Saturday, 1 August 2009

What Makes Patio Heaters Different?

There are a number of types of patio heaters available to residential buyers. The following explains the benefits and differences between the main types of patio heaters.

Electric Patio Heaters

These patio heatersrun off of electricity and create heat by using a quartz heating element to create infrared radiant heat. Radiant heat actually heats objects and people and not the air around them. Radiant heat, like the sun's heat, for example, is a very efficient way to warm people. Not only are electric heaters efficient, they do not produce any emissions so they are safe to use in enclosed spaces such as garages or enclosed patios. If you have limited overhead space, these heaters are also beneficial because they require less overhead clearance than gas fueled heaters. I especially like these heaters because they are placed up and out of view so you barely know they are even there.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

These heaters are fueled by natural gas lines that may already be available outside your home or commercial property. This means that there is a constant source of fuel to your heaters and you will never be without warmth when you need it. These heaters are very streamlined and therefore take up very little patio space. Another great thing about natural gas is that it is very affordable, so you won't cringe every time you light your heater.

Propane Patio Heaters

There are many great designs available in propane patio heaters. There are beautifully crafted heaters that look like antique light posts. There are gas light propane heaters that are very decorative, have a built in light and are so unique they don't even look like heaters. There are heaters with stainless steel and copper finishes that will fit any décor. Propane patio heaters can be fueled by the same propane tanks used by many barbeques. Because propane patio heaters are self-contained and even come with wheels they are easy to move around to wherever they are needed. There are even really affordable table top versions that are great for camping trips and picnics.

Why Buy Electric Patio Heaters Over Propane Patio Heaters

When researching patio heaters I found out that electric patio heaters offer a few unique advantages over gas fueled heaters. One benefit is that they do not produce any emissions. This allows the heaters to be useful indoors or in enclosed areas where propane or gas heaters cannot be used. Another benefit is that clearances for mounting electric heaters are much less than requirements for gas heaters. Now this might not seem very important, but if you have an area where you have limited overhead space an electric patio heaters may be the only option that will work for you.

How do electric patio heaters work?

The simplest explanation I found for how electric patio heaters operate is that they use radiant heat, like the sun, to warm objects and people and not the air around them. Some propane patio heaters work by heating up the air around people and since hot air rises a lot of heat is lost to the atmosphere. Therefore, with electric or radiant heaters all the heat is directed to the people or objects that need to be warmed.

Another benefit of this type of heater is that because they do not burn any fuel to produce warmth, they do not release any emissions into the air. This is the reason why electric patio heaters can be used in enclosed areas such as porches or even garages and warehouses.

It is also beneficial to use electric heaters when you do not have enough clearance space to use a propane or gas heater. I was looking for a heater for my balcony and because I have low ceilings I could not use a propane heater and have enough clearance space to operate it safely. I was very happy to find out that there were options for me, and I am very happy with the results. Not that I have a heater I am able to use my balcony for many more weeks than I have been able to in the past.

A really important fact is that this heater has given me more usable living space, not just in the warm summer months, but well into fall and winter. It is so nice for my guests to be able to step outside and enjoy some fresh air without being cold.