What Are Patio Heaters? And How Do They Work?

So you have a lovely patio to host parties and gatherings. But there’s one thing that stops you from doing so. It’s simply too cold to have a party outside. 

This was probably the situation before patio heaters were around. Nowadays, you see a lot of these outdoor heaters in restaurants that offer outdoor dining. But what exactly are patio heaters?

A patio heater is an appliance that radiates heat in an outdoor space. It comes in different forms and fuel types. Likewise, you can also find patio heaters powered electrically emitting infrared radiation. Either way, a patio heater provides warmth similar to what you get when you stay under the sunlight. 

Get to know more about patio heaters as we look closer into this highly functional and aesthetically pleasing device suitable for your outdoor space. 

What Are Patio Heaters? 

Patio heaters are exactly what their name suggests – a heating device for patios. The only thing is that you can use it not just on your patio but on your deck and all around your backyard as well. 

Simply put, you can use your patio heater in any outdoor space provided that it doesn’t pose any danger in the area. 

Likewise, patio heaters are sometimes called mushroom or umbrella heaters due to their form and the fact that they emit heat via a radiant heating method. 

One advantage of patio heaters is their ability to spread heat in the area. This means you don’t have to flock on one space the same way you do with fire pits making it a suitable device for gatherings, outdoor dining, or hangouts. 

Do Patio Heaters Keep You Warm? 

Yes, absolutely. Patio heaters are designed specifically to keep you warm. And we’re not just talking about providing heat for only one or two people. 

Patio heaters can provide heat to a group of people outdoors, depending on the size and form of the appliance. But of course, this depends on the type of heater you have. 

How Do Patio Heaters Work?

Patio heaters rely on radiant heating to provide warmth. Radiant heating is when heat travels through the air in multiple directions. 

Fuel-generated patio heaters derive the heat from open-air combustion while electrical patio heaters are set to reach a specific temperature to emit heat in the form of electromagnetic waves. 

With both types of patio heaters, the heat is released from multiple sections. Therefore, you can feel the warmth from a specific distance. 

However, the amount of heat distributed by the patio heater will ultimately depend on its BTUs.

But what exactly are BTUs?

So, BTU stands for British Therma Unit. It is used to measure the amount of energy required in heating one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Simply put, BTU represents the thermal energy needed to heat a space or item. 

In the context of patio heaters, the BTU capacity is the specification you need to check so you can get the heat coverage of the device.

For example, if your patio heater has an average output of 40,000 BTUs per hour, it should suffice to heat up an area with a circumference of 20 ft.

You can go for patio heaters with higher BTUs if you have a larger area. However, it could be a better choice to simply have two patio heaters with the same BTUs for safety and efficiency reasons.

Different Types of Patio Heaters 

Patio heaters typically come in three forms. They differ in design, capacity, and sometimes coverage. 

Free-standing Patio Heaters

The free-standing patio heater typically looks like a giant umbrella or mushroom that has four distinct parts.

First, you have the base that keeps the entire structure fixed on the ground. It also houses the tank for propane-fueled patio heaters.

Then you have the pole that supports the heat source. It is extended to ensure that the heat spreads out across the area.

The third part is the heat source or heater itself, responsible for naturally dispersing the heat.

And finally, you got the reflector. This component goes on top of the heater preventing upward heat loss by reflecting the heat back to the scope of the heater.

It’s easy to distinguish a free-standing patio heater not just due to its form but because it is pretty common in outdoor bars and dining areas.

Likewise, given the size of these patio heaters, you can expect free-standing patio heaters to have higher BTUs.

Tabletop Patio Heaters

If you’d like a patio heater that can also double as a table centerpiece, then surely the tabletop patio heater is something you can highly consider.

A tabletop patio heater is a smaller version of its free-standing counterpart in terms of crucial components. It can be powered by propane or electricity.

But aside from the size, there’s also the difference in terms of form and designs. Some tabletop patio heaters even work as lamps marking a three-point functionality.

Wall-mounted Patio Heaters

Not all patios and outdoor areas are spacious enough for a free-standing patio heater. So, as an alternative, you can go for the wall-mounted patio heater.

