Are Patio Heaters Safe

Are Patio Heaters Safe? (Can You Use Them in a Garage)

For warmth and ambience on your patio, perhaps all you need is a beautiful patio heater surrounded by cozy outdoor furniture and a few other decorations. This can give you a dainty place for relaxation but also spell danger.

Patio heaters are safe to use, even in the garage, but you must understand that certain things you must do to ensure don’t constitute a danger to you and yours.

Proper ventilation, stabilizing the heater, and using the right patio heater are some of the simple safety tips that are noteworthy when using a patio heater.

What Are Patio Heaters?

The name patio heater tells you exactly what it is: a device that can heat your patio. It burns some fuel to create warmth in your patio as the burning fuel creates heat.

Patio heaters are designed for outdoor use, even though some can go on covered porches and such spaces depending on manufacturer specifications.

There are different types of patio heaters, just as there are different ways to categorize them. For instance, if you want to group them based on how they stand, then you can group them into:

  • Floor-standing patio heaters
  • Hanging Patio heaters
  • Wall-mounted patio heaters
  • Tabletop patio heaters.

Fire pits and chimneys are also considered patio heaters(that is, you build them on your patio)

Another way of classifying patio heaters is based on their source of power or the type of fuel it uses. Hence you have the following:

  • Natural gas patio heaters
  • Electric patio heater
  • Propane patio heater
  • Wood-burning patio heater.

You can also classify the patio heater based on other parameters like size, style, brand, and the like.

Safety Concerns, Merits, And Demerits Of Different Categories Of Patio Heaters

Types Of Patio Heaters

Types of Patio are classified into the following

  • Free-standing patio heater
  • Tabletop Patio Heater
  • Wall Mounted Patio Heaters And Hanging Patio

1. The Free-standing Patio Heater

Are Patio Heaters Safe

  • Under very windy conditions, it tips and falls.
  • If it is not placed on a stable and flat surface, it may tip also.
  • It requires some vertical clearance if used on a covered patio.
  • It requires fresh air ventilation.
  • The dispersion of heat may be impacted by wind.

2. Tabletop Patio Heater

Are Patio Heaters Safe

  • If the table it is placed on is bumpy, it can tip over.
  • Wind can interfere with the dispersion of heat.
  • There is high heat within reach of people; hence care must be taken to ensure nobody touches the heater, or else they get burned.

3. Wall Mounted Patio Heaters And Hanging Patio

Are Patio Heaters Safe

1. You must get a professional to mount it; this is to ensure that there is proper clearance from flammable objects.

2. You need several of them in your large patio because it may only spot heat.

Source Of Power for Patio Heaters – How It Is Fueled

a. Propane/natural gas

  • It produces high heat.
  • It rapidly heats the patio.
  • It is very convenient to use and is messy and hassle-free.
  • It is, however, costly to operate.
  • Because of the high heat it generates, it can be dangerous.
  • You risk burning your patio and house if the propane leaks.

b. Electric Patio Heaters

  • You can conveniently turn it on and off with the flip of a switch.
  • It heats the patio in waves.
  • It is energy efficient.
  • It is very safe even in windy conditions.
  • You must have to hire a professional to install it.
  • You may need to install several of them if you will be hearing up a large patio.

c. Wood-burning Patio Heaters

  • It is relatively inexpensive.
  • It is more aesthetically pleasing.
  • You have no reason to worry about the unit tipping over.
  • It, however, can cause smoke and smell.
  • Having children and pets around a wood-burning patio heater is risky.
  • The open flame makes it the most dangerous of all patio heaters because sparks and ashes can lead to an uncontrollable fire under heavy winds.

The Verdict

With the different patio heaters you have to choose from, you might be overwhelmed trying to pick the safest one. However, a few things you have to look out for when picking a patio heater that is safe for you. Here are a few points to consider

1. Heat Radiation

A patio heater that radiates heat from an open flame as you have with a wood-burning patio heater and propane and natural gas heater expose you to the risk of a fire outbreak (this is never a problem if you install and use them as recommended by the manufacturer).

You don’t have this risk with an electric patio heater because its installation, power, and control eliminate such risk.

