Electric Patio Heater Buyer's Guide
Electric patio heaters are popular outdoor heating options for both open outdoor rooms and enclosed spaces. Since they do not produce any heat by combustion, produce zero emissions and convert up to 98 percent of their energy into heat, electric patio heaters use fuel economically and heat effectively. Although electric outdoor heaters are virtually maintenance free, there are some things that will need to be considered when using an electric patio heater to warm outdoor areas.
Cost of electric outdoor heaters
Portable electric heaters will generally cost more to operate than natural gas but less than propane. An electric patio heater that produces 12,000 Watts (the equivalent of 40,000 BTUs) will cost about $1.32 per hour to operate.
Most electric outdoor heaters will produce heat instantly while some might take 30-60 seconds to reach their full heat output but while operating to their full potential, portable electric heaters actually produce heat more efficiently than any other heaters and they directly heat people, tables, walls, floors and other objects as opposed to the air surrounding them which will save money in the long run.
Electric patio heater Watts
The more Watts an electric patio heater produces, the more effective it will be at warming its target. To figure out how many Watts you will need your electric patio heater to produce take the cubic feet of the area you wish to heat and multiply it by the desired temperature rise. This equation will give you the amount of Watts your electric patio heater will need to produce to meet your outdoor heating expectations.
Placement of portable electric heaters
Electric outdoor heaters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles so placement options are virtually endless. For areas like workshops and garages where floor space needs to remain uncluttered, hanging models and wall and ceiling mount electric outdoor heaters are a great option. Pool areas, patios and balconies offer more placement flexibility for portable table top and standing electric outdoor heaters.
Portable electric heaters should be installed in areas where outlets are properly grounded and easily accessible. Extension cords can be used with electric outdoor heaters. Just make sure that the extension cord is a 3 prong cord and it is a no. 14 AWG minimum size rated not less than 2000 Watts and is the shortest cord length that you can use. Never use a 16 gauge extension cord and never connect two or more extension cords together to operate your electric patio heater.
Electric patio heater safety
Even though portable electric heaters do not produce an open flame it is still necessary to follow certain safety precautions while using them. While making plans for installation for your electric patio heater, be sure that you are maintaining the recommended amount of space between the heater and combustible materials. Consult your owner's manual to figure out what the required clearance to combustibles is for that specific electric patio heater as they will vary from one model to another.
As with any heating appliance, electric outdoor heaters should not be operated without supervision and should be shut off when leaving your home for any amount of time. Portable electric heaters will get hot during operation so keep them out of the reach of children.