Monday, 6 December 2010

Electric Patio Heater Buyer's Guide

Introduction to Electric Patio Heaters

Gone are the days of hiding inside your house on a chilly evening with your guests, or freezing your customers in the restaurant garden. Technology has over the years thrown out some very simple but effective tools to beat the cold when you entertain your family, friends or clientele.

Electric patio heaters once installed have advantages that outweigh those heaters that run on gas. The benefits are the smaller sizes or easier fit, and no need to refill gas cylinders making the electronic version much more aesthetic and less cumbersome.

Does an Electric Patio Heater work better than Gas?

There is not much to tell the two apart, as both electric and gas will heat a patio area effectively. The big differences are really in efficiency and safety. Electricity is far superior to gas on the cost side; refilling gas cylinders can be expensive as they just do not last long. Whereas the use of electric which emits radiant heat by virtue of in most cases an infrared filament.

Is Electric Really Safer?

If you have children, or just have more general safety concerns then the use of an electric patio heater has to be first choice. They are far less likely to be knocked over causing fire, and are not regarded as an explosive hazard. If you are energy conscious and are worried about high electric bills as well as safety, then the use of low power infrared electric patio heaters are the way to go.

Electric heaters need to be installed and fitted by a qualified handy person advisably, which makes the electric version less portable as it will be static in its installed location - but definitely much safer.

Where can I use an Electric Patio Heater?

There are so many places that an electric patio heater can be used, many of these uses are in the restaurant and bar industry on outdoor decks. There is the obvious patio at home and even by the pool. If there is an opportunity for an area to be benefited with a heat source outside, then consider the use of a fitted electric patio heater. There are some limitations to certain high intensity electric heaters, so paying careful attention to the manufacturers support documentation or instructions is very much advised.

Installation Limitations

When considering the use of an electric patio heater, there has to be some safety aspects considered. When installed the heater has to be sited at least seven feet above floor level. Make sure you know the height of your patio ceiling/roof, as you may need to plan around installation. You should also not install the heater against a wall at low level, including staircases. Electric patio heaters do get very hot - which is why you should not risk anybody touching them directly.

Consider the size of the area in which the heater(s) are to be used, as a small area may only need very few heaters. On the other hand if you have an extensive patio area to heat, then a bit of careful planning and strategic locating may work better than installing a large number of heaters.


The electric patio heater comes in many sizes and designs, so you can be as adventurous as you like when deciding on which heater will look better with your decor. With a gas heater you are simply not able to do this without compromising safety somewhere, especially in a crowded location.

The use of low power electric infrared heaters are very energy efficient and cost effective, and can be placed in areas that you simply would not be able to place a large and bulky gas heater. There is also the ability to rig a system that can work with solar power, thus bringing the down cost of heating your patio area and being a much greener for the environment.

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