What is a patio heater? (with photo)

A sidewalk cafe can use patio heaters to help diners stay warm in bad weather.

A patio heater is a large, upright radiative heater built for use in open spaces. Patio heaters are very popular for home use, especially for patios or outdoor dining areas, and are also found in many restaurants and cafes with terraces.

The heat circle that a patio heater casts varies depending on the manufacturer, model, and weather conditions. Most patio heaters can maintain a 10-20′ (3-6m) circle, with some models in ideal conditions heating up to 30′ (9m) of space. A patio heater will raise the room temperature by 10 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Due to the relatively small rise in ambient temperature, a patio heater is designed to make it more pleasant to spend twilight and evening on temperate nights, or to extend the amount of time that can be spent outdoors during late summer by a few weeks. autumn or early spring. A patio heater is not designed to be used in the height of a cold winter to make the snowy landscape suitable for an outdoor picnic, but it will certainly alleviate a chilly night in mid-October.

The standard patio heater runs on propane, kerosene or butane, although there are models that run on other fuels and even without electricity. Some companies also offer conversions of existing units by changing the fuel they consume. Permanently installed patio heaters often use natural gas as the fuel of choice, matching the same system as the user’s outdoor grill. A portable patio heater typically drains bottled fuel for ease of use.

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Many patio heaters have a heavy-duty aluminum reflector on top to help direct heat down and out of the unit. This range of patio heaters is preferable to completely open patio heaters, which lose a huge amount of energy in the air.

The average patio heater produces 40,000 BTUs and the intense heat it hits will have an effect on the unit. Many patio heater owners find that their unit is rusting due to the development of a brownish tinge over the emitter. As the emitter is reaching temperatures in excess of 1200°F (650°C), it is undergoing a process called bluing, which turns stainless steel into different colors. This is not rust and is not a cause for concern.

The price of a patio heater varies, but a unit can be purchased for much less than people often expect. A small portable unit can be found for just over $100, and even larger, better-quality permanent models rarely cost more than $400. Most stores that sell garden furniture and barbecue accessories also sell patio heaters. , and your sales representatives will be able to help you find the ideal device for your needs.

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