Are Patio Heaters Safe?

3 min read

When it comes to safety, some patio heaters are safer than others. Let's take a look at different types of patio heaters and compare their safety.

Before we dive in, it's worth mentioning that patio heaters are generally safe if installed and used according to instructions.

All quality patio heaters are certified by various safety agencies. This means that they have been tested and met safety and performance standards in your country. In the US these safety agencies include ETL, UL, and CSA. 

Now, let's examine potential safety concerns when it comes to patio heaters.


Patio Heaters Safety Concerns

1. Starting a Fire

Gas patio heaters use actual flame to produce the heat. This makes them more dangerous than electric heaters when it comes to starting a fire. However, there are safety mechanisms that prevent this from happening.

2. Gas Leaks

When you are dealing with gas, gas leaks are always a possibility. You need to make sure that installation is done properly and all the connections are tested for leaks. Gas leaks caused by the flame being blown off by a wind are prevented with safety mechanisms. 

3. Negative Impact on Air Quality

Air pollution happens with any combustion which is why this safety concern applies to gas patio heaters as well. Overall, burning gas produces much less air pollutants than burning wood, so you are safe here. However, you have to be mindful when installing gas patio heaters indoors. Most gas patio heaters are only designed for outdoor use. Some models that are allowed to be installed in enclosed patios require venting them out.

As you see, all three are valid safety concerns and all of them apply to gas patio heaters.  Luckily, most patio heater manufacturers have already thought about these concerns and equipped their patio heaters with safety features to prevent them. We'll discuss these safety features in just a little bit. 

In the meantime, if you are looking for the safest patio heater possible, choose electric patio heaters.


Safety Benefits of Electric Patio Heaters 

1. No Danger of Fire

Electric patio heaters don't actually produce any flame inside which makes them less dangerous than gas when it comes to starting a fire. 

2. No Gas Leaks

Electric patio heaters don't use gas, they only use electricity to create the heat. No gas = no gas leaks.

3. No negative impact on Air Quality

Electric patio heaters do not produce any emissions into the air because there is no combustion going on inside of them.

As you see, electric patio heaters are much safer than gas. If safety is a real concern, you might consider choosing an electric heater over a gas one.

Now, let's examine safety features of gas patio heaters that make these heaters safe for your home and business. 


Gas Patio Heaters Safety Features

1. Anti-tilt Switch 

Safety tilt switch turns the heater off in case it gets knocked down. It is commonly used in free standing gas patio heaters. 

2. Flame Sensors and Re-ignition System

Flame sensors detect when the flames goes out and try to re-ignite it. If the burner doesn't restart, the system will shut off gas supply.

These two systems take care of the two main safety concerns of gas patio heaters, danger of fire and gas leaks. There are things you can do to prevent gas leaks, like proper installation and inspections. As we determined, air quality is not a real concern unless gas heaters are installed indoors. In that case, proper venting will solve the issue.


Key Takeaways

1. Patio heaters are safe when installed and used according to instructions.

2. Electric patio heaters are safer than gas patio heaters.

3. Gas patio heaters have safety features that make them safer.

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