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Are Patio Heaters Meant To Be Left Outdoors?

Would you like to enjoy the warmth and comfort of your home from your favorite outdoor space? With a patio heater, you are free to comfortably and enjoy the outdoors year-round. 

Your patio heater can be left outdoors. Many types of patio heaters are designed for outdoor usage in all weather conditions, with some models being waterproof. However, a cover should be used in order to prevent any damage to the patio heater from natural elements. 

This article will answer some important questions related to how to take care of and maintain your patio heater. Some topics that will be covered include the purpose of patio heaters, different types of patio heaters, and some key safety practices. 

Caring for Your Patio Heater

If your planning to leave your patio heater outdoors in the rain, for example, it should be covered. Using a cover and moving the heater to a covered area will ensure that it is safe from debris that entering its inner workings and disrupting its functionality. offers a variety of heater covers that come in different colors and sizes. Ensure that the heater has been turned off, and it should allow enough time for the heater to cool down prior to covering it completely. 

With proper care, patio heaters can last at an average of 5,000 hours. The heater should be inspected prior to each usage. These are some things to look out for when checking your patio heater:

  •  Gas leaks
  •  Kinks in the fuel line

The gas leaks can be detected with a gas leak detection spray. The leaks or corrosion of any kind could prevent the fuel or electrical source from producing heat. 

Camco 10324 Gas Leak Detector with Sprayer – 8 oz

A kink in the fuel line could lead to low gas pressure. If you happened to miss the kink during the inspection, both could decrease the heat emissions, and low flames are warning signs that a kink is present. 

Storing Your Patio Heater

Precipitation and wind are two of the most destructive elements that your heater should be protected from. While covering your heater will properly provide shelter, moving the heater to a sheltered location is an excellent way to keep it completely safe from the elements. Whether  the patio heater is to be stored for a long or short period of time, it is important to cover your heater. 

Even in storage, your heater is susceptible to internal damage from dust, dirt, and water. For this reason, a cover for your patio heater can ensure that any unwanted moisture and harmful debris is kept out. 

If your heater is fueled by a propane tank, the tank must be disconnected from the heater prior to long-term storage. Additionally, the tank should be kept outdoors in an area with proper ventilation in order to avoid any damage. 

Different Types of Energy Sources: Gas

There are two types of gas that are compatible with patio heaters:

  • Natural Gas
  • Propane Gas

Natural gas heaters are among the least portable options that are available. Due to their attachment to a fixed gas line, a trained professional must install this type of fuel. However, fuel tanks do not need to be replaced frequently, making natural gas relatively inexpensive as a source of fuel. Compared to propane gas, natural gas is significantly more environmentally friendly.

Propane gas allows for the attached heater to be significantly more portable while compared to natural gas heaters. These tanks, however, must be replaced regularly, making propane a more expensive gas option. A trained professional is not required for the installation of propane gas tanks. 

And the important factor to keep in mind is when deciding which energy source will work best for you, You must consider what type of energy powers to your grill, for example. If you already own a grill that runs by natural gas, you may already be familiar with this fuel type, creating a smooth transition to the proper care that a natural gas patio heater would require. 

Different Types of Energy Sources: Heat

There are two types of heat that are compatible with patio heaters:

  • Electric Heat
  • Infrared Heat

Electric heat rarely requires professional installation and does not produce any emissions. Additionally, this type of heater will take no time at all to heat up. As long as there is a close electrical outlet, electric heaters are a relatively portable option. 

Infrared heat utilizes heat that is absorbed and slowly released into the air. Nearly 86% of this heat that is absorbed is then released as radiant heat. Some of the other common uses for infrared heat include usage is in airplanes (for de-icing purposes), industrial manufacturing (plastic welding and print drying), cooking (grilling and broiling), and convection oven replacements. 

Different Types of Styles

In addition to the type of energy used to power a patio heater, there are a few options when it comes to selecting the style that best fits your outdoor space.

Style Variations:

  • Standing 
  • Hanging
  • Tabletop
  • Mounted

Depending on the outdoor space in which you plan to place the heater, you may wish to explore the style options listed above in order to determine which will work best for you. 

Due to their freestanding nature, tabletop and standing heaters are the most portables. On the other hand, mounted and hanging style heaters are a permanently fixed option. 

Cleaning Your Patio Heater

The exterior of the heater should be the only part that is cleaned. A simple rule of thumb should be followed: if disassembly is required in order to reach a piece of the heater, it should not be cleaned. Prior to the cleaning process, make sure that the gas is turned off. Additionally, the gas should be completely disconnected from the heater. 

Covering your patio heater in the event of rain, high-speed wind, and snowfall, for example, can extend its lifespan. 

Common Uses for Patio Heaters

Aside from the usage in private outdoor spaces, patio heaters are popular for using in the outdoor spaces of bars and restaurants to provide heat to the surrounding area, allowing for individuals to enjoy the outdoors in the cooler evenings as well as the winter and fall months. 

The addition of patio heaters to bars and restaurants’ outdoor spaces has become a profitable strategy to encourage customers to enjoy fresh air, scenic views, and food and drinks in a properly heated environment. 

Freestanding heating units are among the most popular due to the fact that they can be moved to different areas depending on the location or size of your outdoor gathering. Let’s say that you are hosting a small outdoor dinner party one evening and a large pool party the next. One of the small tabletop heaters could be placed on one table for the dinner party and moved to another table where guests may stop briefly for refreshments at a large pool party.


Patio heaters can be left outdoors, but it should properly be covered. Different types of heaters require different maintenance. It’s important to understand what your heater requires to function correctly. For the life span of the patio heaters, it should be clean regularly. Ensure that only the exterior is cleaned as the heater’s interior is not designed for any soap and water that comes in. 

Some patio heaters are built to withstand some weather conditions. Use a cover to protect your heater from damage. Dirt and debris can otherwise travel into the heater’s inner-workings, which decreases its functionality over time.  


  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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