What size heater do I need?
To determine the correct size heater for your heating needs the following equation is a great guide:
Cubic feet of area x desired temperature rise = BTU size needed.
Please note in high wind conditions the constant inflow of cold air can lessen the effect of the heater.
What is a BTU?
BTU or Btu (The British thermal unit) is a unit of energy equal to about 1.06 kilojoules. It is approximately the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. You can compare patio heaters by the amount of BTU’s produced. Two patio heaters that produce the same amount of BTU’s can still produce different heating ranges based on the design of the heater and the efficiency of the heat direction system.
What types of patio heaters are there?
Most patio heaters run on propane, natural gas or electricity. Depending on the fuel type you prefer there are different styles available. Propane and electric patio heaters are available in portable/tabletop, standup, hanging and ceiling/wall mounting. Natural gas patio heaters are more permanent and are available in standup, in-ground and hanging.
How much does it cost to operate a patio heater?
After your initial purchase the cost of operation depends on your fuel type. Generally natural gas heaters are less expensive because there is no upfront fuel costs and based on a 40,000 BTU patio heater the average cost of natural gas usage per hour is estimated at $.476.
Electric patio heaters are directional and there is no heat loss, there is no upfront fuel cost and based on the required (3) 4000 Watt (4KWh) for 40,000 BTU's the average cost of electrical usage per hour is $1.316.
A Propane heater producing 40,000 BTU’s and the average cost of filling a propane cylinder (5 gal) of $16 (approx. 10 hours of fuel), makes the average cost $1.60/per hour for a propane patio heater.
What is the required clearance around my patio heater?
Consult your owner manual thoroughly before installing your patio heater. For portable patio heater units between 35,000 and 50,000 BTUs, provide at least 30 inches of clearance above and on all sides of the reflector and emitter head from combustible materials. Smaller units from 10,000 to 35,000 BTUs need at least 24 inches of clearance above and on all sides of the reflector and emitter head.
Can I use the patio heater on my enclosed patio?
Natural gas and propane patio heaters must be used in an open area only. Patio heaters are not to be used indoors unless specified.
Can I use the patio heater on grass, or does it have to be on concrete?
A patio heater should be installed on a hard level surface. Placing the unit on a surface that is not level can cause the unit to perform poorly or shut off due to activation of the safety tilt switch.
During operation, will the base of the patio heater get hot?
When a patio heater is in use the emitter screen and dome will get hot because it comes in direct contact with the heat source. The base will not get hot.
What is the tilt safety switch?
Most patio heaters have a tilt safety switch. This safety feature will automatically turn off if the unit if it is tilted more than a set degree.
What is the difference between the large single dome and the triple dome patio heaters?
A large single dome directs heat in one direction compared to the triple dome directs the heat into three separate areas.