Fall is here — school is in session, the leaves are changing, and the nights are getting cooler. Sadly, this means that it may be getting a bit too chilly to use your patio or three season room. Thankfully, a luxury patio heater can help take the chill out of the air and allow you to squeeze a few more months out of your outdoor recreation spaces.
While everyone knows these gorgeous, luxury patio heaters look fantastic out on your deck, not everyone knows what to look for when purchasing one. Let’s take a look at some of your options:
Heating Options – The Fuel Duel
Your first decision with patio heaters is what type of fuel you’ll be using. Your main three options are electric power, natural gas, or propane fuel. Depending on your budget and the limitations of your space, you’ll want to be sure to choose the right style for your needs.
Electric-powered unitstypically will run on a standard, household 110 volt power supply. If you have easy access to an outlet on your patio or porch, this may be your best option. Electric power is frequently less expensive than your alternatives, and it produces no potentially-harmful exhaust gases. Their major downside is that electric heaters usually produce much less heat energy (BTUs) than gas heaters.
Natural gas heaters usually have a higher BTU output than electric, and produce a great amount of heat for their operating cost. They burn cleanly, come in an array of styles, and are cheaper to run than propane heaters. But they have an obvious drawback — you must have a natural gas supply line where you’d like to install the unit. On a deck, this isn’t a big problem, but it can still be a pain to run a gas line.
Propane heaters get around this limitation by allow you to fuel your heater with portable propane cylinders. These 20 lb. cylinders are available at many superstores and gas stations. While it’s the most expensive fuel option for your luxury patio heater, propane allows for a much more portable heater. No fuel or electric supply line is needed, so these can be used poolside, tailgating, or even when camping.
Style and Substance
Once you’ve made your fuel decision, most of the difficult work is done. Now it’s simply a matter of choosing a heater with enough BTU output to sufficiently heat your space, and picking the style of heater you’d like.
The most popular option is the large, torch-like heaters with the directional dome at the top. These heaters provide a nice, even heat across a circular area. However, there are a handful of other options you may want to check out.
For instance, there are also smaller versions of these heaters for table-top use. Perfect for outdoor eating areas, they provide a lot of heating power in a small package. Plus, they look gorgeous as a luxurious “centerpiece”!
You can also take a look at some of the “offset” style radiant heaters made for outdoor use. These heaters provide direction heat energy that isn’t affected by the wind, and can be focused on a specific area. Rather than needing to set these units in the middle of your outdoor area like torch-style, you can set them to the side and direct the heat where it’s needed.
Whichever style you choose, luxury patio heaters provide both great looks and potent heat for your outdoor recreation areas.