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How to Choose the Best Outdoor Gas Heater

How to choose the best outdoor heater

Are You Searching for an Outdoor Heating Solution?

Looking for an outdoor gas heater? Australians love outdoor living, particularly entertaining friends and family at home. These days, more homeowners are opting to create outdoor living spaces. They’re perfect for everything from family dinners under the patio to balmy summer evening barbecues with mates.

During the colder months of the year though, outdoor entertaining often gets put on hold in favour of the warmth of indoor settings.

But it need not be that way. There is a vast range of outdoor patio heater options available on the market. Each is ideal for providing much needed warmth and comfort.

But should you go for an outdoor gas heater or an electric powered model? Is there any cause for concern with gas? Will you pay more for electricity? Let’s weigh up these options a little further.

What Style of Outdoor Heater Should I Choose?

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing the best backyard heater for your outdoor space. You’ll need to think about what kind of fuel or power source you want your heater to run on. You certainly have to consider the style and size of the heater, too.

Outdoor patio heaters are becoming increasingly varied, with a range of styles available. They include:

  • Wall-mounted outdoor heaters – These usually run on electricity and offer the perfect year-round solution for outdoor living areas with limited space.
  • Floor or freestanding outdoor gas heaters – Typically available in floor or freestanding options, an outdoor gas heater offers portability and comes with a base which stops the heater from toppling over.
  • Table-top heating – Table-top heaters will generally have a smaller heat range but can make for a stylish centrepiece if you choose one with a unique design. Like wall mounted heaters, they commonly run on electricity.

The style of heater you choose will largely depend on how you want it to be powered. So, let’s take a look at gas and electric heaters, weigh up their benefits and drawbacks, and help determine which one best suits your needs.

Benefits of Gas Outdoor Heating

If you’re looking for an outdoor patio heater that is user friendly, provides easy temperature control and delivers consistent warmth across the cooler months of the year, then an outdoor gas heater might be the option for you.

Freestanding propane gas outdoor heaters offer numerous benefits including:

  • Easy portability
  • Greater energy efficiency than electric heating
  • Provides instant heat to your outdoor living space
  • Easy to set up; no installation needed
  • Make a great feature that can be the focus piece for other garden furniture

Outdoor gas heaters are traditionally fuelled by a propane-filled bottle. However, they can be connected to your home’s natural gas line. This means you do have a consistent and reliable gas supply, and there’s no need to rush around for a gas refill.

Whichever outdoor gas heater option you choose, it will provide a radiant heat that is ideal for everything from garden patios to pool areas.

Benefits of Outdoor gas heating

Challenges of Outdoor Gas Heating

It’s important to note that propane gas heaters do have their drawbacks, though. For example you’ll need to replace the gas bottle every time it runs out, which may become costly if you use it regularly. It’s also pretty inconvenient.

They can require more maintenance than other types of outdoor heating. Meanwhile, you should never use a gas heater in any outdoor space that is covered or fully enclosed.

Natural gas heaters do require plenty of ventilation due to the potential harm caused by carbon monoxide inhalation. The natural by-product of combustion heating will be produced in any setting and without a vent or flue, it will not be directed away. It disperses naturally, meaning you need plenty of airflow.

Additionally, if connected to your property’s main gas line, they do not have the same portability as a freestanding propane model. Installation by a licensed and experienced gas plumber is also required. 

At the point of purchase gas heaters are typically the most expensive of the outdoor heating options. That initial expense balances out over time. It will be one of the least expensive and most energy efficient outdoor space heaters to operate. 

What About Electric Heaters?

Electric outdoor heaters are often among the cheapest to purchase. They’re also super easy to set up and come with far fewer concerns than gas alternatives.

They too offer a range of benefits, such as:

  • Most electric patio heaters are simply ‘plug in and play’, and just require an outside power point to connect to
  • They don’t produce harmful carbon monoxide which makes them a safer option for outdoor spaces that might be enclosed or have some form of coverage
  • They also offer the flexibility of effective temperature control
  • They can be configured to your home automation set up

Being powered by electricity though, they can be among the most expensive to run. There’s also the missing wow factor of real flames.

Electric heaters can also take a while to reach their optimal heat output, which means they’re not the most efficient option. But they may well be the more convenient option for your needs.

Electric Outdoor Heating Options

Optimal Safety Guidelines for Outdoor Heating

For optimal heat output that is energy efficient and safe, your outdoor heating installation may need to meet certain criteria.

Here are just some of the requirements your outdoor entertaining area may need to meet to get the best performance from your heater in the safest way possible.

  • Always read through the manufacturer-supplied instructions before operating your outdoor heating unit for the first time.
  • Outdoor gas heaters should only be used in areas that are well ventilated and are on flat ground. 
  • Ensure any outdoor heating units are clear of any canopies, shade sails or awnings that may catch fire if they are too close to radiant heat. Each heater will have an allowable clearance determined by the manufacturer. Follow that recommendation for optimal safety. 
  • Always store your heater, as well as any gas bottles, in a designated outdoor area. Try to keep any stored outdoor gas heaters to a minimum.
  • Understand all the essential safety features of your heater, and get comfortable with identifying any warning signs that your heater may be in need of maintenance or repair.

For scheduled maintenance, always follow the instructions as provided by the manufacturer. If in doubt, contact a licensed gas fitter for trusted outdoor heating maintenance and repair services.

Outdoor Gas Heater Maintenance and Upkeep

If you’re installing a wall-mounted electric outdoor heater, or a natural gas-powered patio heater that is connected to your home’s gas line, you’ll need to keep it regularly maintained to ensure it continues to operate safely and efficiently. 

Mr Emergency provides gas leak and carbon monoxide detection services to ensure your gas patio heater doesn’t put you or your family at risk. We can also install new power points outdoors to prevent you from needing to run your electric patio heater from extension cords plugged inside.

Consider This When Choosing Outdoor Heating

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for outdoor gas heaters. With such a vast range of sizes and styles on the market, it’s worthwhile asking yourselves these questions when shopping for the ideal outdoor heating solution:

  • What are you mainly looking to get from your outdoor heating (i.e. warmth, visual appeal or ambience)?
  • What are you looking to spend at point of purchase, and what is your price cap? Price range for outdoor gas heaters can vary significantly.
  • Are you looking for suitable heat output for a large space or smaller area?
  • Do you want a low maintenance heater, or are you prepared to give it the TLC it needs?
  • Are you looking for fixed position outdoor heating, or do you want a model that offers portability? 
  • How many people will likely be using the space?
  • Will you be looking for a year-round heating solution?

So, when it comes to entertaining guests outdoors, there’s no need to keep it exclusive to the warmer months of the year. With the right outdoor gas heater in the right outdoor area, you can entertain friends and family under the patio or enjoy a board game night under the pergola all year round.

And with help the experts from Mr Emergency, you’ll do it in comfort and style.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

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