Electric patio heaters are one of the lower risk styles of patio heaters. Many homeowners prefer them over their gas counterparts to avoid any dangers associated with gas powered heaters.
Electric patio heaters also come with the perk of being able to be mounted in various positions.
Whether you want one under a patio, gazebo or even ceiling, many electric patio heater models can accomplish this.
But sometimes, since outdoor electric patio heaters are so effective and efficient, homeowners wonder if they can use them indoors, especially during times of heating outages or extra cold days.
Can electric patio heaters be used indoors? Yes, some electric outdoor heaters can be used indoors, some are even made to be indoor/outdoor. But there are still some precautions for ensuring safety.
Propane or gas-fueled patio heaters are constructed specifically to be outdoors and also pose risks with carbon monoxide levels.
Electric patio heaters, on the other hand, work similarly to other heating devices in the home and pose fewer risks when used indoors with some models built for overnight use.
Using Electric Patio Heaters Indoors
Electric patio heaters can be a great way to heat up a screened-in porch or patio. They are a popular choice for bar patios during the colder months to allow people to continue enjoying the outdoors.
There are a few precautions, however, to ensure an electric patio heater indoors remains safe:
- Never leave the heater unattended, even if only for a few brief moments. If the patio heaters fall or become dismounted, the potential for fire increases drastically, but being nearby can almost completely eliminate this danger.
- Follow the heaters recommended distancing for nearby objects, especially for flammable materials like carpets or chairs. A common distancing protocol is around 400mm from the ceiling and walls.
- Keep away from water and liquids. While many models are built to increase their waterproof ability, it’s still not a good idea to mix the two.
- Turn off when not in use. This is especially easy to do with electric patio heaters that have a simple on/off switch for saving electricity
If your intention is to bring an electric patio heater completely indoors to your home, say a kitchen or living room, then it would be recommended to at least use a patio heater stand.
This will allow you to better position your electric patio heater and keep it away from walls, ceilings and floors.
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How Do Electric Patio Heaters Work?
Electric patio heaters give off an infrared short wavelength from their light bulbs that travel through the air and heat the object in front of them.
What makes them so effective is that they don’t warm the air, the heat simply travels through it.
They warm the objects that the short waves come in contact with.
It’s very similar to how the sun works, just on a significantly smaller scale. Electric patio heaters and the sun share many of the same principles, which is why they can be effective in the winter.
This again is what gives them an advantage, as even on windy days some of the best electric patio heaters can be effective at warming your up outdoors. They also begin to work almost instantaneously once turned on.
Can Outdoor Gas Patio Heaters Be Used Indoors?
There are several safety concerns with gas patio heaters being used indoors.
The main one being that their heat is produced from combustion. This means they give off pollutants that can be harmful to your health and the environment, such as:
- carbon monoxide (CO)
- nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
When gas-powered patio heaters are used indoors they may be too powerful for the size of the room they are in.
Gas powered patio heaters are also more prone to wear and tear.
This means that if you aren’t properly inspecting and maintaining one, or if one malfunction, the risk for pollutants that can harm your health increases along with other safety concerns.
Below is an example of a smaller sized prone heater that passes the test from the fire department when used in an RV.
This is just an example of a small gas powered propane heater being used within the small space of an RV.
It is recommended, however, that an electric model patio heater be used indoors when it’s possible to do so to minimize any risks with indoor patio heating.
Electric patio heaters have a lot of advantages over gas-powered patio heaters.
When choosing a patio heater make sure you get the right one for the right space.
Electric patio heaters are efficient at heating outdoors and are a favourite choice for any sort of partial indoor heating like patios or gazebos.
Avoid using gas powered heaters when indoors or even partially indoors, especially if the option for an electric model is available.
This way, you can focus on what’s really important, sitting back and relaxing.