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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Testing out the Survival Stove

stove2 Last night since it was down in the mid-teens, I decided to take the little car stove I made from the How to Make a Survival Stove (Car Heater) article out for a test drive.
I wanted to test how long it would take for the car to heat up to a comfortable temperature in below freezing temperatures.
I also was curious as to the quality of the air I would be breathing and whether it would have any adverse effects on me. Read more to find out the results…

How Long did it Take to Heat the Car Up?

temp1Based on this chart below it took about 20 min to take it from 16 degrees Fahrenheit to about 60 degrees. It probably could have heated up even hotter but I stopped at the 20 min mark due to a headache I was feeling (I’ll explain below).
Time Elapsed    Temperature
0 min 16 F
5 min 28 F
10 min 44 F
15 min 52 F
20 min 58 F
As a side note, the reason for the quick increase in temperature from the onset seemed to have been due to two factors: One, I had the stove on full output (uncovered) during the first 10 min which I then covered up three-quarters of the way for the last 10 min. And two, I cracked two windows open after the ten minute mark due to the poor quality of the air I was breathing.
temp2

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

After the 10-minute mark I began feeling a small headache and the air just didn’t “feel” right. It seemed worse if I sat upright and was better the lower I sat/reclined. I wonder if I was feeling the onset of carbon-monoxide poisoning or if it was other fumes coming from the burnt alcohol?
I’m going to have to bring my carbon-monoxide alarm with me in the car during a future test to see if that is what was going on. If that is the case, then it’s absolutely crucial that you keep a good crack open in your car window. I’ll have to post on my results soon.

Overall Thoughts

All in all the stove works quite well. In about 20 minutes I was sitting in a comfortable 60 degree car. However, like I mentioned earlier, I had to crack two of my windows open (about an inch open on each window) just to feel that the air was clean.
This ended up bringing in more cold air, which naturally sent all the cold air to the bottom of the car and the warm air above the seats — so I felt warm on top and cold on the bottom. Keeping my feet propped up on the dashboard helped to keep me warm for the most part though.
Most of all I’m pretty concerned about the levels of carbon monoxide. Or was it just a fluke that I was getting a headache? I think once I test it again with the CO alarm I’ll have my answer. Stay posted…