I was scanning through some YouTube videos and came across someone that put together a rubbing alcohol heater. The purpose of this was to have a portable, ready-to-go device in case you need emergency heat in a situation such as a vehicle breakdown in the middle of winter. I really questioned how well this “rubbing alcohol heater” would work – as well as how safe it could be in a vehicle.
I decided to make one myself.
Step #2: Remove toilet paper from the roll and stuff it in the paint can. Continue to do this until the can is completely full.
Step #3: Now – fill the can with the 70% rubbing alcohol a little at a time until the toilet paper is totally saturated.
Step #4: At this point the top can be put it place and the unit can be stored. The can opener with a lighter can be taped to the outside of the can. To trial the heater – I went to Step 5.
Step #5: Light the top with a match or a lighter.
Above I placed the heater inside my grill to protect it from the wind. The flame was much higher than it appears in the picture.
OK – so what was my impression?
First – I would not use it in a vehicle unless it was truly a do-or-die situation. There were little fumes – which is a benefit of using alcohol.
Second – I could feel minimal heat outside from it. Again – the premise of it was to be able to use it in a vehicle. In some form of enclosed space – possibly a small shed or lean to – the heat generated could prove beneficial.
Third – This is just flat out dangerous! With the original suggested purpose of usage in a car – this thing could easily tip over and spill. Would not make for a good day. Also – using this in a vehicle could certainly spell disaster to the roof.
Summary – It could save someones life if they were stranded on the side of the road in frigid temperatures. Beyond a desperate emergency – I would look to other ways to provide heat. For alternatives – see here, here and here.
PS – Due to my needing my vehicle – I never actually tried it inside a car.