current. And if you can successfully negotiate a 9th grade general science course, take physics next and learn about thermodynamics. Any increase in the trailer's internal temperature after sunrise is mostly due to solar radiation (even in cloudy or rainy conditions) and not 100 watts of candle heat stored by terra cotta. Ask yourself this: Why do people like to sit in the shade during the summer months, but avoid shaded areas during the winter?

If you really want a meaningful experiment, get your terra cotta "heater" hot during the afternoon and evening outside of the trailer. Wait until after sunset and the trailer cools off, and move the "heaters" inside the trailer. Then, since it will be nighttime and there will be no solar radiation striking the trailer, let us know how much of a temperature change is noted inside the trailer from the "terra cotta stored heat," and how long that increase actually lasts. Better yet, try using the terra cotta heater in below freezing temperatures even if the sun is shining and see how comfortable it is inside the trailer.


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Old 10-28-2015, 06:57 AM   #19
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The heat you get will be the same as from three tea lights without the terra cotta. The terra cotta wIll store the heat for awhile. It will not increase it.


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I rest my case...
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:31 AM   #20
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Carl has a good idea. Try your experiment after dark. Remove the sun from the equation. I would start around 11 pm, but I am a bit of a night hawk.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:42 AM   #21
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I Goggled looking for portable heaters with Terra Cotta components and came up with a big Zero.


It clearly must be a conspiracy launched by the LP industry to force us to use more LP than really necessary..... Sorta like the "Fish" carburetor that the oil companies were accused to have kept off the market in the 50's to keep our V8's from getting 50 MPG.... LOL


Really, if this was a valid idea, one that's really been around since my tent camping days, one would think that the portable heater peeps would have caught onto it as a major sales point.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:43 AM   #22
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Ellpea, try finding a good sized piece of soapstone. Heat it in your campfire, then put it in your trailer.
In our previous home, we had a Tulikivi heater, they work really well. I imagine in a small trailer, it could keep things from cooling down overnight.
No burning candles to worry about!
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:37 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
I Goggled looking for portable heaters with Terra Cotta components and came up with a big Zero.


It clearly must be a conspiracy launched by the LP industry to force us to use more LP than really necessary..... Sorta like the "Fish" carburetor that the oil companies were accused to have kept off the market in the 50's to keep our V8's from getting 50 MPG.... LOL


Really, if this was a valid idea, one that's really been around since my tenting camping days, one would think that the portable heater peeps would have caught onto it as a major sales point.
It's out there. Google "Flower Pot Heater".
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:17 PM   #24
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Energy content of candles

Looking at Amazon, I see that tea candles are a wax cylinder about 1.5 inches in diameter and * 0.5 inches tall. Volume of a cylinder is pi * r**2 * h = 0.883 cubic inches or 14.45 cm**3. The density of paraffin wax is 0.9 g/cm**3, so we're looking at 13.03 grams of wax. The energy content of paraffin is about 42 kJ/g, so we're looking at 547kJ. There are 0.277 watt-hours per kJ, so we've got about 152 watt hours.

If you're looking for the power, the amazon tea candles claim 4-5 hours, so 152 watt hours / 4.5 hours or about 33.8 watts on average. It would take just over 42 tea candles to match the thermal output of a 1440 watt space heater (12A at 120V).

On the topic of terra cotta. The point of the terra cotta pot is to provide venting. Attach a pipe to the top of the pot and run it outside. Now you can close the windows (scamp windows doors especially leak pretty well for the required make up air) I have heard of people doing this and running the stove on low all night. The bottom of the terracotta pot needs to be lifted off the nonflammable surface just a hair, otherwise candles will get no air. If you have the windows open, you will vent out any heat this tiny heater will produce.
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Old 10-28-2015, 01:47 PM   #25
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I have to caution you on burning candles in such a confined area.
Please read below!
According to the EPA’s research, “Candles with lead wicks have the potential to generate indoor airborne lead concentrations of health concern. It is also possible for consumers to unknowingly purchase candles containing lead wick cores and repeatedly expose themselves to harmful amounts of lead through regular candle-burning.”

They also go on to say that regardless of the lack of lead, burning several candles exceeded the EPA’s standards and posed an increased risk for cancer because of the acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, toluene, benzene and acrolein levels. All those chemicals, along with many others are not healthy or good for our bodies and most especially our lungs.

Paraffin wax candles also produce soot – that black stuff caused from the flickering flame. “When soot is airborne, it is subject to inhalation. The particles can potentially penetrate the deepest areas of the lungs, the lower respiratory tract and alveoli (Krause, 1999).”
Jim Kocinski
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Old 10-28-2015, 02:13 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
Oh, one more thing. On my last two checks, *one* tea light had died out, and the temp had marginally dropped. Hypothesis: three tea lights needed to increase temp inside trailer. Two tea lights will no doubt slow the progress of cooling down, but three (at least) needed to warm.

I'm curious about using beefier candles, sterno, and other types of "warming."

I can also try just lighting three tea lights tomorrow without the *heater,* and see if I get a similar result sans terra cotta. But what I'd really like to do is run the same experiment again, only using 6 tea lights.

Still looking for some scientific mind to suggest minimum ventilation for this application!
No one seems to be addressing the issue of how much ventilation you might need for safety. Wish I really knew...




BUT--the more candles, the more venting, probably, and sterno? Maybe even more. There must be some physics folks out there who can opine?




PS--our house can easily gain 15 degrees F during a sunny day, and it loses it VERY slowly over night. Our brown amerigo trailer warms up quickly in the sun, to the point of feeling stifling when Paul's busy scraping and cleaning in there..so that we're thinking of painting it white again, as we'll mostly be camping spring, summer, and fall...and it seems easier to warm up than to cool it down--kind of like you can always put on another sweater, but you can only get so naked.
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Old 10-28-2015, 02:40 PM   #27
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Oops, they did address it, sorry.
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Old 10-28-2015, 02:40 PM   #28
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Can't believe you are concerned more with cheap heat and not about getting poisoned!
Candles and sterno, wow!
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