During the spring and summer, we like to spend as much time as possible outside. But sometimes the nights and evenings can be too chilly to fully enjoy our backyard and outdoor living space. Fortunately for us, there are many options that can not only add warmth to those days that “look” warm and inviting, but can also provide hours of family activities and bonding. These options are outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and patio heaters.
Outdoor firepits and propane patio heaters range in style from a simple outdoor fireplace to those that add an elegant accent to an already classy backyard area. Whether you’re looking for a way to enhance your backyard with a cozy fire or to warm up your patio or deck, you can follow these tips on choosing the best outdoor heating solution for your family’s needs.
Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits
There’s nothing like a fire pit to provide countless hours of outdoor fun, family time, and s’mores! Overall, pool and patio firepits are relatively simple – they allow you to enjoy an open fire in your outdoor living spaces. That being said, there are a few important things to know.
The first thing to consider is what type of fuel you want to use in your fire pit – gas or wood. While wood is the preferred fuel because nothing compares to the smell and sound of a real campfire, some people may just want the heat without the fuss of starting and keeping a fire going.
Second, you need to find the fire pit that best goes along with the rest of your backyard decor. Fire pits come in a variety of different sizes and shapes as well as materials used to build them. As a fire pit fanatic, I recommend looking for a bowl that is built from weather-resistant materials such as copper, stainless steel, or iron. While they may be a bit more expensive, you are getting your money’s worth. The better the fire bowl is built, the longer it will last, and look good too!
Finally, make sure your fire pit has a sturdy cover. While it may seem silly to place a mesh fire screen in the pit while the fire is going, it very well may protect you and your home from jumping sparks as the fire crackles. Also available are off-season covers, to keep your grill clean and dry during times of non-use.
This is a good time to explain the difference between a firepit and fire bowls. Firebowls are usually placed in the corners of pools, or next to a spa. More for accent, less for heat, fire bowls are usually a concave concrete design, filled with river rock. Equipped with a gas line and connected to propane or natural gas source, fire bowls produce a small, adjustable flame. Firepits are a larger affair, not quite a bonfire, but enough to produce some heat and a cooking source.
Outdoor Fireplaces and Patio Heaters
There are many options to consider when shopping around for the perfect patio heater. To start, there are three different types of outdoor patio heaters: propane patio heaters, lamp-style heaters, and infrared heaters.
Propane Patio Heaters
Propane patio heaters are great for backyards and decks. Instead of having to worry about plugging them into an outlet, they are 100% self-sufficient. A propane tank is stored within the base and the heat is completely adjustable. These patio heaters are usually completely metal and are equipped with a safety shut-off – in case the heater ever gets tipped over.
Lamp-Style Patio Heaters
Instead of using propane, Lamp-Style Patio Heaters are powered by 1200 watt halogen light bulbs. All they require is a 120v grounded outlet! Like the propane heaters, they are also equipped with safety shut-offs. That being said, regardless of their height, they can both heat an area up to 12ft diameter – since they are powered by the same halogen bulbs. Lamp-style patio heaters usually consist of a resin body with a steel hood and feature weather-resistant hardware. These very stylish table heaters can add look and a feeling of warmth to your patio or deck.
Infrared Patio Heaters
Infrared patio heaters use infrared waves to directly heat the object or person that they are pointed at. They cost substantially less to operate than propane patio heaters and have no warm-up time. Acting much like an outdoor lamp, they can either be plugged into a 120v grounded outlet. They come in two different varieties: wall-mounted heaters and umbrella-mounted heaters. They require no gas or open flames and since they are permanently installed, you don’t have to worry about storing them when they’re not in use.
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