Are Patio Heaters Dangerous

Patio heaters have become popular in recent years with their easy installation, excellent performance and attractive designs. However, they are not without risks as certain hazards can be dangerous to adults and children alike. The consequences of negligent use include burns or property damage that may cost thousands of dollars to repair.

The “are patio heaters safe on decks” is a question that many people have asked. The answer to the question is yes, as long as you take precautions.

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Outdoor eating places and residences that are decked up in comfy chairs and blankets with lovely patio heaters are featured in home décor publications. While this may seem to be a relaxing getaway, it is crucial to be aware that there are certain risks involved with it. 

Patio heaters are not very hazardous in and of themselves. However, the setting in which they are employed must be carefully selected. They may become quite harmful if not properly positioned or in well ventilated settings. 


Patio heaters and how to use them properly are discussed in this article. You’ll also learn about the hazards of patio heaters and how to avoid them by using them safely.


Contents Table of Contents

  • Patio Heaters and Their Hazards
  • Different Different types of heaters
  • Patio Heaters: How to Use Them Safely
  • Patio Heaters in a Safe Environment
  • Last Thoughts


Patio Heaters and Their Hazards

Patio heaters are fantastic additions to any outdoor space when the weather turns chilly, but they may be harmful if not utilized correctly. As a result, you must do thorough research to guarantee that you are using the equipment in the manner intended by the manufacturer.  

When utilizing a patio heater, keep the following in mind: 

  • They generate a lot of heat: Patio heaters are designed to generate a lot of heat since they are often used to warm up outside spaces. You must use care while operating with or near any big heater. The metal around the heater is incredibly hot and may badly burn someone who is not careful.

Objects in close proximity to the heater must also be watched. When you’re placing furniture or other ornamental items in your outside space, ensure sure there’s enough distance between them and the heater. This will aid in the prevention of accidents. 

  • Propane and natural gas both need ventilation: propane is used in most patio heaters. This is a highly flammable gas that may emit toxic fumes. Because propane is odorless and colorless, it’s impossible to tell whether you’re breathing dangerous gases that might kill you.  

Natural gas is used in certain patio heaters. If you pick this option, you must be satisfied with the heater’s position since it will not be readily relocated and will almost certainly need the installation of additional gas lines. 


  • When patio heaters are pushed over, they may be dangerous: Anti-tipping devices are incorporated into most patio heaters to keep them from tipping over and hurting people or causing property damage. While these safeguards are in place, if the patio heater is placed in an area where heavy winds are likely, it might easily tilt. As a result, the heaters should only be used in regions shielded from strong winds. There are also various methods for preventing your patio heater from overturning. 

While the wind might affect the stability of the heater, it can also represent a substantial fire danger. If you attempt to use a patio heater while it’s windy, the flame might blow out and do serious harm. Although there are safety measures to keep anyone from touching the flame, they are unlikely to hold up against a strong wind. 

  • Choose your location intelligently while using these heaters: The most important factor to consider when utilizing a patio heater is the location. To be safe, a patio heater should be used outdoors or in a well-ventilated location. They may emit toxic fumes into the atmosphere. Using them anywhere else than this might put you in danger. 

When using a patio heater, it’s also crucial to be aware of what’s in the immediate vicinity. If your patio has a cloth awning or other combustible materials nearby, you’ll want to reconsider where you put the heater. A simple change in location may help prevent a fire from beginning. 

