Most people love having an outdoor heater to be as comfortable outside as they are inside when they decide to relax on their patio. To do so, however, you must operate the outdoor heater securely, which necessitates a few measures when working beneath a covered patio.
You can use an outdoor heater beneath a covered patio, but you must follow the precautions specified in your heater’s owner’s manual to reduce the risk of fire. This could include restricting what you put near your heater and the material of your patio cover.
Consider The Ventilation
If your patio is shaded by an awning or a roof, there should be plenty of ventilation. However, if your patio is enclosed in such a way that it restricts airflow, this can be hazardous. When it comes to outdoor heaters, ventilation and clearance are the most important considerations.
The Construction Material
You may need to be extra cautious depending on the material of the coverage. If your outdoor heater emits any form of smoke, you may notice stains or damage to the patio cover.
How Does A Patio Heater Work?
Patio heaters function by providing radiant heat, as opposed to air heaters, which keep us warm by blowing hot air into the space surrounding them.
This means that air heating heats the air molecules in the vicinity of the heater, whereas radiant heating heats the objects in the vicinity of the heater. So, instead of using the air as an emissary of heat, a patio heater directly warms you or an object nearby.
4 Types Of Heaters For Covered Patios
The sort of outdoor heater you select will almost certainly help you assess how safe it is in specific places. Keep in mind that outdoor heaters are only meant to be utilized for a few hours of entertainment. This is not a unit that should be running continuously to heat any portion of your home. Outdoor heaters are not designed for that kind of application.
Having said that, you can use any of these four different types of outdoor heaters beneath a covered patio: propane, natural gas, electric, and wood. Which one is best for you depends on how much space you want to heat, how much space you have available, and whether or not you care about preserving patio space.
In terms of safety, convenience of use, and overall efficacy, some of these heaters outperform others. We’ll go over the specifics of each one to help you decide which option is best for you.
Propane is the most commonly used fuel for heating covered patios. Many establishments with outside seating spaces, such as bars and restaurants, make use of mushroom propane heaters. They are around 6 to 8 feet tall and resemble large metal mushrooms. They are typically powered by 20-pound propane tanks, which can be purchased at your local pharmacy, grocery shop, or convenience store.
Many people prefer portable propane mushroom heaters since most of them have wheels and are easy to store when not in use.
The clearance requirements vary based on the model, so always check specifics before you buy. However, most of these propane heaters require an 18- to 24-inch clearance above the heater. As a result, if you choose an 8-foot model, your patio cover should be roughly 10-feet tall.
However, overhead clearance isn’t the only factor to consider. They also require 2 to 3 feet of clearance around the sidewalls (no walls, patio curtains, support beams, latticework, hanging plants, etc.). They should also be free of obstructions from the heating element all the way down to the floor. Although it may be tempting to sit right beneath one of these gas heaters, it is recommended to do so at least a couple of feet away.
Aesthetics And Space
Mushroom propane heaters don’t take up much space because they’re tall and thin. However, many individuals dislike the industrial appearance of these heaters. They have a very utilitarian look that might make them stand out like a sore thumb. They are, however, an excellent option for a backyard patio heater for those who don’t mind the black or stainless-steel design.
Natural Gas Heater
If you already have a natural gas connection outdoors, you might wish to use it to power a natural gas patio heater. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including mushroom-style propane heaters, which are less common. Natural gas outdoor heaters, on the whole, are smaller and less portable than propane heaters. When not in use, many models may easily be disconnected from the gas line and stored.
When it comes to outdoor heaters, natural gas has a few advantages. It burns cleaner than propane and does not require the replacement of fuel canisters. That way, you’ll always have a pleasant heated patio. Natural gas is also less expensive than propane in general. When compared side by side, it does not necessarily burn as hot as propane. Even so, if you have a modest patio with an existing natural gas line, you’re in good shape.
Because most natural gas heaters are lower to the ground than propane heaters, clearance is usually not an issue. There are, however, models that are intended to be hung from the ceiling. Many of these require professional installation and a 17- to 24-inch clearance above the ground. Again, before picking on one to utilize under your covered patio, make sure to read the manufacturer’s safety recommendations.
Aesthetics And Space
Many natural gas heaters are compact in size. If you have a small room, the ones that hang from the ceiling are ideal, while those that are set on the floor may require a gas hose to connect to a natural gas fixture. Many of the models available are even less aesthetically beautiful than the propane models, but if you dig hard enough, you can find some that are a little done up.
Since their inception, outdoor electric heaters have come a long way. Previously, they relied on a heating element and a fan to heat the air, which ultimately heated you. Not any longer. Electric outdoor heaters, like their gas counterparts, employ infrared technology to generate radiant heat, which heats objects rather than the air. They are considerably more efficient than they were previously, and many people are pleased with their more modern electric outdoor heaters.
You can purchase them to hang on the walls or install them on the ceiling. You may even get portable ones. Of course, all of the models must be hooked into a power source. It’s also convenient to be able to swiftly heat up a room by flipping a switch or pressing a button on a remote. There is no need to replace tanks or install gas lines. Just a quick plug will do the trick.
Electric heaters, on average, require less clearance than either gas or electric heaters. Some wall-mounted solutions only require 6 inches of clearance. The typical clearance range for infrared patio heaters is 6 to 18 inches. The clearance on the sides is normally between 12 and 24 inches. And the length from the bottom is normally 36 to 48 inches.
Aesthetics And Space
Electric patio heaters are usually the greatest bet for minimizing space. They can be installed with minimal clearance on all sides while still being powerful enough to offer warmth.
Despite recent advancements in infrared technology, many people still believe that gas patio heaters can provide more heat from a single heater, but this will depend on the room you wish to heat and the outside temperature.
Let’s get one thing straight, wood-burning heaters are not the ideal solution for a covered patio. You should never burn wood directly under any form of obstacle, including a patio cover made of aluminum or wood. The smoke tends to collect beneath the patio, causing it to deteriorate, filling your lungs, and causing your eyes to water. Furthermore, inhaling smoke isn’t the healthiest thing to do. It’s best to avoid it.
However, if you truly want to heat your covered patio with wood, you have a few options. The first option is to put in an outdoor fireplace. You will need to hire a professional, unless you know what you’re doing, to ensure that everything is up to code.
A portable fireplace, such as a chiminea, can also be an option. You can purchase a chimney extension that will guide smoke out from under your patio and release it into the air above your home instead.
Make sure that wood fires are permitted in your area before deciding on either of these options. Many areas have burn bans in effect for much of the year in order to reduce pollution and prevent wildfires.
There is no amount of safe clearance that can be provided above an open-air wood fire pit. To funnel the smoke out from under the covered patio, you’d simply need to use a chimney.
Aesthetics And Space
If you’re short on space, an outdoor fireplace or chiminea isn’t the ideal choice. Both will take up more room than the majority of electric or gas heaters. A good outdoor fireplace, on the other hand, is aesthetically pleasing. There’s no denying that a roaring and crackling fire creates a wonderful environment.
It’s also worth noting that the heat output of a fireplace or chiminea is limited by the amount of wood that can fit within securely. In terms of efficiency, wood-burning may not be your best option unless you have plenty of seasoned firewood on hand.
As you can see, there are numerous possibilities for outdoor heating for a covered patio. The most important thing to remember is to always follow the manufacturer’s directions for your own safety and that of your family. This way, you can keep safe and comfortable while having fun and staying warm outside.