Patio heater

Patio Heater Frequently Asked Questions Posted on 22 Mar 06:18


Patio Heater Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What size propane tank do I need for my patio heater?
Most full size patio heaters use a standard 20 pound propane tank. These are the same type of tanks that are commonly used with BBQ grills.

Q: Does the propane tank come with my patio heater?
Propane tanks do not typically come with the patio heater and must be purchased separately.

Q: Where do I purchase a propane tank?
Twenty pound propane tanks are easily found at home improvement stores. Additionally, there are several propane tank exchange companies where the customer can simply exchange an empty tank for a full one. This is very quick and easy.

Q: How much clearance is required above my patio heater?
Patio heaters must have clearance on all sides. It is recommended that there be three feet above the unit and two feet on each side of the unit.


Q: Can I use my patio heater indoors?
Propane patio heaters are never to be used indoors.

Q: Can I shorten the post on my patio heater so the unit is not so tall?
You should never shorten the center post on the patio heater. Patio heaters are only to be used at their original height.

Q: There is a piece of foam inside the bottom of the burner assembly around the hose? Should I remove this?
Some patio heaters come with a piece of foam inside the bottom of the burner assembly around the hose. This foam should be removed before assembling the head unit to the top of the center post. The foam is in place to keep the gas hose from being cut during shipping.

 Q: Can my propane patio heater be converted to natural gas?
Our patio heaters are manufactured and safety certified for LPG only and we do not recommend altering them in any way. To do so could cause irreparable damage to the unit.  If your home has a natural gas hook up then you should consider purchasing a natural gas patio heater.

Q: What is a Piezo igniter?
Many patio heaters come with what is called a Piezo igniter.  A Piezo igniter is a hammer/quartz crystal mechanism. The igniter button is pressed which causes the hammer to strike the quartz crystal, creating a spark that ignites the propane.

Q: Can my patio heater be used on a wooden deck?
Patio heaters can be used on wooden decks provided that they are never left unattended. Like any fire, a responsible person of the age of majority must be present during all use.

Q: What is covered under warranty?
There is a warranty provided with each heater. This warranty is typically a one year warranty from the date of purchase. Warranty coverage is extended to damaged parts upon delivery and defective parts during the warranty period. The warranty does not cover normal wear due to use and weather related damage issues.

Q: Can I use my patio heater when it is windy?
It is recommended that you do not use a patio heater if wind conditions reach 10 miles per hour. 

Q: Will low temperatures affect my patio heater?
The composition of propane changes in temperatures below 40 degrees F. While the heater may function, it will not function efficiently and will produce less heat than in temperatures over 40 degrees F. 

Q: Can my patio heater be left in the rain and snow?
Patio heaters are outdoor products. However, leaving the heater exposed to the elements when not in use could cause the finish of the heater to deteriorate over time.

Q: Should I purchase a cover for my patio heater?
One excellent way to protect and extend the life of your patio heater is to purchase a cover. Covering your unit when not in use will keep your unit looking new by protecting it from the elements and also keep dust, moisture and bugs out of the burner assembly. It should be noted that a cover can act like a sail if the wind catches it so use caution when leaving covered patio heater unattended. Move the heater to an area protected from the wind or secure the heater to something immobile to keep the heater from blowing over.

Q: What size propane canister is used on a table top patio heater?

Table top patio heaters use a one pound propane canister that can be purchased at most home improvement stores.

Q: Can I use a 20 lb. propane tank with my table top patio heater?
There is an adapter hose available for purchase so that a table top patio heater can use a 20 pound propane tank.

Q: How does an infrared patio heater work?
Electric infrared patio heaters are a popular choice and an excellent alternative to gas heaters. Infrared patio heaters are electrical heaters that utilize an infrared bulb to heat the object within the glow of the bulb.  It does not heat the air so it is not affected by wind. Electric infrared patio heaters are very inexpensive to operate as compared to gas heaters.


Q: How much does it cost to operate?

A 1500 watt electric infrared patio heater costs approximately 29 cents an hour to operate.

Q: Can it be operated in the rain?
Because infrared heaters are an electrical appliance, it is not recommended that they be used in the rain as there could be risk of electrocution.  

Q: Do infrared patio heaters require special wiring?
A 1500 watt electric infrared patio heater draws close to 14 amps.  It is recommended that it be on a dedicated line with no other appliances.  A 20 amp circuit breaker is ideal.


