How to Build an Oil Space Heater: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

Building an oil space heater can be a practical and cost-effective way to heat your living space, especially in areas with limited access to traditional heating sources. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of constructing an oil space heater, providing advanced technical details and hands-on instructions to ensure a successful and safe project.

Materials Needed

To build an oil space heater, you will require the following materials:

  1. Steel Gutters or a 50 Caliber Metal Ammo Box: These sturdy metal containers will serve as the main housing for the heater.
  2. High Heat Resistant Gasket: This specialized gasket will help seal the heater and withstand the high temperatures.
  3. High Heat Resistant Oven Glass: This tempered glass will be used to create a viewing window for monitoring the oil level.
  4. Concrete Board: A fire-resistant material that will be used as the heater’s base.
  5. JB Weld: A high-strength epoxy adhesive for joining the various components.
  6. Braided Oil Lamp Wicks: These wicks will be used to draw the oil and fuel the heater.
  7. Computer Fan (12V DC, 1.6A): A small, energy-efficient fan to circulate the heated air.
  8. Steel Container for Oil Storage: A separate container to hold the fuel oil.
  9. 10 Braided Oil Lamp Wicks: Additional wicks for the heater.

Step-by-Step Instructions

how to build an oil space heater

  1. Prepare the Housing: Begin by cutting the required holes in the steel gutters or ammo box for the wicks, oil storage container, and fan. Ensure that the openings are precisely measured and positioned to accommodate the various components.

  2. Gasket Replacement: Remove the existing rubber seal from the housing and replace it with a high heat resistant gasket. This will help maintain the integrity of the seal under the intense heat.

  3. Install the Viewing Window: Cut an opening in the door or housing and install a piece of high heat resistant oven glass over a high heat resistant gasket. This will allow you to monitor the oil level during operation.

  4. Seal the Door: Install a second high heat resistant gasket on the inside of the door to create an airtight seal.

  5. Fireproof the Base: Use a concrete board as a fire-resistant material, paint it black, and install it onto the wall or surface where the heater will be placed.

  6. Oil Storage Container: Install a metal container to serve as the oil storage unit. Incorporate a small window to easily monitor the oil level.

  7. Fan Installation: 3D print a support structure for a standard computer fan (12V DC, 1.6A) and install it within the heater housing. This fan will be used to circulate the heated air.

  8. Wick Placement: Carefully position and secure 10 braided oil lamp wicks within the heater, ensuring they are evenly spaced and have access to the oil supply.

  9. Assemble and Seal: Join all the components together using the JB Weld adhesive, creating a sturdy and airtight structure.

Technical Specifications

  1. Temperature Capacity: The oil space heater can reach temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, providing ample heating power for your living space.

  2. Fuel Compatibility: The heater is designed to work with a variety of inexpensive oils, which can be purchased at a wholesale price of approximately $2.50 per gallon.

  3. Power Efficiency: The computer fan used in the heater operates at only 12V DC and 1.6A, making it an energy-efficient component that can also be powered by a 12V DC battery.

Safety Considerations

When using an oil space heater, it is crucial to exercise caution and adhere to safety guidelines. Ensure that the heater is placed in a stable and well-ventilated location, away from flammable materials or obstructions. Regular maintenance and monitoring of the oil level and wick condition are essential to prevent any potential hazards.

By following the detailed instructions and technical specifications provided in this guide, you can successfully build a reliable and efficient oil space heater to keep your living space warm and cozy, even in the harshest of winter conditions.


  1. DIY Oil Space Heater – YouTube
  2. Homemade Oil Heater – YouTube
  3. Lower Wattage Space Heater for Running Off Solar – Reddit