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 unit might provide a beautiful alternative in your situation. Hanging heaters give out a smaller amount of heat and work in spaces radiating out nine or 10 feet, such as a gazebo or screened porch. Often made to resemble ceiling fans, a hanging heater is typically electric-powered. A wall-mounted unit utilizes an enclosed ventilation system, so any fumes are expelled far away from your family and friends. Some wall-mounted heaters resemble fireplace and range from traditional to very modern styles to match your design motif.
- Portability: Carefully review how you are likely to use your heater. A portable heater gives you more location options, so a single unit can be poolside in the warmer seasons to ward off chilly evening or moved nearer the house to extend your entertainment area to the patio through the winter. If you intend to use your heater in multiple locations, look for one with wheels to make it easier to shift from deck to patio or poolside.
- Safety: Make certain the heater has easily accessible shut-off valves and switches. Do not use a portable electric heater near a pool or hot tub to avoid potential electrical shock. If you choose an electric unit near a wet area, have it installed by a professional to ensure the protection of your family and friends. When using an open flame unit, such as a wood, charcoal, or open gas fireplace, monitor small children and pets to keep them away from the flame.
Outdoor heaters are a phenomenal option for extending your entertainment space and enjoying your outdoor living areas throughout the year. Let your agent know your entertainment needs to find the perfect home for your situation.