Heating a house with a bitcoin miner: keeping warm with sats

Bitcoin (BTC) miners emit a lot of heat.

Some miners use this heat to warm pools, dehydrate meat to make beef jerky, or even dry wood at a Swedish Bitcoin hydroelectric farm. In Ireland, the “Bitcoin Farmer” joked that he was hanging out the laundry to dry in front of his Bitcoin miner.

Miner heat is not new to the Bitcoin industry. In the early days of Bitcoin, enthusiasts mined the cryptocurrency with their everyday computers, leading to overheating and stories of uncomfortably hot environments.

Bitcoin mining has changed since the early days. With the markedly increased difficulty of solving hash calculations on the Bitcoin blockchain, miners have ditched the ubiquitous graphics processing units for more powerful application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICS. However, heating and cooling remains a problem.

In a nod to the future of waste heat capture, Satoshi Nakamoto shared a post showing precognition:

“The heat from your computer is not wasted if you need to heat your home.”

So why not take advantage of this heat and use it for productive resources? This is exactly what I wanted to experience at my home near Lisbon, Portugal this winter.

Do-it-yourself solutions that use the “waste” heat from home Bitcoin miners are becoming increasingly popular. However, this can be tricky. The #mine4heat hashtag on Twitter touts bitcoin enthusiasts who can rewire and soundproof bitcoin miners – without electrocuting themselves.

A savvy miner heats up his mobile home, an airflow, while others have found ingenious ways to mine Bitcoin and keep their homes toasty warm:

However, for the “average Joe” like me, it seems daunting. I’m a technologically backward bitcoin enthusiast who’s taken years to get a node up and running. So even if the idea is attractive, I was afraid to set fire to the house.

There are several heater-cum-Bitcoin mining companies, like Heatbit and BitHeater, that are aware of the ability of Bitcoin miners to make money while heating spaces, but also that there could be pent-up demand. for a plug-and-play solution.

Heatbit founder Alex Busarov told Cointelegraph that while ease of use was appealing, the environmental use case of bitcoin miner heat drove the mission: “We want to make the truly green mining,” he said.

Busarov said: “Claims that ‘xx%’ of the energy used for mining comes from renewables” are misleading. While the number may seem impressive, it ignores the fact that this renewable energy would have been added to the grid had it not been used for industrial mining.

“Bitcoin mining is only truly green when combined with heating; this way, no additional energy is consumed by mining.

Busarov referenced statistics and claims released by bitcoin mining advocates, including that bitcoin is the greenest industry and that bitcoin mining encourages the construction of renewable energy. Nevertheless, Bitcoin miners consume a lot of heat even when using the waste heat for productive purposes.

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Personally, I was more focused on the energy consumption of Heatbit Bitcoin miners. If it draws less electricity than my standard electric heaters, that would be a no-brainer for use during the winter – so I got my hands on one and put it through its paces.

Result: for four months, I heated my small apartment in Portugal with a Heatbit.


The package arrived in mid-November during an unusually hot period. I dragged it upstairs, unboxed it, and scanned the instructions. It sounded too good to be true. The instructions are idiot proof.

Box with heated jaws. Cointelegraph slippers for the scale.

I connected the Heatbit to power, downloaded the Heatbit app, and it quickly found the Heatbit device and synced. I selected the warm setting and quickly felt a stream of warm air coming from the vent at the top. I stuck my ear to it and was surprised at how quiet it was.

Bitcoin miners are very, very noisy when turned on at full throttle. Some residents of a Norwegian town have even complained about the noise of an industrial-scale bitcoin mine nearby, but my fridge is much louder than the Heatbit.

I waited until I had extracted a satoshi – less than a penny – which took about 15 minutes. At the time, the balcony speaker in my apartment was uncomfortably hot, so I turned it off.

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

Can you make money with it?

Technically yes – but not really. I harvested 30,000 satoshis during the winter, which is just over $10.

The miner snored for a few hours most nights and in the morning I was home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Portugal much, with trips to Senegal, Poland and Cape Verde during the winter. If I had been at home, I would have racked up about 50,000 extra sats of “heat”.

Using the Heatbit in winter.

Also, my electricity bill was slightly lower than the previous winter, which is a minor achievement considering the double-digit inflation in Portugal.

However, that misses the point. The Hearbit is a heater first and a Bitcoin miner second. The heat is gentler than my regular heater and maintenance free (so far). Moreover, as Busarov points out:

“We want to decentralize mining. It is unlikely that Satoshi envisioned mining being centralized in large farms. The ideal approach is “everyone contributes a little”. »

The Heatbit contributes to the Nicehash mining pool. Some critics claim that mining pools lead to centralized mining, which the Bitcoin community is trying to overcome with upcoming Stratum V2 mining algorithm upgrades. Nevertheless, there have been other unintended consequences of running a Bitcoin miner.

Living with a bitcoin miner

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

Interestingly, the size and stature of the Heatbit raises eyebrows and questions like “What the hell is that?” with friends visiting my apartment. Guests were surprised to learn that the white box was mining Bitcoin, as invariably they thought Bitcoin mining took place in giant data centers. I showed them how much I made on my phone and somehow the radiator is an orange pilling aid.

As Busarov explains, the purpose of 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 towards greater adoption.

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

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

Additionally, on Reddit and YouTube reviews, some users have reported usability issues and customer service concerns.

Additionally, the mainstream, plug-and-play nature of Heatbit is contrary to the philosophy of DIY Bitcoin miners, who view the company as making a profit on something a person could do themselves. And basically, Bitcoin was first propagated by hobbyists, so that’s understandable.

Developers working on work on the Heatbit One prototype. Source: Heatbit

To Heatbit’s credit, he listened. The company is launching a smaller heater, the “Heatbit Mini,” starting at $299, in time for the upcoming European winter. Busarov explains:

“We’ve also added an air purifying feature, making the device usable all year round. And, as the name suggests, the [Heatbit] Mini is smaller – less than 50cm tall – which makes it convenient to place in any room.

The Heatbit Mini draws 300 watts for mining and air purification, up to 1300 watts of heat in the winter. The 300 watt setting still contributes to the full 10 terrahashes per second, while the stock Heatbit hash rate decreases as it decreases.

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

This article is for general informational purposes and is not intended to be and should not be considered legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.