Considerations in Patio Heater Selection

There are several patio heater alternatives, but sorting through them all to select the safest type may be difficult. While all patio heaters may be safe when used correctly, there are several things you should check for before bringing one home, such as:

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  • When and where you will use the heater should be considered. If you only use the heater a few times a year, it’s doubtful that you’ll want to spend a lot of money on a commercial-grade heater. If you expect to use the heater regularly, investing in a high-quality equipment will be worthwhile. If you have a vast space, one large heater or many smaller heaters would suffice. However, be sure your room can securely contain more than one heater. 
  • Outdoor living areas are usually designed with certain components. The usage of an outdoor heater may complement or detract from such designs. When it comes to design, you want to pick a heater that complements your style. A focal point in a backyard sanctuary might be an outdoor heater. 
  • Weather: When selecting an outdoor heater, keep the weather in mind. Despite the fact that outdoor heaters are designed to survive the environment, they will not function in all weather conditions. If you reside in a windy area, for example, an open fire pit may not be the greatest choice due to the little usage you will get out of it. 
  • Your choice may also be influenced by the heater’s fuel supply. If you live in an area where open flames are prohibited, you may need to concentrate on cleaner alternatives like propane and natural gas. The amount of money you’re prepared to spend on fuel for your outdoor heater will also play a role in this selection. 

Different Different types of heaters

When it comes to patio heaters, there are many various sizes and models to choose from. It would be beneficial if you choose a patio heater that is designed for the location where it will be used. Along with the various sizes and designs come certain risks that you should be aware of before making a decision.

The following diagram depicts the various kinds of patio heaters and their associated risks:

Heater Types Dangers
Free-standing In strong wind scenarios or if they are not set on a firm platform, they are prone to toppling. When utilized on a covered patio, clearance may be a difficulty. Fresh air ventilation is required. Heat dispersion is influenced by wind. 
Tabletop If the table is knocked, it might topple. Because the heater is near people, extreme vigilance is required to guarantee that no one touches it. Heat dispersion is influenced by wind.
Mounted To provide sufficient distance from combustible items, it must be placed by an expert. Because they only provide spot heat, numerous are required to heat a big area.

How Do Patio Heaters Get Their Energy?

The most popular fuel for patio heaters is propane. Some heaters, however, utilize both power and wood. There are advantages and disadvantages to each alternative, as well as safety considerations to consider. 

The benefits and downsides of each patio heater fuel are shown in the chart below:

Fuel Type Pros Cons
Propane High temperatures Heating up quickly It’s simple to use. Mess-free and simple Operating costs are high. Because of the high heat sensitivity, it may be harmful. Leaking propane may be quite dangerous.
Electric Convenient With the flick of a switch, it comes on. Waves of heat Environmentally friendly In high-wind scenarios, it’s safe. To install effectively, you’ll need to employ an expert. Without many installed, it may not be possible to heat a huge area.
Wood Inexpensive Beautiful in appearance There’s no risk of it toppling over. Can result in smoke and odor The open flame might be hazardous to children and pets. Blowing flames may be a significant problem in the wind. Sparks and ash might start a fire or inflict burns to your house and furnishings.

There are many ways to fuel patio heaters, and the ideal one for you will depend on your circumstances and the place where you want to use the warmer. If you have young children or pets, you’ll want to find a safe choice that doesn’t use open flames or pose a high danger of tipping. 

Natural Gas vs. Propane as a Fuel

Patio heaters may run on a variety of fuels. Natural gas or propane may be used to power most of them. There are a few factors to keep in mind while utilizing these two fuel types safely:

  • Propane is often supplied in a tank near your house or connected to your patio heater. Remember that propane is a highly combustible and pressurized gas while utilizing it. When igniting or relocating the patio heater, proceed with care.  

Because propane is a colorless gas, detecting a tank leak is difficult. It is possible to die if you are exposed to high amounts of propane gas vapors. If you breathe it in, it will suffocate you because it will displace the oxygen in your lungs. While this is exceedingly uncommon in an outdoor setting, it is something to consider. 

  • Natural gas is the fuel of choice for many patio heaters. Because lines must be connected to the equipment, a natural gas patio heater is most usually immobile. While the patio heater’s permanent nature is enticing, natural gas comes with its own set of difficulties and risks.

Because natural gas is odorless and colorless, leaks that go unnoticed may be fatal. When a leak occurs, most gas providers add an additive to the natural gas supply that emits a sulfur-like stench. You may not notice a gas leak if the heater is outside with fresh air. Another issue with a gas leak is the possibility of an explosion. 

