As the pandemic continues to limit indoor gatherings, patio heaters have become a familiar sight on the streets and backyards of cities around the world. In particular portable patio heaters have seen a surge in demand as they can be used anywhere, are easy to operate, and don’t require a connection to the mains. When it comes to installing, operating and storing patio heaters, it’s important to follow a few guidelines to ensure patio heaters safety.
Location: Give it space
Portable patio heaters need space. Outdoor space! This can be an open or semi-open space with lots of natural ventilation and regular airflow to prevent carbon monoxide buildup – a by-product of combustion. Heaters should be at least 3 feet (1m) away from walls, ceilings and any combustible materials like umbrellas, furniture, awnings, or plants. It’s also important to put the heater on an even ground to reduce the risk of it toppling over. The best patio heaters will come with an anti-tilt switch that ensures the heater switches off automatically as soon as it senses that it’s no longer in an upright position.
Operation: Don’t leave it unattended
Although outdoor gas heaters have been designed with consumer safety in mind, they should never be left unattended when on. Most patio heaters will be equipped with a flame failure device, such as a thermocouple, which shuts off the gas if the flame ever goes out due to wind or for any other reasons. When the heater is not in use, it’s also important to make sure that the gas supply is switched off completely.
Storage: Cover it up
Most patio heaters aren’t waterproof and even if they are, it’s always a good idea to get a cover for the heater to prevent it from getting wet or for dust and debris like insects entering the heater. Always ensure the propane tank is properly closed and stored in an upright position, away from combustible materials, direct sunlight, and in a well-ventilated area, such as a detached garage or shed. For more propane storage tips, visit https://www.amerigas.com/about-propane/propane-safety/tank-storage.
Maintenance: Keep it clean
Regular maintenance is important to ensure the heaters continues to operate efficiently and reliably. The burner and circulation air passageways of the heater must be kept clean at all times. Debris, such as spiders or other insects can be easily removed with a heavy-duty pipe cleaner or compressed air. Any potential gas leaks can be detected by running a simple soap water test. If there’s a leak the soapy water will start to bubble at the place gas is escaping. Most manufacturers will also recommend to do an annual full service check by a qualified professional.
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- On February 20, 2021