Simply install this heater on the wall or post of your patio using the bracket that comes with it. You can adjust the heat source by tilting the bracket.

Wall-mounted patio heaters produce infrared waves and thus, use electricity instead of fuel.

How Are Patio Heaters Powered?

Heat, as you know, is a by-product of energy use. The same principle applies to patio heaters. It needs to have a source of energy first before it could disperse the necessary heat to warm up the patio. 

In this sense, you can rely on three types of power sources required to operate patio heaters.

Natural Gas

Larger free-standing patio heaters sometimes use natural gas to generate higher BTUs and produce heat enough for a crowd. But this is only feasible if you have a natural gas outlet. 

The good thing about this power source is that the natural gas continues to flow once the heater is ignited. So you don’t have to think about sudden interruptions due to a sudden need for fuel replenishment. 

Propane

A typical home patio heater uses propane to supply the heat. It comes in a portable tank which is kept hidden in the base of both a free-standing and tabletop patio heater.

If you run out of propane, you simply take out the tank and exchange it for a filled one, usually in grocery stores or gas stations (if they are available).

Electricity

Electrical patio heaters are already making rounds in various homes. They are easier to install and operate as you simply plug in the heater. 

But of course, you need to take extra precautions as not to expose the electric patio heater to water or moisture. It could damage the device beyond repair. 

Do Patio Heaters Work in Winter? 

Yes, patio heaters work during winter. In fact, it can effectively combat the cold weather brought by the season, keeping you warm even outdoors. However, the amount of heat produced by the patio heater will naturally depend on its type and power source.

For example, electrical patio heaters tend to provide less warmth than propane heaters. This could be due to the limited energy produced by the electricity as opposed to the increased heat generated by propane. 

Nevertheless, you can rely on a patio heater to keep you warm. This allows you to spend more time outdoors instead of cocooning inside your home throughout the season, which isn’t exactly ideal. 

Will a Patio Heater Melt Snow?

Infrared heaters are known to melt snow. Since patio heaters use infrared, there’s a good chance that they can also melt some snow depending on the amount of heat they release and how much snow there is.

However, prolonging the heater to snow exposure can cause damage, so you also need to be careful and use good judgment when using the heater outdoors.

If you’re hoping this device is going to get you out of having to do snow removal duty, sorry but that’s probably not the case. You’re still going to have to shovel snow off your outdoor space.

Do Patio Heaters Work in the Wind? 

Yes, patio heaters can withstand steady wind in the open space. But if it exceeds 10 miles per hour, that’s the time you turn off your heater. 

High winds can potentially knock down your patio heater or significantly reduce its performance. Hence, keeping it on is simply futile. 

But if it only involves light to moderate wind speed, you can still make use of your patio heater, especially if it comes with tip-over protection. Still, even with a regular free-standing patio heater, the weight and form of the base can suffice and withstand wind strength. 

Can You Use Patio Heaters in the Rain? 

Yes, you can use your patio heaters to resist the cold of the rain, but only if it is well protected from the water. 

For example, if your patio has a working cover, you can place your heater inside and still hang out in the area while it’s pouring outside. With your heater around, you don’t have to worry too much about the cold. 

On the other hand, if you lack the necessary physical protection against the rain, it’s best not to expose your patio heater. Water can cause some damage to the device, especially with electrical patio heaters. 

And on the subject of protecting your patio, if you live in the Loveland, CO area you can easily have a patio cover installed by TNT Home Improvements. A patio cover can add aesthetics to your patio and keep the space functional even when it’s raining. 

Can You Put a Patio Heater on the Grass? 

No, it is highly recommended that you do not place your patio heater directly above the grass or lawn. This is to reinforce safety and protection while using the device.

Your lawn is usually not a stable surface that can support the entire patio heater. As a result, it opens up the risk of the free-standing or floor patio heater tipping over and then hitting the ground.

Nevertheless, if you’re adamant about placing your patio heater on the lawn, there is an apparent caveat. Just place it on a flat solid surface like bricks that will serve as a barrier between the base and the grass.

Can I Leave My Patio Heater Outside? 

Despite being an outdoor device, leaving your patio heater outside when not in use is not recommended.

If you do so, you will be exposing your patio heater to elements that can cause drastic deterioration, such as moisture.

