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Canadians love the outdoors, but the feeling doesn't always seem mutual. From sweltering summer days to chilly autumn nights, our weather can be tough to contend with. Patio heaters placed strategically in your home's outdoor spaces can help make hanging outside in cold weather a little bit more comfortable, warming your deck to keep you and your loved ones cozy.
Unlike fire pits, patio heaters offer minimal hassle and maintain high air quality. There is no thick, blowing smoke to irritate eyes, and no messy maintenance or cleanup of wood and ashes. Suitable for and easy to use on most any deck or balcony; their contained heat sources are also safer than fires, which can spark and spread.
There are a number of patio heater types made to suit different setups, from condominium balconies to spacious restaurant or cottage decks. Heaters can stand alone, sit on tabletops, or be mounted to walls or ceilings depending on the size of the patio and desired warmth levels for it. Tabletop heaters are generally 3ft. in height or less, and while the heat they give off is restricted, they can conveniently be moved from place to place while providing a delightful ambience from their dancing flames. Standalone or freestanding heaters stand tall and provide exceptional amounts of heat, making them ideal for large decks; but due to their size, they're not easy to move around. Mountable heaters are also stationary, providing heat from their place on the wall or ceiling to save floor space.
Fuel sources for patio heaters are as varied as their designs. Natural gas heaters provide continuous warmth with little maintenance and a high level of efficiency; they're cheap to operate and can heat large areas in all directions. They, like propane heaters, are able to reproduce the sought-after flame effect that helps to create a romantic, cozy atmosphere in your outdoor living space. However, propane heaters offer the convenience of being powered by propane tanks that can be bought and installed easily, whereas natural gas heaters require attachment to an existing gas line, and may require help from a professional. Propane heaters are available in a multitude of sizes, from large freestanding versions to charming tabletop fire bowl styles. Fire bowls and other small heaters may alternatively run off gel fuel, a smokeless medium made from clean-burning ethanol alcohol that creates flame effects without odours. Electric units offer another convenient and low maintenance type of heating, and are the only heaters safe to use in covered or partially-enclosed spaces. Plugging into any regular 120 volt residential outlet, these use heating bulbs to generate and spread warmth. Electrical infrared heaters work in much the same way, however instead of using convection heating to heat an area's ambient air and circulate warmth, infrared heaters use direct electromagnetic radiation to send heat directly to bodies and objects to maximize its energy use and your comfort.
No matter which type or style of patio heater you choose, ensure that it's kept on a level surface that's strong enough to hold it. Avoid placing any heater in areas with high winds or low-hanging tree branches and check manufacturer's manuals for other clearance requirements to combustibles and walls. Integrated product features like anti-tilt protection, auto shutoff and cool-touch glass help ensure your patio heater experience is safe and seamless.
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