Patio Heaters Explained
So, you’ve invested time and money into your outdoor living space and want to make the most of it. Now you can extend your outdoor seasons with a patio heater! If you enjoy spending time in the yard or any outdoor area, patio heaters are the perfect solution. For those of you who are lucky enough to live in warmer climates, you will be able to use your patio heater year round; and for those of you in colder climates, you can benefit from an extra two months of use!
Patio heaters are not designed to sustain a particular temperature in your outdoor space, but rather to lessen the bite of the cold air. They take the idea of a campfire and supply consistent heat to a particular area without producing ash or smoke.
Patio heaters provide heat in one of the two following ways:
Burn a fuel such as natural gas or propane; or
Heat an element using electricity
This heat source is then magnified through specific heat-directing materials in order to warm a particular area. Dissimilar to a space heater that contains a fan, patio heaters warm the area around them by producing radiant heat.
Patio heaters are made to supply a high quantity of radiant heat. This is much more effective than blowing hot air into an outdoor area as that air will simply escape and take the warmth with it.
Radiant heat moves through the air and directly heats the objects in the patio heater’s range.
Fuel types for Patio Heaters
This is the most commonly used fuel source for patio heaters and comes in easily portable tanks, allowing you to place your heater almost anywhere. Propane patio heaters are switched on using an ignition switch, for which an electrical connection is not needed. Simply turn or press the switch, which creates a spark to ignite the gas and turn on the heater.
Simply plug in and switch on! Electric patio heaters generally do not provide the same heating potential as their gas counterparts and are therefore better suited to smaller areas.
If you have an outdoor natural gas outlet then you can simply connect the heater to it! However, hiring a professional to do so is recommended. Natural gas patio heaters also have an ignition switch which does not require an electrical connection. Press the switch and a spark is created to ignite the gas and turn the heater on.
Types of Patio Heaters
Floor or Free-standing
These heaters are the most common and popular types of patio heater. Most varieties of floor or free-standing patio heaters use propane for fuel, but they can also be fueled by natural gas or electricity. They are generally composed of four parts:
Base: Keeps the unit stable, ensuring that it doesn’t fall over. It can also be used to store a propane tank if it uses propane.
Pole: Pushes the heat upward in order to augment heat coverage.
Heat Source: The heat source is rated by British Thermal Units (BTU). A higher BTU means higher heat production. Gas-powered patio heaters provide the highest BTU levels.
Reflector: Hinders upward heat loss by reflecting the heat downwards and out towards the area around the patio heater. A reflector is not always present in all free-standing patio heaters, but those that are equipped with one have an adjustable heat source that can be directed towards the spot that you would like to warm up.
Tabletop Patio Heaters
These heaters often resemble smaller versions of their free-standing counterparts and can be a great heat-generating centerpiece on your patio table.
They basically have the same components as the floor or free-standing patio heaters, but offer a lower BTU range and thus do not heat areas as large as floor heaters. Tabletop patio heaters can be fueled by electricity or propane.
Wall-mounted Patio Heaters
Enjoy the benefit of having your patio heater mounted and out of the walking path. Wall-mounted patio heaters are an excellent alternative if you require a heater but do not have room for a standing one. Commonly electric, they use infrared heat to keep your outdoor space warm. They have wall mount brackets and most units are able to tilt up or down, allowing you to direct the heater where it is needed.
Why not make the most of your yard or patio by investing in a patio heater?