Anything that gets hot, from the coffee maker to the electric toaster oven, has a heating coil inside of it. When these small appliances and even big appliances like dryers fail to get hot, it's natural to wonder if you can make your own heating coil, if you need to replace the coil, and what you can do to get things working again the right way.
Whether or not you can make your own heating coil is not the question to ask. It's more important to question whether or not this is something that you should do and in every single situation, the answer is no.
What Is a Heating Coil?
Basically, a heating coil turns electricity into heat. These coils, which may not necessarily be coil-shaped, are made with metals that conduct heat and electricity.
In small appliances that use heating coils, such as toasters, the coils are typically made from nichrome. This is a combination of nickel and chromium.
These two metals create a highly flexible metal alloy. Alloys made with nickel, iron, chrome, tungsten, and stainless steel are common in heating coils.
The coil becomes hot when electricity runs through the coil.
An exhaust fan transfers the heat to where it needs to go. In a hair dryer, for example, the fan pushes hot air out through the front of the device.
Making Your Own Heating Coil
You can certainly figure out how to make your own heating coil using nickel-chromium wire and you can even shape it and size it to look exactly like the heating coil in a kitchen appliance or device.
But you shouldn't. Yes, you can make your own heating coil and you can certainly get it to heat up.
However, this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. You should not and do not want to create something that can heat up for the exact reason that it heats up.
This is a clear fire hazard. Making your own heating coil and placing it inside a device that has a lot of plastic parts inside of it is asking for serious trouble.
If the heating coil in a toaster, a coffee maker, a laundry dryer, or any other device in your home stops working, you really should not try to replace the coil. Even if you buy a replacement heating coil from the manufacturer, there are too many things that can go wrong.
You have heard the term about playing with fire, right?
Making your own heating coil is possible but not at all advisable. Instead, turn to safer methods for heating your home and small appliances.
Other Heating Solutions
If you are looking for DIY ways to create heat, that is more than possible. After all, ancient humans lived for tens of thousands of years in caves using fire to keep themselves warm.
By combining a little Stone Age tech with modern tech and some fairly common household items, anyone can create a DIY heater.
Terra Cotta Heater
Place a shallow terra cotta saucer on top of a brick or a flat piece of stone on top of a flat table. Do not use an angled or lumpy surface under any circumstances and make sure the saucer and its base are quite secure.
Stack more bricks around the saucer, creating a little faux wall around the saucer that extends two inches above the rim of the saucer. Place several candle tea lights on the saucer and light them.
Place a large terra-cotta pot upside-down over the saucer, resting it on the faux wall so that there are about two inches of space between the bottom of the pot and the top of the saucer. Airflow is essential for the candles to stay lit.
Cover the bottom of the pot with an inverted terra cotta saucer to cover the drainage hole.
The terra cotta will be hot to the touch, so exercise caution around this DIY heater. Also, there are open flames involved with this DIY project so you need to be careful and mindful at all times while the candles are lit.
Do not go to sleep with the candles lit and make sure that pets and children cannot access this DIY heater or even get close to it. You don't want a pet or a child to bang into the table, knock the heater askew and start a fire.
You can get more creative with terra cotta heaters like this and suspend them from the ceiling using metal rods. With nuts and washers and a glass-cutting drill bit, it is possible to install a rod to hold the saucer and pot in place with two inches of clearance between them and use the rod to hang the heater right from the ceiling.
You can do something similar with any large ceramic pot or cooker. Place several small candles on a fireproof tray.
Stack two bricks on either side of the tray and place the ceramic pot upside-down to rest it on top of the bricks. The stoneware should be covering the candles but there will be open space between the bottom of the pot and the tray.
Place a small fan several inches behind this setup and turn the fan on. This will flow the warm air from the DIY heater into the room.
Wood Burning Stove
People have used wood-burning stoves to heat their living spaces literally since the Ice Age, so this is definitely tech that works. You will need a chimney and flue for any type of wood-burning stove or fireplace.
