Options for Outdoor Heating
If you have a backyard with a terrace or balcony, consider investing in an outdoor heater to extend your living space. Add warmth to chilly fall or spring evenings while relaxing on your porch swing or enjoying a meal on your patio. With a heat source, you can enjoy your outdoor entertainment area in any season while creating a comfortable atmosphere. Choose from among a variety of outdoor heating systems: electric or gas terrace heating, open or enclosed flame or heating element, etc. Your options range from practical to decorative, so your choice should depend on where and how you will use it.
The main considerations:
- Fuel source: Patio heaters come in a range of power sources from gas-burning (LP—propane—or natural gas), wood or charcoal, to electric. Choosing electric or gas models allows you to control the quantity of BTUs that it generates. Models range from 3000 to more than 50K BTU’s so the one you choose needs to meet your particular situation.
- Size: Patio heaters come as small as tabletop models and as large freestanding units. Electric or natural gas heaters can be incorporated into a home’s structure while wood or coal versions require open ventilation. For a small patio, a tabletop version providing up to 10,000 BTU’s provides comfort for about four people. Larger patios or poolside decks benefit from freestanding heaters that offer higher BTU’s. Wood or charcoal burning firepits are less controlled, depending on wind, humidity, and other factors.
- Ambiance: While LP units—those often seen on restaurant patios—offer a controlled source of heat and a tabletop version might keep a small dinner comfortable, a decorative wall-mounted unit or hanging u