Most patio heaters are made of durable materials. However, regardless of these materials, overexposure to factors that cause damage, such as corrosion, will reduce the longevity of your patio heater.

Moreover, it could even get worse with electrical patio heaters. Moisture can corrode wiring, which eventually leads to short-circuiting.

What Safety Measures Should I Consider When Using a Patio Heater? 

Using a patio heater is not necessarily complicated. As long as you follow the steps and keep it far from harm, you can enjoy a warm night with family and friends.

Nevertheless, it couldn’t hurt to take extra precautions when using a patio heater, so here are the tips you can follow.

  1. Keep the patio heater stable.
  2. Place the patio heater in an area free of a potential hazard. 
  3. Handle the fuel operation with care and according to the manual.
  4. Do not move the patio heater when it’s turned on. 
  5. Keep children from directly touching the patio heater.

How Close Can a Patio Heater Be to the Ceiling? 

Patio heaters should maintain about 2 to 3 feet of distance from the ceiling of the patio cover. However, this will still depend on your patio cover, the type of patio heater you have, and its BTU capacity. 

Naturally, patio heaters that have higher BTUs will need more space for heat circulation. 

Likewise, if you have pergolas for your patio covers, you get more ventilation as it has open spaces in between. This can be ideal for your larger patio heaters. 

On the other hand, you need to be extra careful with the vertical clearance if you have a solid patio cover, as the structure can be limiting when it comes to heat circulation.   

Can Electric Patio Heaters Be Used Indoors? 

There are electric patio heaters designed for both outdoor and indoor use. If that’s the case with your device, then you can safely use the heater indoors. 

However, if it’s not indicated in the product that you can actually use it in an enclosed space, it’s best to keep your electric patio heater outside. As a good safety measure, you should consider most patio heaters are designed to be used outdoors only.

It is imperative never to use a patio heater running on propane or natural gas indoors. This could cause some unfortunate consequences. 

These types of patio heaters are designed for well-ventilated open spaces to allow the free flow of gas. 

If you bring it inside a closed room, the gas may circulate in the air and affect the health of those around. 

For example, one of the gases it can generate during combustion is carbon monoxide. If humans inhale this gas, it can have severe medical consequences. 

Is the Patio Heater Worth It?

Yes, having a patio heater is worth it, especially if you’re into regular outdoor family bonding or social gathering. But even if you’re not, having a patio heater allows you to spend more time outdoors and enjoy the natural atmosphere. 

You can catch some daylight outside with a patio heater set up in the backyard or on your deck during the winter. That way, you can tolerate the cold while basking in vitamin D from the sun.

Naturally, a patio heater is not just useful during winter. It’s highly functional all throughout the year. You can hang out anytime outdoors without worrying about the cold. 

Summary 

Patio heaters are great additions to your outdoor space, deck, or patio. They provide warmth and encourage outdoor stay for you and your social group. 

So, the next time you’re thinking of reinventing your patio, consider getting a suitable patio heater. 

And if you are planning for a major patio or deck renovation, let TNT Home Improvements help you with everything you need for this project. 

If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit the home page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

What Are the Different Types of Patios?

What Are the Different Types of Patios?

A home with a patio is nothing less than attractive with a welcoming atmosphere. Patios are century-old outdoor areas that remain trendy. They are used for many functions such as dinner by the garden or simply for hanging out.

If you wish to add or renovate a patio in your yard, it is best to understand your different options. While people often assume that patios are all the same, architecture and exterior design enthusiasts can distinguish the patio designs and materials.

Fortunately, this knowledge can now be shared with many homeowners who desire to improve their patios. Here’s everything you need to know and more about the different types of patios.

Types of Patios

The different types of patios are generally based on the materials used for the surface. You can decide on the patio you want according to your preferred design, the size of the yard, and other factors.

In the meantime, check out your options for the different patio types.

1.      Clay Bricks

If you’re aiming for a patio that has a bit of a nostalgic streak or a historical feel, then clay bricks would probably suit your taste. 

Bricks, as a whole, can attain different designs, especially geometric ones. Additionally, clay bricks are known to last for a very long time. Think of existing clay bricks that dated as far as centuries ago. Hence, it’s a pretty impressive choice.

