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What to know about outdoor patio heaters

How does a patio heater work?

Unlike a fireplace for outdoor use, you do not have to hug around a patio heater to get warm. They are specially designed to radiate heat where people gather. To generate heat, patio heaters have different fuel sources – usually propane, electricity or natural gas. (Continue reading to find out how to choose the one that is right for you.)

Where can I use a patio heater?

Because natural gas and propane heaters use an open fire to generate heat, they can be used in well-ventilated outdoor spaces such as patios, terraces, gardens and porches or decks.

For safety reasons, do not use a patio heater in an enclosed area such as a building or garage or too close to the roof of a covered deck or patio. Using your patio heater in a poorly ventilated area can pose a fire hazard or lead to suffocation or poisoning from toxic carbon monoxide fumes. Experts recommend that you keep at least three feet of free space around your heater, unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer.

How much does a patio heater cost?

Like other household appliances, the price you "Salary for a patio heater will vary depending on size and quality. A small electric heater can be purchased for as low as $ 1

00, while large commercial style gas heaters can cost $ 500 or more.

What size do I need?

The heating power of a patio heater is measured in "British Thermal Units" or BTU.The technical definition of a BTU is this: the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Confused? In ordinary terms, a BTU is just a uniform way of measuring heat output. More BTU = more heat. It's really that simple. And every patio heater on the market will to get a BTU rating provided by the manufacturer.

To calculate the correct heater for your space, try this quick math formula: Just multiply the size of your space (in cubic feet) by the desired temperature increase g.

For example, the temperature of a 10-to-10-foot patio with 40 degrees Fahrenheit – assuming a height of 8-foot heaters – would require a 32,000 BTU heater (10x10x8x40 = 32,000). Tip: if you are not good at math, a square film is often provided by the heater manufacturer.

What type of patio heater should I buy?

When it comes to buying a patio heater, choose from three main fuel sources. There is no right or wrong choice, and each fuel source has its advantages and disadvantages. Here is some information to help you choose a patio heater for your home.

  • Propane patio heaters: These patio heaters work in the same way as a propane grill . They are the most portable heater alternative because the fuel is supplied through a metal propane tank. But it also means that the heater is switched off when it runs out of petrol. For a 40,000 BTU patio heater, a full 5-gallon propane cylinder will take about 10 hours – so plan accordingly.
  • Electric patio heaters: As the only non-gas alternative, electric patio heaters do not need to be ventilated as there is no open fire. This can make them great for areas such as covered decks and porches. Because they act as a space heater, they can also be permanently mounted under a roof (just be sure to follow the manufacturer's specific installation instructions). An electric heater emits much less heat than a patio heater for gas, which maximizes about 5,000 BTUs. But because it is infrared heat, they are said to give a more comfortable feeling of warmth.
  • Natural Gas Patio Heater: As a direct gas grill much of a natural gas patio heater appeal comes from the fact that you never run out of fuel. Because they are connected to your home's natural gas pipeline, these heaters are the cheapest to use – but they must be installed permanently by a professional. All in all, you get the benefits of a propane heater without lugging around heavy propane tanks. However, they are less portable and the initial cost will be higher.

Are patio heaters safe?

When used correctly, patio heaters offer a safe way to heat your favorite outdoor spaces. But like all household heating sources, they can be dangerous if not used properly . Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and never leave a patio heater unattended.

Here are some tips to ensure that your patio heater is used safely:

  • Give it space. Over time, your patio heater generates a lot of heat. (That's why you bought it, right?) To prevent fire hazards, keep your heater at a safe distance from walls, ceilings, furniture, carpet or other flammable materials. Experts recommend giving 3 feet of space around all sides of the heater, unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer.
  • Find an even place. Only use your patio heater on a flat, level surface. If you place the heater on a slope, it may roll or tip over and create both a fire and a fire hazard.
  • Check for leaks. When installing a patio heater for natural gas or propane, always carry out a thorough inspection to ensure that there are no gas leaks. You can do this by applying a soapy water solution to the fuel tank and hose connections. If you see bubbles rising from connection points or smelling gas, turn off the heater and tighten the connections. If you can not stop the leak, have your heater serviced before using it.
  • Light it safely. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when lighting a gas patio. While most heaters have an electric ignition button, others may require you to turn on the pilot manually. In this case, use a candle or a barbecue lighter that allows you to start the flame at a safe distance. If you cannot get the burner to turn on immediately, turn off the heater and wait at least five minutes. Then try again. This prevents gas build-up, which can lead to an explosion or flash combustion.
  • Store a fire extinguisher nearby. Even if you follow all safety precautions, accidents can still occur. That's why it's wise to always have a fire extinguisher nearby. Just make sure the fire extinguisher you buy is the right class for your patio heater fuel source (class B for gas; class C for electricity; or a universal fire extinguisher for both).
  • Look closely. Never leave a patio heater running unattended. Make sure to keep children and pets at a safe distance at all times to prevent burns. And avoid using your heater when winds exceed 10 miles per hour – the heater may blow over or the flame may blow out.
  • Cover it. Outdoor heaters are designed to be weather resistant. But over time, your heater can develop problems if left out. Proper storage of the heater when not in use prevents it from clogging with bugs and debris and also prevents rust. You can buy a custom protection to protect your heater when not in use. And if you will not use it for several months, it is a good idea to take it apart and store the heater indoors. Be sure to leave the propane tank outside. Propane should never be stored indoors – not even in a shed or garage.

Be ready in all weathers

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that life is seldom predictable. No matter what awaits, we are with you on the journey. We are flexible when circumstances change, constant when the unexpected happens, capable when help is needed and optimistic about the future. To learn how we can help protect your home with proper homeowners insurance talk to a local ERIE agent in your area today.

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