London Fire Brigade

Fire chiefs express concern over viral video of tea light flower pot heater

21 November 2013

With icy weather forecast for the next two weeks, senior officers at the London Fire Brigade have today expressed safety concerns about people taking risks to stay warm, following an online video that shows a man heating his study using tea light candles and flower pots.

The Brigade is worried that during the cold snap people will try to copy the heating technique, which is dangerous and could cause fires.tealight heater

Station Manager Charlie Pugsley, from the Brigade’s fire investigation team, said:

“This heating system is unsafe. As a fire investigator, I see dozens of fires every year, including fatal fires, that are caused by people using alternative forms of heating and lighting, most of which include a naked flame.

“Candles and tea lights can be extremely dangerous – a small gust of wind can cause an innocent candle flame to set light to objects nearby if left too close.

“We understand that some people may be struggling to pay fuel bills, but we’d urge everyone to think carefully about their safety and the safety of those around them before using candles to heat their homes.”

The video, which quickly went viral after being posted on YouTube, has been seen by over two and a half million people. Though posted a while ago, it has become a hot topic in a background of rising fuel costs ahead of winter, as the man claims he is able to heat his study for 8p a day. Nearly 800 people have left comments, most of which are determined to try out the technique.

The technique features a homemade heating system that is created using a loaf tin, four tea lights, and two ceramic flower pots. It works using convection and requires the four tea lights to be lit within the loaf tin and covered by the two pots.

The Brigade has issued the following safety advice for candles:

• Candles need to be used in a safe, fire resistant holder or container – as you can see in the video, the flower pot would only need the slightest knock to cause it and the candles to fall.
• Candles need to be supervised at all times – so blow them out if you need to leave the room.
• Don’t cover candles with anything – anything placed over a candle flame will get very hot, and could melt or catch fire.
• Stick to radiators and if you’re especially cold, a hot water bottle is a much safer alternative.

Notes to editors

For further advice on safety using candles, check out the London Fire Brigade website.