Q: Which is hotter, infrared or halogen?
Infrared patio heaters have a more intense heat output than halogen patio heaters.

Patio Heater Troubleshooting Guide Posted on 19 Mar 14:07

Patio Heater Won't Stay Lit

One common issue that patio heater owners face is keeping their patio heater lit. The typical cause for this is that the pilot light flame has become too far away from the thermocouple.

Thus, the thermocouple will turn off the patio heater as it tricks the gas value in to thinking that the pilot light is out. Other potential causes are not having enough gas pressure or the pilot light/orifices are more restricted due to corrosion.

Another simple cause is that a breeze is blowing just right and is blowing out the pilot light.

The Fix

There is a way to fix this problem. Making sure the patio heater is “off”, sure a pair of pliers to gently squeeze the pilot light and the thermocouple a bit closer.

To squeeze the pilot light and sensor-bulb together, remove the top of the heater and the front control panel that covers the pilot light and control knob.

Then remove the bracket that holds the pilot light and thermocouple together to that you will get the best access. You may not need to disassemble it as much as you think, but you need to disassemble and very gently squeeze the pilot and thermocouple making sure not to crush it.

Now, the pilot light will be very close to the sensor bulb and the patio heater will no longer shut off after a few minutes. Please check out our how to guide and User Manual for easy troubleshooting

Another reason that your patio heater won't stay lit also has to do with the thermocouple. Sometimes the thermocouple gets coated with carbon from the propane. Sometimes using a small tooth file and lightly sanding the thermocouple will help to remove the carbon build up.

If the issue is not with the thermocouple the cause of the problem could be a numbers of things. It may be as simple as the gas valve on the propane tank being turned off. Simply turn the gas tank on.

Additionally, the propane tank may be empty. A full propane tank is much heavier than an empty propane tank. Take your tank and get it refilled.

Yet another reason your patio will not stay lit is that the gas valve orifice is blocked. You should clean the orifice or have it replaced. Sometimes there is air in the gas line which is blocking propane from getting to the heater head unit.

The solution for this is to purge the gas line. Open the gas line by turning the knob on the propane tank to fully open. Then depress the control knob for two to three minutes. Make sure all gas has cleared before attempted to ignite the patio heater.

Loose connections sometime cause problems. Check the regulator to make sure it is tightly connected to the propane tank. Check all other fittings as well. Make sure to use the soap and water test to determine if there are any leaks.

Ignitors sometimes get worn out and fail. You can start your patio heater with a stick lighter. If the heater will ignite with a stick lighter then replace the worn ignition with a new ignition. Sometimes the gas pressure is simply too low.

You should replace or refill your propane tank. The problem may also be in the regulator. If the gas is on but there is no gas flow then replace the hose and regulator assembly.

If your propane tank is new you will need to purge the air from the gas lines. As described before open the gas line by turning the knob on the propane tank to fully open. Then depress the control knob for two to three minutes. Make sure all gas has cleared before attempting to ignite the patio heater.

Patio Heater Flame Is Too Low

Sometimes the heater will stay lit but the flame is too low. This could mean that the gas pressure is too low. When the outdoor temperature is less than 40 degrees F and the tank is less than one-quarter full a low flame will result.

The Fix

Check to make sure the propane tank has enough fuel in it. If not then refill or replace it. 

Another potential cause for a low flame is that the gas hose is kinked. Check the gas hose and straighten it. If the hose is damaged in any way then have it replaced.

There may also be a blockage in the burner assembly. Thoroughly clean the burner and emitter screen to clear any blockages. Also check the reflector to make sure there is no carbon build-up. If there is, then clean away the carbon.

Choosing the Right Patio Heater Posted on 23 Feb 05:05

Choosing the right patio heater

Patio heaters are an essential tool for enjoying the outdoors during cool months.There are several things to consider when deciding which patio heater is right for you.

Propane fueled patio heaters fire sense

Propane fueled patio heaters are still the biggest selling patio heaters in the U.S. market. Most patio heaters have the same basic shape and work in the same way. Typically, the patio heater has a base upon which the LPG tank sits and connects to a propane tank via a LPG regulator and hose. The tank is covered by the heater’s tank cover. The hose runs through the center pole and connects to the heater head.

