You say you're tired of paying the gas company for natural gas to heat your shack while at the same time throwing away perfectly good, energy-laden hydrocarbons every time you change your engine oil? Problem solved!

This innovative (though admittedly not particularly emissions-friendly) solution comes to us courtesy of Peter, a Nevada-based reader. First, you set up a holding tank for your fuel supply- in this case, a 5-gallon Pep Boys bucket- and rig up a pump to move the oil to the burner.

Then you use what appears to be a metal filing box as the basis for the combustion chamber. The heat is channeled into an old water heater, with the assistance of a squirrel-cage fan.

A water pump circulates the now-hot water via heater hoses into the house (through a window cracked open just enough to fit the hoses).

Sure, you could splurge and install actual home-heating radiators, but that would probably increase the budget tenfold! Instead, you use junkyard car radiators, with cheapo electric fans to move air through them. You could use the 12-volt fan that comes with the radiator, but car cooling fans tend to be unpleasantly loud for indoor use. Here's what Peter has to say about his setup:



Check out my latest project, the waste oil fueled heater. It smokes a little at start-up and shut-down, but burns clean when it's hot.
Burns close to a gallon/hour. Can't run it for more than 1.5- 2 hours at a time because it starts to boil the water. Need a bigger or more radiators to extract more heat. Keeps the living room and kitchen nice and warm. Thinking of plumbing in copper pipe for a more permanent installation. The 5 gal bucket is the fuel tank, and the pump assembly is on the lid.

We know what you're thinking now: "That sounds good, but what about all the potential heat energy in those old tires I throw out?"