You need to make sure that the chimney and flue are properly installed and regularly cleaned because, without proper airflow, the wood-burning stove or fireplace becomes an extreme home hazard. You risk exposing yourself to potentially fatal gases and smoke without proper ventilation.
However, there are few options as efficient as a wood-burning stove or fireplace when you need to generate heat without the use of electricity.
Making Your Own Heating Coil
You can make your own heating coil with the right tools and if you take the notion to do it. After all, people in factories make heating coils.
They are human-made devices, not something found in nature, so any human can technically create a heating coil. But just because you can does not mean that you should.
Heating coils are potentially extremely dangerous and if you have a device with a heating coil that is no longer working, it's much safer to replace the device than to try to fashion a new coil and continue to use it.
Heating Coil FAQs
What material is used for heating coils?
Most heating coils are made with a combination of nickel and chromium, though stainless steel is also often used. Chromium is the most common metal used for heating coils because it has a very high melting point, which means it takes a great deal of heat before this metal will melt.
A high melting point is a very important feature in any heating coil, for obvious reasons.
What is the best heating coil material?
Nickel and chromium alloys are used most frequently in heating coils that are designed for use in household products, such as hair dryers. This alloy is known as nichrome and usually contains a little bit of iron, along with nickel and chromium.
How are heater coils made?
To make a heater coil, you need a metal wire. The thicker the wire, the higher the electrical current that will travel through the wire.
Wrap the wire around a copper or aluminum tube. The more wraps you make around the tube, the more heat the coil will generate.
Leave the ends of the wire hanging off the tube. The coil can be powered with a DC power supply.
However, it cannot be stated enough that you should not attempt this and that creating your own heater coil is not something you should do at home or really, anywhere, unless you happen to work in a heater coil factory.
How to make a 12-volt heating coil?
To make a 12-volt heating coil, you need a nichrome wire that's about one millimeter thick, a 12-volt battery and some other tools and supplies. Working with electricity and heat is an incredibly dangerous thing and in some cases, you might be taking your life into your hands by doing so.
Engineers go to school for many years to learn how to design heating coils that can be used in enclosed devices safely and with minimal risk of fire and electrocution. Even so, home accidents happen all the time and many things can go wrong even with items that have been carefully designed by professionals and checked multiple times over by safety officials.
What is the best metal for heating elements?
Chromium is one of the most commonly used metals in heating elements and heating coils because it has such a high melting point. A metal with a high melting point should always be used for any type of heating element or coil because only these types of metals can be safely used for this purpose.
What makes a good heating element?
A heating element is good if it lasts for a long time and can be used safely for a long time, say several years or so. In time, all things will break or wear out or burn out or just stop working no matter what you do.
But if you have a device that lasts you for five or more years with a heating coil that works perfectly, consider yourself to be pretty lucky.
Why copper is not used for heating coils?
Copper is a pretty metal that is found often in home decor and other home items. Copper has low resistance, which means it conducts electricity so that electricity passes through it quickly rather than heating up the copper.
Copper also has a very low melting point, so it will start to bend and melt if it is heated up. Clearly, this makes it a very poor choice for use in heating coils.
Which alloy is used for making heating coils Why?
Nichrome, a combination of nickel and chromium, is most commonly used in heating coils. Often, iron and other metals are added to this combination to create the right amount of strength and conductivity.
Aluminum and stainless steel are also very often used in alloy metal mixtures found in heating coils.
Which material is used as heating element in heater?
Heating elements are always made with metal that has a very high melting point, which means it can withstand very high amounts of heat. This is the most important quality in any metal that is used to make heating elements or heating coils.
How hot does a 1500-watt heating element get?
A standard 1500-watt heater running on 120 volts of electricity generates around 5100 BTUs of heat. BTUs are used to measure the amount of heat found in anything that puts out heat, such as a water heater or a furnace.
This will heat up around 150 square feet of space, which is about the size of any medium-sized room, such as an office or a spare bedroom.
How to make a heat induction coil?
It is possible to use copper wire to make a heat induction coil at home but this is a pretty dangerous project that takes extreme caution and care. There are numerous video tutorials that can show you the step-by-step process.
