Patio heaters come in a variety of sizes and designs and should be purchased based on the amount of heat output and the type of fuel source desired. Using a patio heater can extend your outdoor activity and keep you toasty warm with a comfortable ambiance while enjoying the open air. With proper maintenance, you can extend the life of your patio heater for years of outstanding performance.
Patio heaters are set up for three fuel sources: electric, natural gas or propane gas. Depending on the amount of time the heater will be used and the fuel consumption and cost associated with your use, you may want to do some research on the long-term use of each.
Design, Size, Style
There is an endless array of styles of heaters to choose for your patio. Once you decide what fuel source you want to go with, you can choose the style that best fits your needs. Heaters can be freestanding, tabletop-mounted or portable, with various sizes based on commercial or home use. Many people use several heaters together to be more effective.
Parts of a Propane/Gas Patio Heater
Most propane and gas heaters have similar parts, with the appropriate hook-up for either natural gas or propane gas. From top to bottom of a propane patio heater, the parts consists of a reflector assembly, the head assembly with a heater burner screen, cylinder housing for the propane tank, a gas hose, a gas regulator, and the base of the heater with optional wheels. Propane heaters usually require less maintenance than an electric heater and the units themselves last a little longer.
Parts of an Electric Patio Heater
Most outdoor electric heaters run on an infrared/radiant heat source. There are several types of electric infrared heaters. The parts consist of an electromagnetic radiation heat source in the form of either a quartz lamp or tube or a metal rod. The heat source is directed by vibration and rotation of the molecules by the electric current. Another part of the infrared heater is the reflector, which directs the heat out of the unit. They often have a thermostat and automatic shut-ff. One advantage of these heaters is that the heat goes directly onto the people and objects and not in the air. They are usually less expensive to run than propane heaters.
Alfrecso-heating.com recommends that people with a propane patio heater extend its life by always keeping the propane tank hooked up to the heater, even if it is empty, to prevent bug and debris buildup. Other tips include periodically using a stiff brush to clean off the cooled emitter grid (the perforated cylinder that glows orange when lit) and cover the heater when you are not using it.