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Enjoy the Outdoors Year Round with a Patio Heater

Jan 16, 2008
You probably put a lot of thought into your selection of patio furniture, choosing pieces for comfort, durability, and attractiveness. You create the perfect outdoor space, but then fall comes and all that area goes to waste as you huddle inside for warmth.

A simple patio heater can allow you to enjoy your patio furniture in all but the coldest weather. If you live in a warm climate, a small heater can make the outdoors comfortable year round. Even in colder climes, a high efficiency unit in an enclosed porch can create an oasis of warmth among the snowy landscape.

You can buy these appliances at any patio furniture dealer. But before making a selection, you will want to understand the three different types of heaters and how they will suit your needs:

Electric Patio Heaters

These are best used in an enclosed patio or a garage. They come in a range of sizes from small and portable large and fixed. They plug into the household current and warm up at the flick of a switch. Electric heaters all work on the same principle, using radiant heat to broadcast warmth into the room.

The smaller units are not designed to heat the air but instead to heat the people up as the radiant heat chases away the chill. This is often fine for a small group of people but if you are holding a winter patio party, they may not do the job.

The large units are permanent fixtures installed by professional contractors. Consider placement carefully because once installed you cannot change their position without calling the contractor back out. These are much more efficient than the smaller models, heating enclosed patios very quickly.

Propane Patio Heaters

This is the type of heater generally favored by restaurants and other commercial establishments. They use a propane tank just like the one you might have in your grill. They put out a tremendous amount of heat more efficiently than the electric heaters, keeping the entire patio at a comfortable temperature.

Sizes range from tabletop models that are fine for a romantic outdoor dinner up to large models that easily heat even very large spaces. They are available in a wider range of styles than electrics, making it easier to find a unit that matches the rest of the patio furniture.

The biggest downside is the inconvenience of replacing the tank. They go through more propane than a grill since they are trying to heat a large open area rather than a small confined space.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

These work similar to propane heaters, but rather than having a tank they are connected directly into the hous's gas lines. This makes them easy and inexpensive to operate, similar to a natural gas fireplace.

Because of the gas pipe connection, these units are almost always fixed in position. However the lack of an external tank makes them smaller than an equivalent propane heater, thus it is easier to find the perfect spot for them.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on patio furniture, visit http://www.LaPatio.com/.
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