The heater head has an ignition button and a gas control knob which regulates the strength of the gas flow.  The patio heater head has an emitter screen which is heated from the inside by a gas burner. The emitter screen has tiny holes in it which allow the heat to release. Sitting on top of the heater head is a round saucer shaped aluminum disc called the “reflector”.  The reflector extends beyond the heater head by several inches and catches the heat produced by the emitter screen and forces it downward so that the user can be warmed.

Most patio heaters in the United States are fueled by a 20 pound propane tank.  It is the same type and size of propane tank that is regularly used to fuel gas BBQ grills in the U.S.   A 20 pound tank will typically fuel a full size patio heater for approximately 10 hours of use.

There are numerous features that separate one patio heater brand or model from another. The most obvious is the type of material that is used in the overall construction of the patio heater. These materials include steel, stainless steel, aluminum and all-weather wicker. Each material has its own costs and benefits.

Stainless steel if used in higher end patio heaters and is reflected in the higher cost of such units.  The stainless steel used in patio heaters is typically one of three grades of stainless steel.  430 grade stainless steel is less expensive and is the least rust resistant of the three grades.  If you do not live in a salt water environment then 430 grade stainless steel will very likely suit your needs.

However, if you live in a salt water environment then grade 201 or grade 304 stainless steel should be your choice. Grade 201 is a good all around choice.  Grade 201 has anti-rusting properties very similar to grade 304 stainless steel but costs considerably less.

Grade 304 stainless steel is the material of choice for salt water environments and/or for those consumers who simply want the best protection against rust.  The downside is that grade 304 stainless steel patio heaters commands a premium price.

Along the same lines as the rust protection that 304 grade stainless steel provides is cast aluminum.  The casting process involves pouring molten aluminum in to molds to produce the patio heater parts. This process makes it possible to produce ornate designs which give the patio heater a design aesthetic that other materials cannot match.  Additionally, cast aluminum patio heaters are heavier and thus more sturdy than other types of patio heaters. The downside is that cast aluminum patio heaters are expensive.

All weather wicker patio heaters are another excellent rust free choice. This type of patio heater consists of all weather wicker of the same type that outdoor furniture is made.  The interior frame of the heater will be made of aluminum or steel tubing.  All weather wicker allows for a design aspect that often coordinates with the user’s patio furniture, thus adding compliment to the outdoor living space.

Finally, powder coated steel patio heaters are by far the most popular type and the most economical.  Just as it sounds, steel is powder coated to inhibit rusting while providing a choice of attractive finishes.  The most popular powder coat finishes at present are mocha and hammer tone bronze.  Whatever color your patio furniture is, there will be powder coat color to match.

In addition to a variety of materials, propane patio heaters come in various strengths. Patio heaters are differentiated by their heat output. The heat output is measured in the United States in BTU’s or British Thermal Units..  The higher the BTU rating, the more heat the heater produces.

The standard BTU output for a full size patio heater is 40,000 BTU’s.  BTU output goes up from there. Commercial patio heaters have BTU ratings in the range of 46,000 to 48,000.

The size of the reflector can have an impact on the efficiency of the patio heater.  Most reflectors have a knock-down (“KD”) construction which allows the reflector to be shipped in the same box as the patio heater itself.  However, most KD reflectors are smaller in diameter than one piece reflectors.

The larger the diameter of the reflector, the more heat it will catch from the patio heater’s emitter screen.  This in turn means that a larger reflector will force more heat downward toward the intended area that requires heat.  Most reflectors, KD or one piece, share a common three-hole attachment system.  Therefore, it is easy for the user to upgrade to a larger one piece reflector.  A new reflector is an easy and cost effective way to make a patio heater more efficient. 

Another distinguishing feature of gas patio heaters is the ignition system. There are two types of ignition systems, Piezo manual ignitors and electric ignitors.  Both systems accomplish the same result but in different ways.

A manual ignition system requires the user to physically push the ignition button in order to generate a spark to light the heater.  This typically takes multiple attempts before the patio heater is lit.  An electronic igniter requires one AAA battery which is inserted behind the ignition button.  Once the ignition button is pressed and held in, the igniter produces a continuous spark that easily and quickly lights the patio heater burner.

The popularity of patio heaters continues to grow as more and more people spend more time enjoying the outdoors. No matter which finish or features you choose, your patio heater will extend your outdoor living season for years to come.