How to Make Your Own Heating Coil

An active heating coil in a small space heater.
  • 4 hours
  • Advanced
  • 100
What You'll Need
Product or manufacturer's manual
Straight or coiled nickel-chromium alloy wire (thickness dependent on the heat needed)
Measuring device
Pen and paper
Power sources
Screws and screwdriver as needed
Electrical tape

Safety Note: This is a potentially hazardous activity. Take extreme caution unless you are very well versed in electronics.

A heating coil is vital to a lot of appliances, such as dryers, furnaces, and coffee makers. As obvious as its name sounds, a heating coil could be considered the life of these products. However, like all things that are temporary, there could come a time where you need to replace your heating coil. No need to frown at the extra and unexpected expense, though. You can easily make your own heating coil in a span of an hour or less by using these steps.

Step 1 – Determine the Voltage of the Heat Needed

The amount of nickel-chromium alloy you require will depend on the heat voltage that you need to produce in your appliance. If you are trying to replace an old heating coil, check out its voltage and resistance by looking at its old product manual. You could also use the nickel-chromium wire’s manufacturer's guide to ascertain the voltage you would need for particular appliances. It might still be necessary to use a calculator to get the amount of voltage you need.

Step 2 – Coil the Nickel-chromium Wire in Your Desired Shape

Slowly coil the wire to come up with your desired shape. Remember that the shape you come up with should fit the space where it will be positioned. Coil the wire until you reach your desired area or diameter, and have a measuring device handy to ascertain if you are following the required measurement.

Step 3 – Cut the End of the Heating Coil as Necessary

Cut and connect wires as necessary for what you need. To avoid making a mistake and having to coil a new length of wire, ensure that you have reached the proper shape and size before clipping the ends. Remember and the follow the age-old adage "measure twice, cut once."

Step 4 – Attach the Nickel-chromium Wire to the Heat Source

Temporarily connect the ends of the nickel-chromium heating coil to the power source that you will be using. Loosely drive in screws as necessary, and check for loose ends that might need covering by electrical tape.

Step 5 – Test Heat Source

Plug the device in to check if the heating coil is correctly attached to the power source. If the wire does not heat up as expected, unplug the device and adjust all the connections to the power source.

Step 6 – Secure the Heating Coil

Once you have confirmed that all connections are working, secure the heating coil by tightening screws around it. Then, install it inside the space allotted in the device, and replace any covers as needed.

Step 7 – Test Run the Heating Coil in the Actual Device

Set the device on the highest temperature to see if the heating coil responds the way you need it to. If you are using it on a dryer, allow it to run on “fluff” mode for several minutes. Testing it with the temperature on different levels ensures that you know the new coil will serve its purpose no matter what.