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Patio Heater FAQ

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Warming up your outdoor space allows you to spend more time outside regardless of the season. However, sorting through various patio heater models could leave you confused. But the good news is we've put up a list of the most common questions about patio heaters to help pick a heater that serves you best.

What size patio heater do I need?

The size of the heater you need is determined by your patio space size and the amount of warmth required. You can simply get the number of BTUs required by multiplying the area of your space by the desired temperature increase. You should cap temperature increase at 7 degrees since a higher temperature would make your space uncomfortable.

Do I need more than one patio heater?

The size of your outdoor space will determine the number of patio heaters needed to warm the area. Most outdoor heaters can warm about 100 square feet(9.29 m²). If you are having trouble figuring out the size of your space and the number of heaters needed, consult our Free Outdoor Living Design Service experts.

What's better: gas or electric patio heaters?

The fuel that you can easily access and conveniently use is the "better" fuel. Gas patio heaters would be ideal if your home already has a natural gas line or bulk propane gas tank. However, electric units come with extra accessories such as remote control and dimmer. The operation cost mainly depends on your usage and the price of gas and electricity.

Are electric patio heaters more expensive to operate than gas heaters?

The cost of operating your patio heater primarily depends on the price of gas and electricity in your area. You can choose energy-efficient heaters such as electric infrared patio heaters that convert up to 98% of their energy input into meaningful heat. They've minimal heat loss since they warm up spaces using infrared wavelengths. Propane heaters will cost more to run since propane gas is the most expensive type of fuel for patio heaters.

How do I know how much heat a patio heater will produce?

The unit's BTU and wattage determine a patio heater's heat output. In simpler terms, this is the amount of power your heater uses to warm up a space. On average, most heaters can go up to 100 square feet(9.29 m²) and increase the temperature by 3-7 degrees. A higher temperature would make the space uncomfortable.

How many BTUs do I need to heat my patio?

The formula for calculating the required BTUs to warm up space is quite simple. So. don't worry, you won't need special equipment, years of training, or a graphing calculator. You can calculate BTU by multiplying the cubic feet area of your space by the desired temperature increase.

Is a freestanding patio heater better than wall-mounted patio heaters?

A free-standing patio heater offers the freedom of unlimited mobility in your outdoor space and the convenience of storing it indoors when not in use. Free-standing models are typically fuelled by gas (propane and natural gas). In contrast, wall/ceiling mount heaters can run on gas and electricity. They are permanent installations and can't be moved, but are ideal for heating regular dining and sitting spaces. Their primary benefit is the fueling convenience. You will never have to worry about your fuel running out for electric and natural gas models.

Do patio heaters work when it's below freezing?

Your patio heater will keep you warm in cold weather. However, most patio heaters don't work below 48 degrees Fahrenheit(8.89 degrees Celsius).

Does wind affect patio heater performance?

Conventional patio heaters are prone to lose heat because of environmental factors such as wind. Wind can sweep away the warmth. However, infrared outdoor heaters use infrared wavelengths to warm objects directly in their path, which results in more energy-efficient heating.

How much does it cost to operate patio heaters?

Your operating cost depends on the fuel type, size of space that needs warming, and gas and electricity prices from your local unit companies. Propane is the most expensive, while natural is the least costly.

Do freestanding propane patio heaters come with a tank?

Patio heaters don't come with propane tanks. But you can purchase an empty propane gas tank for about $40. You can easily find 20-pound propane tanks at convenience, grocery, or home improvement stores.

Can I mount a patio heater on a wood wall? Or a wood ceiling?

This is subject to the fuel type in use. Gas patio heaters require more clearance to burn gas. For this reason, they can't be flush mounted or recessed into a ceiling or wall like electric models. It's advisable to consult a professional or your owner's manual for clear installation instructions.

What clearance is required around a patio heater?

Clearance depends on the manufacturer's specifications and fuel type. Gas-fueled patio heaters require larger clearance than electric models. Carefully refer to your owner's manual for detailed instructions on the clearance of combustibles.

How many hours will a propane tank last with a freestanding patio heater?

It's worth noting, that when full, a standard 20-pound propane gas tank holds about 433,000BTU's. To calculate the number of hours, divide the amount of BTUs in your tank by the patio heater BTU rate. However, refill tanks are only refilled for up to 14 pounds(6.35 kg).

Will rain damage a patio heater?

Weather elements like rain can damage your patio heater. For instance, electric models are susceptible to rain damage since internal components, wiring, and ceramic infrared emitters can get damaged. It's highly advisable to cover your patio heater when it's not in use. A cover also protects your heater from moisture and dust.

Do patio heaters have heat adjustments?

Gas-fueled patio heaters don't have adjustments, but electric models come with multiple settings and accessories that you can use to adjust and fine-tune your heater. Infrared patio heaters come with a dimmer switch to adjust the amount of light and heat.

Why won't my gas patio heater stay lit?

This is a variable problem that may require you to consult an expert. However, two issues can cause this: wind blowing out the gas pilot or a faulty thermocouple. It's advisable to consult your patio heater expert to ensure safety and not to void your warranty.

Do I need a plumber or electrician to install a patio heater?

Yes! We highly recommend you contact a licensed professional to work on any projects that may alter your home's plumbing and the electric grid. However, freestanding propane patio heaters or plug-and-play electric models may not require professional help if you are confident that you can safely install them.

Can I use an electric patio heater on a standard 120-volt current?

This depends on the model and if it's rated below 1500 watts. Patio heater models rated above 1500 watts must be hardwired because they require 240 volts. We highly recommend consulting a licensed electrician to install your electric heater that needs hardwiring.

Can I use a patio heater in an enclosed patio? Indoors? In my garage?

You can only use electric patio heaters in enclosed areas, but also only specific models. Always refer to your owner's manual that you will not void the warranty by installing your heater indoors or within enclosures.

What is infrared heating?

Infrared heat results from the projection of light in a specific wavelength. It can pass through the vacuum of space and atmosphere without being altered. Infrared outdoor heaters emit heat that only affects objects on their path. As such, infrared heaters are energy efficient since wind does not affect them.

How hard is it to install electric patio heaters?

Some models are plug and play, and others require installation by a licensed professional since they must be hardwired into dedicated circuits. For your safety, remember to contact a licensed electrician to make modifications and installations on your electric grid.

What is the expected lifespan of a patio heater?

Your patio heater's lifespan depends on several factors—the type of heater, usage, type of fuel, installation environment, and the quality of construction materials. Remember, proper storage when your heater is not in use will go a long way in increasing its lifespan. For example, use patio heater covers to protect your heater from weather elements, dust, and moisture.

Are all of your patio heaters UL-listed?

Electric patio heaters must be UL-listed. However, this depends on the manufacturer for outdoor gas heaters, though the vast majority of our selection is UL-listed.

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