What Heaters Are Safe to Leave On Overnight?

Outdoor heaters are an ideal way to heat an area of the outdoors that you might like to enjoy socializing in but find it gets too cold, especially in the colder months of the year.

You may also find yourself using an outdoor heater inside your home during the really cold times, and this can be done safely with certain models.

Sometimes we can use an outdoor heater to keep areas of the garden from frosting over, maybe because you have wildlife you want to protect or delicate flowers that would be destroyed in the colder temperatures.

But which heaters are safe to leave on overnight? All electric heaters are safe to leave on overnight providing they have an anti-tip shutoff, a timed thermostat, or protection from tipping over. You should never leave a log burning heater unattended for even a minimal amount of time.

Leaving a heater on all night will of course increase your associated fuel source cost. There are also other safety concerns to be aware of, and different models/fuel sources have their own pros and cons.

Heating element of a infra-red heating unit

Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Halogen and Infrared Heaters?

Which heater is more efficient for outdoor use?

During the colder months, a patio heater is an excellent option for any garden, the problem is which one to choose when it comes to the most efficient. Outdoor heaters come in 3 different fuel types, electric, gas, and wood. 


The wood option is the cheapest when it comes to fuelling your heat but can only give up to an hour of heat before having to replace the wood.

Wood burners can be the greenest option providing the timber is sourced from areas of replantation.


Gas heaters are the more traditional option but can be very costly if lit for a long time, they produce CO2 and have a tendency to lose a lot of heat instantly due to the nature of the filament area. 

You would have to check your local supplier to figure out the cost per hour for a gas burner, but you also need to take into account the cost of hiring the gas canister and transportation.


An electric heater is an ideal solution for those that have a power socket near to their heater but it is not the most efficient way of heating your garden area, and can actually cost quite a lot when left for a couple of hours or overnight.

Electric heaters have become a lot more efficient over the years and can be better if the heater is filled with oil or water. They produce a minimal amount of CO2 and are clean for the environment.

This type of heater radiates heat and therefore heat up a greater area in a quick and effective time. They use an element or reflective panel, this means you dont even to ignite them, in fact, all you have to do is plug them in and turn them on.

Things to remember when using an outdoor heater

When using an outdoor heater you should always use great caution and read the manufacturer’s guidelines, located with your purchase.

You should always make sure that your heater is in a well-ventilated area, especially if you are using a wood burner or a gas heater. These particular heaters give off poisonous life-threatening gases, including CO2. 

When using an electric outdoor heater you should make sure that the electric cable is covered or taped down to a firm surface, this will help avert any tripping hazards.

Electric heaters should be checked for anti-tip mechanisms and/or chained or fixed to an immovable object to help keep the heater in the upright position.

And while electric heaters can cost less to run, it’s easy to forget about turning them off and waste a bunch of electricity.

Heaters will become very hot especially around the flame or elements, make sure to never leave your heater in an unattended manner and cordon off the heater if there are small children and/or pets in the area.

If using a fire pit or wood burner you should never put anything into the flame other than what the burner is intended for.

Wood, paper, card, and chippings are all ok to use as fuel but never put in aerosols, plastics, electronics, or anything else that could cause serious injury or toxicity.

Never leave an electric heater out if there is any wet weather forecast, electric heaters should never be operated in wet conditions.

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How can I protect my outdoor heater?

Outdoor heaters need to withstand very high temperatures, to be able to do this they are mainly made from metal. This helps with the rigidity of the heater and the conductivity of the heat.

Unfortunately, metal is prone to rust, deterioration, and rotting, but this can be avoided by taking care of your heater.

You should always bring your heater indoors or pack away into storage during the more adverse times of the year, making sure that you store your heater in a dry, damp proofed area.

Make sure to detach any propane or gas canisters and store them away in an area that is out of reach to children. You should also make sure that they are not going to be in any direct sunlight, a high cupboard or garage shelf is ideal.

If storing your outdoor heater is not an option you can buy a heater cover, but beware you should let the heater cool down before putting the cover on as this will damage the heater and the cover.

If you happen to live in an area where you dont get adverse weather you should still make sure to clean and maintain your heater every year.

To clean your heater, if electric, you should first make sure to disconnect it from the main supply. You can then use a steel/wire brush and detergent or a pressure washer to get rid of any baked on grime or dirt.

Whilst maintaining your heater if you do come across any defects or damage you should contact the manufacturer to check if they can repair under warranty or find you a specialist who can come and repair it.

Continue Reading: Is It Safe to Sleep With A Propane Heater? [ANSWERED]


There is a great number of reasons why you may want to leave your outdoor heater on overnight and providing you have an electric one you shouldn’t have any problems.

Make sure to check that your heater is fitted with the safety mechanisms mentioned earlier and remember to store your heater in the appropriate manner when not in use, this will guarantee that you can use your outdoor heater for many more years to come.