Things To Consider Before Buying An Outdoor Heater
Extending Outdoor Comfort Year-Round
Creating a welcoming outdoor space is a key aspiration for many homeowners. However, the thought of braving the elements after sunset or during colder seasons can be daunting. But there's a solution that keeps the outdoor season alive – outdoor patio heaters. These ingenious appliances make it possible to enjoy your outdoor area, even on chilly evenings and in the depths of winter. They transform your outdoor space into a year-round haven for family and friends, offering comfort and warmth.
Outdoor heaters are generally affordable and require minimal maintenance. Yet, with the vast array of models available, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. To help you navigate this decision-making process, our outdoor heating experts have crafted this comprehensive guide, covering essential considerations when purchasing a patio heater. We aim to equip you with the wisdom needed to make the perfect choice for your space.
Fueling Your Outdoor Comfort
The journey toward cozier outdoor gatherings starts with a crucial decision: choosing the fuel type for your patio heater. This choice significantly impacts the heater you ultimately select, as each fuel type comes with its unique installation requirements. Whether you opt for a gas, electric, or natural gas heater, it's essential to understand the specifics of each.
Embracing the Efficiency of Electric Heaters
Electric patio heaters offer remarkable advantages. They boast up to 98% energy efficiency, produce no harmful emissions, and eliminate the need for combustible fuels. Installation is a breeze, with some models plugging into standard 120-volt circuits, while others require hardwiring. Electric heaters grant you the convenience of controlling multiple units from a single circuit.
Harnessing the Power of Propane
Propane patio heaters are versatile, working with portable 20-pound tanks or bulk tanks located on your property. Portable units are typically paired with freestanding or tabletop designs, offering mobility and concealing the propane cylinder. For homes already equipped with bulk tanks, a licensed plumber can seamlessly connect the gas to a permanent outdoor heater.
Leveraging Natural Gas for Consistency
If your home or business has a natural gas supply, it's an excellent choice for your outdoor heater. Ideal for permanent or high-use installations, natural gas heaters eliminate the inconvenience of propane tank refills. Always consult a licensed plumber when dealing with natural gas appliances and gas lines, considering the distance from the gas main for adequate pressure.
Mounting Options for Perfect Placement
Choosing the right mounting type is closely linked to your selected fuel source. Freestanding and tabletop patio heaters are often fueled by portable propane tanks, offering mobility. In contrast, permanent installations like post-mounted outdoor heaters commonly run on bulk propane or natural gas. Electric patio heaters provide wall or ceiling mount options, allowing for recessed or flush-mounted installations. Delve into the details of mounting types to make an informed choice.
Additional Considerations for Patio Heaters
With the major decisions made, it's time to explore some crucial details before finalizing your patio heater purchase. Warranty types, heating area coverage, and outdoor heater accessories all deserve your attention. These factors will ensure that your choice aligns perfectly with your outdoor heating needs.
Warranty Assurance for Your Investment
Whether you plan to use your patio heater for residential or commercial purposes, selecting the right warranty is essential. Commercial settings, such as bars and restaurants, should opt for models with commercial warranties to ensure comprehensive coverage. Even though outdoor heaters are generally low-maintenance, having a warranty provides peace of mind.
Calculating Heating Area Needs
Determining the heating area requirement is a critical factor in your decision-making process. Measure your outdoor space's length, width, and total square footage to identify the appropriate heater size and quantity. Recognize that different heater types emit heat in various patterns, such as circular or directional, and should be positioned accordingly.
Patio or Small Outdoor Space (Up to 100 Square Feet):
- For electric heaters: A 1,500-watt electric patio heater is typically suitable for areas up to 100 square feet. It provides a cozy ambiance for smaller spaces.
- For propane heaters: A tabletop or small freestanding propane heater with a heat output of around 7,000 BTUs should suffice for this size of space.
Medium Outdoor Space (100 to 300 Square Feet):
- Electric heaters: Consider multiple 1,500-watt electric patio heaters or a higher wattage unit for better coverage.
- Propane heaters: Look for freestanding or wall-mounted propane heaters with a heat output ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 BTUs.
Large Outdoor Space (300+ Square Feet):
- Electric heaters: For larger areas, consider multiple 1,500-watt electric heaters strategically placed throughout the space. Alternatively, look for higher wattage units.
- Propane heaters: Choose freestanding or wall-mounted propane heaters with a heat output of 30,000 BTUs or more to effectively warm larger areas.
Commercial or High-Use Settings:
- In commercial settings like restaurants, bars, or event spaces, you may require multiple high-output heaters. Natural gas heaters with heat outputs exceeding 40,000 BTUs are often used for such spaces.
- In colder climates, it's advisable to opt for higher-output heaters or multiple units to compensate for the more significant heat loss due to colder ambient temperatures.
- Consider the height of the ceiling or overhead structure when choosing wall or ceiling-mounted heaters. Taller ceilings may require heaters with longer mounting brackets to direct heat effectively.
- Freestanding heaters are versatile and can be moved to target specific areas. Wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted heaters provide more permanent heating solutions.
- Infrared heaters emit directional heat and are suitable for spot heating. Consider the size of the heating area in relation to the heater's coverage angle.
Exploring Patio Heater Accessories
Surprisingly, there are various accessories available for patio heaters. Control devices, like switches, dimmers, or remote controls, provide convenience, especially for multiple units. Patio heater covers are a must to protect your investment from moisture and dust. Mounting brackets, including directional and drop brackets, enhance flexibility in heater placement and angle adjustment.
Now that you've absorbed these essential insights, you're well-prepared to make informed decisions about your outdoor patio heater purchase. The warmth of outdoor living awaits, ensuring you can fully enjoy your outdoor space throughout the year.