How do you make a homemade heater?
There are a few different ways to make a homemade heater. One of the most effective is to use candles or flame in conjunction with stoneware that will radiate heat.
As long as the flames receive enough oxygen, they will heat up the stoneware and the stoneware will give off heat.
What metal is used for induction heating?
Common metals used in induction heating include brass, copper, steel, and aluminum. Steel and aluminum are also frequently used.
How hot does an induction coil get?
Induction coils can get extremely hot, depending on the design and the amount of power they are receiving. On average, these coils can get as hot as 212 degrees to 3000 degrees F.
This is an extreme amount of heat that is more than capable of burning human skin, which will burn when exposed to 125 degrees F for two minutes.
At a heat that's just five degrees higher at 130 degrees F, human skin will burn in 30 seconds.
How to make a homeless heater?
A homeless heater, also known as a hobo heater, is a small heater that can be used just about anywhere that is made with common and inexpensive materials. Heaters like this one can potentially be used to keep unhoused people warm in cold weather conditions, which can be life-saving.
Make a homeless heater by placing a small mason jar full of alcohol on top of a heat-resistant plate. Two holes are poked into the lid of the jar and a coiled copper tube is connected at either end with epoxy to these two holes.
Next, a heat-resistant cage that is much taller than the mason jar is placed on top of and around the jar. A terra cotta pot is placed upside-down right on top of this.
The copper tube can be lit on fire and it will burn on nothing but the fumes from the alcohol. This heat will rise up toward the terra cotta pot, which will emit heat.
This design for a tent-safe DIY heater was created by HeaterBloc, which shared the design as an open-source how-to guide. Open-source means it doesn't cost anything to use the design and anyone can use it.
According to them, this heater costs $7 to make.
How can I generate heat without a heater?
You don't need a heater to generate heat. After all, what do you think they did in year 0?
It is always possible and will always be possible to create a fire to create heat. This is dangerous, obviously, as open flame is nothing to play around with, but it's how human beings survived for tens of thousands of years while living as hunter-gatherers.
What is the cheapest DIY heater?
The absolute cheapest DIY heater you can find is an outdoor fire pit, which is essentially a hole dug into the ground and lined with stones. Fill it with wood and light it on fire and you've created a very practical and working heater using nothing but collected materials.
Can you really heat a room with candles and flower pots?
Terra cotta heaters absolutely do work. There are a number of ways to set up this kind of heater but as long as you follow some basic design and fire safety rules, it will absolutely work and it will absolutely put out heat to help you warm up spaces.
How can I keep my winter warm without electricity?
A wood-burning stove or fireplace, or a gas-powered stove or fireplace, can effectively heat up a lot of space without the use of any electricity whatsoever. DIY heaters, such as using candles with clay pots, can also work to create heat in small areas.
Several DIY heaters can heat up an entire house even without electricity. However, it is always hazardous to heat your home with flame because there is always a risk of fire.
How can I heat my room without electricity?
You can absolutely heat a room without electricity using a flame to generate heat.
How can I heat my room cheaply?
DIY heaters that use simple materials, such as candles and ceramics, are highly affordable and do cost a whole lot less than paying a high electricity bill to keep a room warm.
Can you make a homemade heating pad?
There are a few ways to make a homemade heating pad. One of the easiest is to simply fill a sock about three-quarters full with uncooked oatmeal or rice.
Tie the sock off securely and heat it in the microwave for one to two minutes. This will create a warm heating pad that will stay warm for several minutes, usually around 15 to 20.
You can also heat a dampened, folded towel in the oven for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees F.
Always, always test a heating pad against the back of your hand or your inner arm to make sure it is safe to put on your skin before use.
How hot can a homemade furnace get?
The amount of heat generated by any furnace depends on its size. Most home furnaces achieve heat no higher than 140 to 170 degrees F.
However, some home furnaces can get as hot as 1500 degrees F. These furnaces are not typically used to heat up a home, however, but are built to heat metal and other materials with very high melting points, such as in smelting furnaces.
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