2. The Installation

The installation of an electric patio heater is done by an expert, which means that the chances of not fixing it properly are highly reduced, further increasing the safety threshold.

A licensed electrician will measure the distance around the heater to ensure it is safe from all potential fire risks, and he will properly fix the heater in a location that will be safe from adverse weather.

3. Control

The control you get from flipping on and off your electric patio heater when you need to means you can stop the unit from working if you notice any safety issue in a matter of a second.

4. Power

Electricity is a very safe power source for your patio heater because you can easily cut off the power supply in danger. This is not the case with a wood-burning patio heater.

From the points we just considered, an electric patio heater is safest for your home, even though it might not give off as much heat as others.

Are Patio Heaters Safe?

Let’s get down straight to the business of the day. Patio heaters are safe in themselves, but you must take the necessary precaution to ensure that they work optimally and do not constitute a safety risk for you and your property.

Here are some things to keep in mind while using your patio heater.

1. Use the right heater for the space it’s meant for

Different types of heaters are designated for use in different spaces, and you must use the right heater for your patio. Don’t use any other heater on your patio except the patio heater; its heat should be approximately 5,000 BTUs per 100 square feet.

2. The unit must have certain safety features

Patio heaters have been designed with consumer safety in mind, and many of these safety features aim to prevent fire hazards and accidental injuries.

Anti-tilt device to keep the standing patio from tipping over is a thermocouple. This flame failure device responds to changes in temperature and shuts off the gas valve if the flame goes out to prevent gas leakage.

Having the flames safely contained inside tempered glass tubing or an emitter for protection reduces the fire risk associated with using a patio heater.

3. Ensure it has CSA Safety Rating

You want a patio heater that has been tested and proven safe by a 3rd party evaluator. A CSA safety rating is a seal of approval for the patio heater, for which the product must meet a rigorous set of standards, which proves it is safe for use, especially in North America.

How To Use Your Patio Heater Safely

If you have gotten the patio heater of your choice, you will have to do the following to ensure you use it safely:

1. Place Them In A Safe Place

The closer your patio heaters are too flammable, the higher the risk of a fire hazard; hence you must keep these heaters away from combustible materials like liquid lighters, textiles, papers, grasses, and the like.

It is recommended that clearance of at least 3 feet should be maintained from all flammable materials and the patio heater.

2. Ensure The Surroundings Is Safe Too

Only use patio heaters in an open or semi-open outdoor area with proper ventilation and air circulation to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide. This hazardous gas is emitted when most fuels are burnt.

Ensure no structure or obstruction will reduce airflow in the heater area. Nothing should be placed above or below the patio heater, and ensure that the unit is placed on a flat and stable surface.

3. Handle The Fuel Safely

Propane and natural gas are very combustible and the most common fuel used in patio heaters; precautions must be taken when handling tanks and valves to minimize leaks that can lead to a fire. The fuel tank valve should be closed when the patio heater is not in use, and turn off the switch.

4. Weather Protection

The wind is one of the most important atmospheric conditions that affect patio heaters, and this is because it can easily knock down lightweight patio heaters. Hence you anchor them with a weight or place them in a location that does not expose them to the effect of the wind.

Can You Use a Patio Heater In A Garage?

Working in the garage in very chilly weather can be discomforting, and you might be wondering if you can install a unit or two patio heaters to warm up the space. The answer is YES; you can use a patio heater in your garage.

However, you must remember that most patio heaters emit dangerous greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric oxide. Hence, it can portend danger when used in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

To use a patio heater in a garage, you should open the garage door to ensure free circulation. The ventilation will help avoid excess carbon dioxide build-up and inhalation. Also, ensure that you stick to all the tips on using the patio heater that is elucidated previously.


Patio heaters can be a great addition to any patio because they offer warmth, beautify the space, and give it some luxury to your home.

With the different types of patio heaters available, you must choose a safe unit so that you don’t expose yourself and your home to fire hazards or the risk of inhaling toxic gases.

Helpful Links:

We trust this article helped you learn more about patio heaters and if they are safe for you to install in your yard or garage. You may also want to check if Outdoor Heaters Can be Left Out in the Rain.

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