Patio Heater Safety Tips: What You Need to Know
Winter seasons are all about huddling under blankets near the fireplace or heater inside your house. While this may have its own charm, nothing can beat hanging out in the open air with your friends and family, toasty and warm on even the coldest of winter nights.
Chilly winds and cold weather conditions can make it extremely uncomfortable for you to spend time on your patio during winter. This is where the need for an outdoor patio heater comes in.
Sporting an attractive appearance and an outdoorsy style, patio heaters make your outdoor time warm, comfortable and enjoyable. No matter where in your outdoor space you wish to hang out, a patio heater is portable enough to be placed anywhere in your garden, patio or deck.
However, since patio heaters run on electricity, natural gas and or propane, all these sources of fuel come accompanied by safety risks. With proper handling and appropriate safety measures, the risk attached to using a patio heater can be minimized to none.
We have compiled a list of patio heater safety tips that you can follow to make your experience risk-free, comfortable and enjoyable.
Keep Away From Combustibles
The first thing that every patio heater user should be mindful of is the placement of the heater. While the possible placements of the patio heater are virtually endless, the safety perspective should never be lost in deciding the right position for your heater. If you are the user of a standing heater, make sure it’s placed at least 3 feet away from any combustibles. Anything that can catch fire is a combustible.
Put Propane Tank far Away From the Heat Source
If your patio heater runs on gas, make sure that the propane tank is placed as far away from the heat source as you can possibly ensure. Keep your ears open for any hissing sound or your nose for the smell of gas. If you suspect a gas leak, immediately turn the heater off and call the fire department.
Outdoor Heaters are for Outdoors
Use your outdoor propane heaters in outdoor settings only. And if there is no other solution and you have to use the heater indoors, exercise extreme caution in using the heater around a tent or cabin. The same goes for camping. Keep the heater away from the tent. If it’s a small tent, make sure your heater’s height is small. If you use a tall outdoor heater in a small camp or tent, the heat source that lies on top of the heater may heat up excessively and the fabric of the tent or camp may catch fire.
Use Gas Heaters in Ventilated Rooms
If you are to use an outdoor heater indoors, make sure that the room is adequately ventilated to draw the burned gas outside, without filling up the room and damaging your lungs.
Regularly Check for Gas Leaks
Whenever you connect your heater to its fuel supply, make sure you check all the connection points and hoses for any signs of damage or leak. If you detect a gas leak anywhere or smell gas, the immediate way to find out which point on the hose is leaking is to apply soapy water to the connections between hoses, the heater, and the cylinder. If at any point you spot bubbling, that’s where the leak is coming from. Listen for the hiss of leaking gas before you light up the heater. Make sure you perform all these steps before you switch your heater on, and not after.
Required Clearance Around the Heater
Usually, the user manual that comes with every heater tells you about the required clearance for your patio heater. In the absence of a manual, however, the ideal clearance around a patio heater is 30 inches away from any combustibles in the case of 35,000 to 50,000 BTU heaters. Whereas, at least 24 inches of clearance to combustibles is required in case of 10,000 to 35,000 BTU heaters on all sides of the reflector and emitter screen.
Other Patio Heater Safety Tips
When you are about to light up your heater, make sure you follow the below-mentioned tips:
- Before you light up the heater, move it to the place you want it to be. Moving a lit heater can be dangerous and may expose you to the risk of catching fire.
- When the heater is lit, keep all the flammable objects as far away from the heater as you can.
- If the heat source on your heater is at an average height, where a child or pet can easily gain access, make sure the heater is placed at a height where the kids or pets can’t reach it. Some heaters come with hanging chains and hooks for adding height to the heater.
- If you detect or smell a gas leak, immediately turn the heater off.
- Don’t sit too close to the heater.
- Never use a gas heater for the purpose of drying clothes or shoes etc.
- Never use an aerosol near a lit gas heater.
- Never use a patio heater anywhere near towels or any other fabric or object which can fall over the heater and catch fire.