Setting up an outdoor heater can be an effective way to enjoy cooler weather outdoors – and natural gas appliances are perfect for this type of use. Unlike with electrical systems, there is no need to run wire to a circuit box or outlet, and many of these models are much safer than kerosene or oil-based heaters.
However, there are some tips for safety and success that we want to pass along to our customers. Here are some of the things we think you should consider when setting up one of these modern outdoor heating installations on a patio, as part of an outdoor grilling station, or anywhere else.
Set on Level Ground
It’s good to set a heat lamp or other outdoor heating element in a flat, level space without any obstacles or shifting elements like sand or gravel. That ensures that you won’t have some kind of tipping accident, or bump one of these standing installations over while in motion.
Set Away from Flammable Materials
It may be okay to locate a heat lamp near a stone wall or brick patio, but things like outdoor fabrics, blankets, and even vegetation should be kept at a distance.
It’s surprising how easy it is to forget this fundamental rule of outdoor heating, so we felt compelled to mention it. We’ve seen a couple of incidents that will go down in history as “near misses” where someone just didn’t think about locating heaters away from flammables. Most of these products have a warning sign to that effect, but it’s still worth reminding people about.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy
Although these outdoor fixtures are pretty safe, sometimes accidents can happen. Having a fire extinguisher or chemical suppressor can make a difference, and if you end up needing one of these items, having the resource is well worth the cost.
Check for Leaks
You’ll also want to check older infrastructure for gas leaks, to make sure that nothing is seeping out into the outdoors.
One way to do this is with a soap test, where you apply soap to the exterior. If you see it bubble, you know that there is some gas escaping somewhere.
Yes, these fixtures are outdoors, so you have a lower risk of fire damage than you have with indoor heating systems or natural gas appliances. But safety is still a great priority to have.