Today on PatioMate we’re looking at some of the most common questions surrounding patio heaters and hope to answer them for you! If you have any other questions you’d like answered, please send us a @tweet or post on our Facebook!
General Patio Heater Questions
Are Patio Heaters Safe?
Modern-day patio heaters are built with safety in mind.
Most electric patio heaters, including budget heaters will come with some sort of overheat protection. While more expensive heaters come with advanced safety features like an anti-tilt switch, built in thermostat and more.
If you’re looking for a new gas patio heater, then make sure you buy one with anti-tilt protection and a flame safety feature, which turns off the gas should the flame cut out.[/infobox]The most advanced safety patio heater on the market is the electric Firefly 1.2kW family & pet-friendly table top heater. This heater is suitable for those of us with young children and pets, with built-in “safety fluff” and an ingress protection rating of IP55, making it usable in all weather conditions.
Are Patio Heaters Bad for the Environment?
Electric patio heaters produce up to 90% less CO2 and are up to 94% heat efficient. Rather than heating the surrounding air and burning gas, infrared heaters heat objects and surfaces only.
If you’re looking to make the most of your time outside and reduce your impact on the environment, then try to reduce wind-chill by installing windbreakers and awnings or gazebos wherever possible.
Are Patio Heaters Expensive to Run?
We’ve covered this in detail in our article about how much it costs to run a patio heater.
As a rule domestic electric patio heaters cost between 6-30 pence per hour assuming the heater has multiple power settings. Commercial patio heaters will cost a bit more depending on the wattage, as they vary greatly from 2kW to 8kW+, so you’ll be looking at an hourly running cost of between 30-118 pence.
Gas heaters are more expensive with the cheapest on the market starting at about 40pence per hour running up to £2.50 and above for the 13kW+ heaters.
Electric heaters tend to cost somewhere between one and two thirds of a gas heater to run.
Are Patio Heaters Waterproof?
Some patio heaters can get wet, and others can’t. Thankfully there are ways to tell whether the patio heater you’re looking at is waterproof.
Patio heaters usually have an Ingress Protection Rating or International Protection Marking, which will details the level of solid and liquid protection that the patio heater offers.
As a general rule, a patio heater with an IP rating of IPX4 is suitable for outdoor use during wet conditions assuming the heater is at least partially protected by an awning or parasol (although each manufacturer has different rules). Some claim full operation in poor weather conditions with an IPX4 rating, while others recommend not using the heater in wet weather.
Most gas patio heaters come with some protection from the elements and can be used in poor weather conditions, but always check the manual to see whether your patio heater can be used in the rain!
You can see all the weatherproof / waterproof patio heaters available here.
We recommend an IP rating of IPX5 or above if you intend to use the heater in an area without any protection from the weather.[/infobox]
Ingress Protection / Weatherproof & Waterproof Ratings Table
First Digit (Solid & intrusion protection)
X – Not rated
0 – No special protection
1 – Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access); from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter
2 – Protection against fingers or another object not greater than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter
3 – Protection from entry by tools, wires etc, with a diameter of 2.5 mm or more
4 – Protection against solid bodies larger than 1mm (eg fine tools/small etc)
5 – Protected against dust that may harm equipment
6 – Totally dust tight
Second Digit (liquid protection)
X – Not rated
0 – No protection.
1 – Protection against dripping water
2 – Protection against dripping water when tilted at an angle of 15°
3 – Protection from spraying water at any angle up to 60° for at least 5 minutes
4 – Protection from splashing water from any direction for at least 10 minutes
5 – Protection against low-pressure water jets from all directions
6 – Protection against powerful water jets from all directions
6K – Protected from powerful water jets with increased pressure
7 – Protected against immersion up to 1m for at least 30 minutes
8 – Protected against immersion up to 3m
9K – Protection from powerful high-temperature water jets for at least 30 seconds at 4 angles with a temperature of at least 80°C
[infobox icon=”question”]An X rating doesn’t necessarily mean the heater doesn’t offer a certain level of protection from solids, but rather that it hasn’t been tested for it. E.G IPX4 may offer an IP44 level of protection but hasn’t been tested.[/infobox]
Can Patio Heaters be Used in a … Garage / Gazebo / Inside?
Gas patio heaters should never be used inside. They emit carbon monoxide which is fatal!
Most electric patio heaters can be used inside as they emit no harmful emissions and most are virtually silent. These infrared heaters are also more efficient at keeping you warm.
Some electric patio heaters can be used within a gazebo and have optional gazebo clamps available. The Futura range of patio heaters are perfect for gazebo installation.
If you’re searching for an indoor only heater, then most budget halogen will do the job and are substantially cheaper to purchase than patio heaters.
Can Patio Heaters be Used in Winter?
Winter is the perfect time to use a patio heater. We recommend using a patio heater that has an IP rating of IPX6 or above if you’re looking at using these heaters in the snow, as the immersion protection means that when the snow does melt, you won’t risk damaging your heater.
Burda specialise in winter ready patio heaters. The Burda Term 2000 is IP67 rated and perfect for harsher weather conditions.
Do Patio Heaters Need a Cover?
This depends on the build quality of the heater.
Gas patio heaters that are built from powder-coated steel are particularly susceptible to rusting so we would recommend purchasing a cover if you want your heater to last more than one season. Stainless steel heaters fare a little better, but purchasing a cover is still a worthwhile investment, as sometimes you’ll find that the grill or screws aren’t made from stainless steel and rust.
Electric patio heaters are slightly different as most are built from a combination of plastic and stainless steel. If the heater is IP44 rated or above you should be fine without a cover. If you’re spending more than £60.00 on a heater, we do recommend buying a cover as they’ll usually cost £20-40.00 and prevent any unwanted damage.
Ultimately the decision is yours. We recommend buying a cover whenever possible, but budget heaters are sometimes so cheap the covers are actually more expensive than the heater itself!