While the dangers of both fuel types are terrifying, you shouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying the benefits of a patio heater. Knowing the dangers and thoroughly inspecting your heater to verify everything is in functioning order can help you avoid them. 

What is the safest patio heater?

It might be daunting to consider all of the many types and sizes of patio heaters, particularly if you are concerned about safety. There are several factors to consider, and you may be unsure whether sort of fuel or brand of patio heater is the safest for your family.

Any equipment that emits heat, whether by an open flame, infrared waves, or radiant heat, has a set of dangers, including property damage, injury, and fire. If the heater is operated properly, you are unlikely to suffer any of these dangers. However, there is always the possibility of an accident. 

Electric patio heaters are likely the safest choice when all variables are considered. Because of its installation, power, and control, an electric patio heater is likely to be the safest. 

  • When you purchase an electric patio heater, you will need to contact a professional electrician to install it. The technician will measure the distance surrounding the heater during installation to ensure it is safely away from any possible fire hazards. 

The installer will also be able to ensure that it is correctly grounded and placed in an area that is protected from severe weather occurrences that might compromise the heater’s safety. Not to mention that the installation will be able to assess the ideal location for the heater to guarantee that you get the most out of it. 

  • Electric heaters are more reliant on electricity and may not operate if the power goes out, but you have more control over an electric heater than you have with a wood or gas burner.

If the heater has to be turned off, just flick the switch to turn it off. If you’re using wood or gas, the process of halting may take a little longer, which might result in harm or damage.

  • Control: It’s critical to be able to control an object that offers a possible safety concern at all times while you’re looking at it. With an electric heater, you may quickly and simply turn off all power sources to the heater. 

Patio Heaters: How to Use Them Safely

Patio heaters may create a wonderful ambience in any outdoor location, but they must be used carefully to get the desired effect.  

Here are some guidelines for properly utilizing your patio heater:

  • Ascertain that the environment is well ventilated.  
  • Never use an outside heater inside. 
  • Keep dogs and children away from patio heaters at all times.
  • Keep the heater away from anything combustible. 
  • Wall mounted heaters should be installed by a professional. 
  • Regularly inspect your patio heater, particularly the fuel connections. 

You will most likely be able to enjoy your patio heater for many years if you operate it safely. 

Patio Heaters in a Safe Environment

When you buy a patio heater, you may expect it to be useful in other parts of your house. While this would be ideal, it is possible that this will not be the case. Patio heaters are designed for use outside and should never be used within, even if the garage door is open. 

Here are some areas where a patio heater may be used safely:

  • An open-air patio, as the name indicates, is an excellent site for using your patio heater. Because an open-air patio allows for plenty of ventilation and circulation, your patio heater will likely perform optimally. 
  • Covered Patio: In a covered patio with open sides, you may securely use a patio heater. Because you have a covering, you will need to account for the amount of space above your patio heater. If you’re using a standing patio heater, ensure sure it’s not too near to the covering, since this might present a fire hazard. 
  • Open Porch: If your house has a deck, you can use a patio heater safely, but be sure it isn’t too near to anything that may catch fire. 

Patio heaters need fresh air ventilation from the outside. You might wind yourself in a perilous scenario if sufficient ventilation is not supplied. Because propane is odorless and colorless, you may not realize you’re in a hazardous scenario until it’s too late. 

Last Thoughts

Patio heaters are a terrific addition to any outdoor living area, and they may also serve as an attractive focal point. However, before installing any patio heater in your outdoor living area, make sure it is the right size for your space. 

Patio heaters are, in general, a safe addition to your outside area. If the manufacturer’s installation instructions are followed, you should be able to enjoy your new heater for many years.  


In some cases, patio heaters can be dangerous for pets. There are a few ways to keep your pet safe from the heat of your outdoor heater. Reference: safe outdoor heater for pets.

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