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Your Guide to Outdoor Winter Heating

As winter looms and the sudden temperature drops make you shiver every time you go outside, the memories of a pleasant and warm summer will surely make you nostalgic.

But just because it’s chilly outside does not mean you can’t spend time on your patio or have fun with your loved ones over BBQ anymore. Investing in efficient outdoor heaters will make your winter nights cozier and more enjoyable.

Your Outdoor Heating Options

Outdoor heaters give warmth and atmosphere to outdoor spaces, allowing you to enjoy your patio or backyard all year. They come in different shapes, designs, and sizes, but all belong to either one of two categories: heat lamps and fire pits.

  1. Heat Lamps

Also known as patio heaters, heat lamps are the most popular outdoor heating option. They come at different prices, and with so many choices available, choosing a heat lamp for your patio can get pretty confusing.

Always research your options to avoid making the wrong choices. How many heat lamps do you need? What type is best for your outdoor space? Are there specific features you’re looking for?

Patio heaters are classified according to fuel source.

●     Electric Heaters

Electric outdoor heaters are straightforward and safe options for heating an outdoor space. They are simple to set up – all you have to do is plug them in, but they can be inconvenient to use if there are no outlets nearby. 

If you go with electric heaters, keep in mind that they can easily overload a circuit, so only use one heater per outlet; overall, they are an excellent option for quick, secure, and efficient outdoor heating.

●     Natural Gas Heaters

Natural gas heaters give off sufficient heat and require little maintenance. It is often more expensive than the others but cheaper to operate in the long run. 

  

The thing about natural gas heaters, though, is that you need to connect them to a gas line which can limit their portability. Also, professional installation is necessary to ensure that your natural gas heater works safely and effectively.

●     Propane Heaters

Propane heaters are portable, so you can put them anywhere you want. However, they have to be connected to a propane tank, which makes them more expensive to run in the long term than natural gas heaters. 

Propane heaters are ideal for use in outdoor areas with no electric outlets or access to a gas line. Be warned that refilling or replacing the propane tanks can be tedious and time-consuming.

●     Wood Heaters

Nothing beats the natural and cozy campfire ambiance produced by a wood-burning heater. This outdoor heating option can generate a lot of heat, depending on the size of the firebox and its capacity to retain firewood. 

Wood-burning heaters work well on an open patio but are not recommended for use on an enclosed patio due to the amount of smoke and ash they emit. They also require much more upkeep, like refilling the wood and clearing the ash after each usage.

  1. Fire Pits

They may not be the best at heating large areas, but a fire pit can add a touch of elegance to your outdoor space while providing a pleasant sense of warmth to those around it.

Gas fire pits are also more cost-efficient and easier to maintain than wood-burning fireplaces or fire pits. And because they don’t produce smoke, you won’t have to worry about your family members or guests breathing in polluted air.

If you plan to use gas fire pits or gas-powered heaters in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space, read and follow the safety guidelines and requirements for operating them. 

The Right Patio Heater for the Right Space

You need the best type and right size of heater for your outdoor space to achieve optimal heating and performance. 

Here are some essential factors to consider when choosing an effective patio heater for your home or commercial space:

Cost. More expensive models generally have better quality and should last longer, but you don’t have to splurge if your demands are simple. You can find durable patio heaters at wallet-friendly price points.

Size and Style. Design and space compatibility matter. You want your outdoor heater to complement your patio without too much space. Tabletop, wall-mounted, and hanging heaters are ideal for smaller areas.

Power/Heating Capacity. Your heater’s power determines the amount of space it can efficiently cover. For reference, a patio heater with 1500 watts or 40,000 BTU can heat up to 15 square feet.

Aesthetics and Ambience. For people who value aesthetics as much as functionality, there are stylish outdoor heaters to offer a chic or elegant touch to your patio.

Weather Patterns. What’s the weather pattern like in your location for most of the year? We recommend choosing a model appropriate for your area’s usual climate to ensure that your outdoor heater performs well and lasts for a long time.

Ease of Use. Some patio heaters are incredibly simple to use, while others may need some maintenance now and then. Most gas and electric types are low-maintenance. Chiminea and fire pits require more care.

Safety. Safety must be a top priority when selecting outdoor heaters. Most heaters nowadays have heavy bases that resist tipping and an auto-off feature that activates if it gets knocked over. For covered spaces, electric heaters are the safest pick.

The sheer number of outdoor heating options in the market today means there’s a patio heater that meets your demands and preferences, whether you’re looking for a showpiece that will elevate the aesthetics of your patio or something with exceptional functionality. 

You may not be able to stop winter from coming or change the weather, but you can have control over the comfort level of your outdoor space. Outdoor heaters will keep your patio nice and warm until the sun disappears again.

Anna Fox
Content Marketing Strategist
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