Heating a home with a Bitcoin miner: Staying warm with sats

Bitcoin (BTC) miners emit a lot of heat, and some miners have found innovative ways to make use of it. From warming swimming pools to drying out timber at a Swedish hydropower Bitcoin farm, the potential of utilizing waste heat generated by crypto mining has been explored. In the early days of crypto, enthusiasts would mine with their everyday computers, leading to overheating and uncomfortable environments.

Now, with the markedly increased difficulty of solving hash computations on the Bitcoin blockchain, miners have switched to more powerful application specific integrated circuits, or ASICS. However, heating and cooling remain an issue.

Satoshi Nakamoto showed precognition when he proposed taking advantage of miner heat for productive resources. This has inspired Bitcoin hobbyists to rewire and soundproof miners, while companies such as Heatbit and BitHeater have created plug-and-play solutions. With the aim of making mining truly green, these companies are aware of Bitcoin miners’ ability to make money while heating spaces.

Recently, I tested Heatbit’s miner for four months in my small flat in Portugal. Despite my technological limitations, I was able to successfully heat my home with the miner, while consuming less electricity than my standard electric heaters.

It seems that with the right know-how and equipment, crypto miners can heat their homes while mining Bitcoin. The #mine4heat hashtag on Twitter is full of Bitcoin hobbyists who have found ingenious ways to do just that.

Set up

The crypto package arrived in mid-November during an unseasonably hot spell. I lugged it upstairs, unboxed it and scanned the instructions. It seemed too good to be true. The instructions are idiot-proof.

I connected the crypto.com Heatbit to power, downloaded the Heatbit app, and it quickly found the Voyager crypto Heatbit device and synchronized. I selected the hot setting and soon felt a warm stream of air coming from the vent at the top. I pushed my ear to it and was surprised at how quiet it was.

Crypto currency miners are very, very loud when turned up full blast. Some residents of a Norweigan town have even made noise complaints about a nearby industrial-scale crypto today Bitcoin mine, but my fridge is much louder than the Heatbit.

I waited until I had mined one satoshi — less than a penny — which took about 15 minutes. By that point, the balcony enclosure of my flat was uncomfortably warm, so I turned it off.

Over the next few months, I turned the crypto heater on and off, moving it around the flat on its two rear wheels.

Can you make money with it?

Yes, technically you can — but not really. During winter, I earned 30,000 satoshis, which is around $10. I was running the miner for a couple of hours in the evenings and mornings when I was at home. Had I been in Portugal more often, I would have earned an extra 50,000 sats. Additionally, my electricity bill was slightly lower than the previous winter.

The Hearbit is a heater first and a Bitcoin miner second. The heat it produces is more consistent than my regular heater, and it requires no maintenance. Furthermore, as Busarov mentions, the Heatbit contributes to the Nicehash crypto mining pool. Despite some criticism about mining pools causing mining centralization, there have been other unexpected benefits to running a Bitcoin miner.

Living with a Bitcoin miner

In Portugal, central heating is rare. Most homes I’ve stayed in use oil heaters or electric heaters. The Heatbit quickly replaced my electric heater, which was more expensive due to its higher power draw. The miner is also quieter, and the heat emitted is consistent and less punchy. However, it’s also 10 times the price of my electric heater.

Interestingly, the Heatbit’s size and stature raise eyebrows and questions like, “What’s that?” among friends visiting my flat. Guests were surprised to learn that the white box was mining Bitcoin, as invariably, they thought that Bitcoin mining took place in giant data centers. I showed them how much I’d earned on my phone, and, in a way, the heater is an orange pilling aid for crypto today.

As Busarov explains, the point of the Heatbit “is to expand the Bitcoin community.” “There are far more people using electric heaters than miners,” he said. Tools like easy-to-use at-home Bitcoin heater miners are another step toward greater adoption of crypto.com.

The downsides are the price tag and the size. The unit is large, heavy and costs over $1,000 brand-new. Given that in Portugal, I use a heater for four to five months a year, the Heatbit becomes a large paperweight from April to October.

Ultimately, it would take a few years to pay off at current price levels in a warm country like Portugal. Naturally, if the Bitcoin price were in the six figures, it would be a different story.

Moreover, on Reddit and YouTube reviews, some users have reported problems with use and concerns about customer service.

Plus, the mainstream and plug-and-play nature of the Heatbit is contrary to the ethos of the DIY Bitcoin miners, who see the company as making a profit on something a person could do themselves. And fundamentally, Bitcoin was first propagated by hobbyists, so it’s understandable for voyager crypto.

To Heatbit’s credit, it listened. The company is introducing a smaller heater, the “Heatbit Mini,” from $299, in time for the next European winter. Busarov explains:

The Heatbit Mini consumes 300 watts for mining and air purification, boostable to 1,300 watts of heat in the wintertime. The 300-watt setting still contributes the full 10 terrahashes per second, while the original Heatbit hash rate drops off as it dials down.

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That should mean you can run it all year round as an air purifier and a heater. Naturally, I’ve signed up for one.

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