A recent answer said:
In an emergency a tea light candle carefully set on/in a disposable pie tin can heat a 4 season tent enough to aid the drying process - just be sure to isolate, ventalate, and insulate the flame properly! -- (tent model, size, wind, temp, and humidity will all change effectiveness)
A tea light does not have a lot of fuel, and if you consider food that a person eats as fuel, it would seem that a person burns a lot more fuel then a tea light. By extension if you have a person and tea light in the same enclosed area it would seem that the majority of heat being generated would come from the person. Keep in mind that both the person and the candle are combing (burning) Carbon and Oxygen, both include a supply of Carbon, but require Oxygen to be replenished from the environment.
I googled around a bit, and did not find an authoritative answer, but it seems like most hits are listing a resting human body as 100 watts of energy and tea light as 30 watts of energy. I have personally used a 60 watt incandescent light bulb as a heat source, and in a small area it is significant. It does not require ventilation, but is a fire hazard.
To answer the question: Can a tea light candle safely generate useful amounts of heat? I think there are couple of points that need to be addressed.
- What is the heat/energy output of a person?
- What is the heat/energy output of a tea light?
- Do both consume similar amounts of Oxygen for the amount of heat/energy given?
- If we assume a two person tent provides sufficient gas exchange for two people, can an equivalent number of tea light candles provide the same heat/energy without additional ventilation?