Patio heaters are great for extending your evenings by the barbeque as the evenings draw in and the temperature drops. But, the heating of outdoor spaces is never as straightforward as it may seem. The main problem is that all heat generated is inevitably lost to the atmosphere. It is very difficult to keep the heat local to where you are sitting or standing. The cost of running a patio heater can add up very quickly.
So, before making a choice as to which patio heater to purchase it would be worth spending a little time on exactly how patio heaters work so that the decision you make is an informed one.
What is the Space You Wish to Heat?
The first thing you need to consider is the space that you wish to heat. The larger the space the more likely that your heater will not be up to the job, or that you will require more than one to generate sufficient heat for your needs. Obviously the warmer the climate you live in the more easily you will be able to keep it warm. But there are some patio heaters available today that can generate a heat output in excess of 40000 Btu’s.
That being said you need to be careful of taking such figures as gospel. Similarly manufacturer claims of how much their heaters will raise the temperature need also to be taken with a pinch of salt.
So, as noted earlier, we have only looked at one aspect of what type of patio heater you may need and already we have a number of differing factors to take into consideration including the climate, the area, the weather and how much you want need the temperature to be increased by.
Another important factor to consider is whether you want the heater to be portable or are happy to have it in a fixed spot all the time.
As a general rule propane patio heaters tend to be moveable, where as fire pits are less so. There are exceptions to each of these examples such as fixed patio heaters located on walls (electric powered).
Obviously the benefits to portability are that the heater is brought out when needed but otherwise is stored away and does not clutter up your useable area. Portability tends to come at the price of aesthetics however. With most portable propane heaters being fairly ugly to look at.
With all types of space heater, but most especially ones that use propane gas as a fuel source, safety is of the utmost importance.
Do you have kids? Do you have pets? How cramped is the space in which you intend to position your patio space heater? All these factors need to be addressed when making your personal choice.
With kids it is especially important to take extra care. You should consider the placement of the heater and whether there are any parts that get very hot to the touch that are in easy reach. And as a general rule the heater should never be used with kids unless there is an adult present at all times.
Other safety features that are essential are functions such as the automatic tip over switch which prevents the heater from continuing in the event that it falls over. This may be literally a life saver in some situations.
Summing It Up
As you can probably see, what initially seems to be quite a straightforward decision has rapidly evolved into a multi-faceted problem all of which should be considered before making your decision and we haven’t even got onto the issue of aesthetic appeal yet.