As a homeowner, one of the best ways to get the most out of your investment is to optimize your patio and other outdoor living areas. During the spring and summer, this is especially true when the Sun is out and the skies are clear and beautiful. Whether you're reading, relaxing, eating, cooking/grilling, drinking coffee, or just listening to the birds and watching the clouds go by- enjoying time outdoors is healthy and inexpensive.
There are still times when the day might be gorgeous, but it’s still a bit too cold for comfort such as the early morning and late evenings. Fortunately, that does not mean you have to limit your enjoyment of your patio to the midday hours. You can extend your enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces with effective patio heating by using an infrared patio heater.
Everything You Need to Know About Infrared Heaters
Infrared heaters are easy to use and are very cost-efficient. They run on a range of fuel types depending on your preference. These include electric power, natural gas, or liquid propane. Any AEI infrared patio heater will produce infrared rays that safely warm people and objects by heating infrared emitter grids or rods which then emit infrared rays.
As mentioned above, all of our infrared heaters run propane, natural gas, or electricity. All of these fuel/power types are extremely clean and cost-effective, especially when compared to using a conventional heater. Compared to using a wood-burning stove, infrared heaters are much more clean and convenient. They emit no smoke, soot, chemicals or fumes of any kind. When you think about the amount of smoke a wood-burning stove creates and the mess from soot and ash that must be cleaned, infrared heaters are a vast improvement.
Because these heaters can be run on a variety of different energy sources, you also have a range of choices when it comes to how you choose to mount your infrared heater. Patio heating units can be mounted on a pole stuck in the ground or suspended overhead. Suspended heaters are popular for their ability to save space and open up room for furniture or foot traffic.
They can also be rectangular or box-shaped, or circular in shape. Your choice of shape should have something to do with how you would like the heat to be distributed in the space you will be heating. If you want a directed flow of heat into a particular area, a box-shaped heater might be ideal. On the other hand, if you want more evenly distributed heat over a somewhat larger area, mushroom heaters might be better suited to your needs.
Your Infrared Heater Fuel Options
The most important difference between heaters is that natural gas and electric heaters are connected to an external fuel source and propane heaters use self-contained fuel tanks. Heaters with self-contained fuel tanks can be repositioned as needed. This can be extremely useful should you want or need to reposition your heater. Heaters like this can be moved to heat different areas, or different parts of the same area. They can also be more easily stored when not in use for long periods.
Another advantage of a heater with its own self contained fuel source is that, is easier storage. They are likely to need less cleaning and maintenance as long as they are properly stored and protected from the elements.
Electric and natural gas-powered heaters are installed in place. This limits your ability to reposition them. Therefore, they are best for spaces where you have identified the ideal position for heating and installed it accordingly. If you are able to install an electric or NG heater, you will enjoy the convenience of not having to replace the fuel tank. If you intend to use a natural gas heater you will need a natural gas line run to your property.
Many locations have this utility readily available. If you do not have a natural gas line to your home, one can be installed by your local natural gas utility provider.
Electric heaters can sometimes come with more sophisticated control systems and to offer more precise control of more heaters at once.
Box-Shaped and Mushroom Heaters
One of the most important things to consider when buying a new infrared heater is whether a box-shaped or mushroom-shaped heater will best suit your needs. Both are high performance, long-lasting, easy to use, and low maintenance. Here, we will discuss the best reasons to choose each, as opposed to the others and other important considerations.
What They Have in Common
Both box-shaped and mushroom-shaped heaters can run on electric, propane, or natural gas. The most commonly used fuel sources for box heaters are electric and natural gas, while the most common for mushroom heaters are propane and natural gas. Both types can be mounted to the side of a building or structure, mounted on a pole fixed in the ground or floor, or they can be suspended from a ceiling, beam, or similar outdoor structure.
What Makes Them Different
Box-shaped and mushroom-shaped heaters are largely similar on all accounts except for the way they direct heat. Mushroom heaters generate infrared heat in a 360degree circle around the unit. Box-shaped patio heaters generate infrared heat in a wide area, in the direction the unit is pointing.
Naturally, the more directional heat of the box-shaped heater will be more intense in the area where it is pointed. However, the heated area will be smaller. The mushroom-shaped heater moves heat in all directions, but the heat is less intense at any given point in the 360-degree heated area than it would be in the path of the box-shaped heater. Before purchasing either heater, you will need to consider the space you intend to use it in and decide which type of heat projection is most appropriate for your needs.
Generally, mushroom-shaped heaters are used in communal areas where medium to fairly large groups of people share a common space, like coffee shop patios or large decks. If you intend to entertain small groups of people on your patio, or if you simply want to be able to move about on your patio and enjoy even and consistent heat, then a mushroom heater might be best.
Another important consideration is the degree to which your heated space is enclosed. If it is well enclosed, the heat delivered by the box-shaped type may fill the entire space heating it adequately after a period of time. If you’re working with an open space, either consider constraining activities to the cone of heat delivered by a box-shaped heater or consider installing a mushroom-shaped unit.
Finally, you might want the 360-degree heating of a mushroom heater with the added advantage of portability. If this is the case, consider investing in propane patio heaters with the mushroom-shaped head. These units come with or can be fitted with a wheel kit added to its base. This makes it easy to reposition and adds an enormous amount of versatility to the unit.