The downside, however, is that clay bricks can be pretty expensive. Nonetheless, you can opt for slightly less costly brick alternatives such as reclaimed bricks. Not only are they relatively cheaper, but they are also more environmentally friendly.

2.      Concrete

Concrete patios are cheap yet durable. You can also even out the concrete, giving it a clean and smooth surface.

Moreover, concrete patios last a lifetime provided that they are well-maintained. Plus, if damages are sustained, it doesn’t cost a lot of money for repairs.

Concrete patios can now be given a custom look with the use of a texture and pattern method called ‘stamped concrete’. In this way, the concrete can have a stone pattern ‘stamped’ into it and can even have color dies added to it to further enhance the look.

3.      Flagstone

If you go for flagstones, you’ll need professional assistance. Flagstones are classic patio surfaces that can look completely elegant depending on the design. They are thick slabs of stone that mostly come in irregular shapes.

However, they are unbelievably heavy. Hence, installing flagstones on your patio surface will need a few tools and manpower.

Flagstones will look gorgeous on your patio. But one of its drawbacks is how it absorbs heat during a scorching hot summer. Likewise, the flagstones can be slippery during rainy seasons, so you would need extra care when walking on the patio.

4.      Gravel

Patios don’t necessarily need to be even. Gravel can suffice if you’re more into the rustic atmosphere or just want to maximize the outdoor feels.

Aside from the fact that gravel is far less affordable than other patio surface materials, it can also be installed without too much labor. You can even design the patio yourself.

Moreover, gravel can allow the smooth drainage of water out of the patio when it’s raining.

5.      Patio Pavers

If you’re looking for a patio surface that is easy to install, then the patio pavers are your best choice. The patio pavers are designed to interlock with one another. Therefore, installing them in your yard can be a walk in the park, provided that you plan it well. You can do it yourself or with minimum help.

Another great thing about patio pavers is that they come with different choices. For example, you can choose a design that resembles wood or brick.

6.      Sand

Everyone loves the beach – or at least most people do. That’s why it’s not surprising to find homeowners that like to recreate the beach environment right in their backyard. To do so, they prefer adding sand on the patio to any other materials.

While sand can be ideal if you’re holding beach-themed parties or planning to install a pool, they can sometimes be a bit annoying.

One example is when it’s raining, and the patio becomes wet. You might find yourself dragging large portions of sands everywhere.

7.      Stone Slate

Stone slates are essentially stones cut in tiles. They are laid on the surface to create a more textured patio. This type of slate also allows you to be more creative and flexible in your patio design.

When it comes to the costs of this type of patio, it is generally based on the type of stone you want. For example, if you’re aiming for marble, prepare to spend a few bucks more. On the other hand, a more affordable option would be travertine.

8.      Tile

Tiles are an excellent patio surface choice. They provide a clean, comfortable texture that almost seems like an extension of the inner house.

Furthermore, you get a wide range of options for tile design, color, thickness, and materials used. Tiles are also affordable and can easily be installed with a breeze.

There is no doubt that the visual appeal of tile is off the charts. However, one of its drawbacks is that tiles can often become slippery when wet. And given that patios are exposed to rain outside, this would be inevitable.

What Type of Patio Is the Best?

Experts recommend stone tiles as the best patio option if you’re looking for a patio surface that guarantees longevity and style.

Stone slates or tiles provide enough friction to avoid any accidents during rainy seasons. Moreover, it gives a natural feel or texture that elevates the entire quality of the patio.

On the other hand, if you are on a tighter budget, a concrete patio could be the best patio type for you. Concrete patios are also durable and ideal for areas with changing weather. However, it will require a certain degree of maintenance to make sure that it remains stable.

What Is the Easiest Patio to Maintain?

The easiest patio to maintain is the concrete patio. Concrete, in general, requires low maintenance. The surface is even enough to have the wind sweep off debris from the garden. Likewise, damages are easily repaired without spending too much money.

What Type of Patio Lasts the Longest?

Patios with brick clays are known to last the longest. Bricks can last a century, as evident with structures we still see today constructed about 100 years ago. So, if that’s the direction you wish to take with your patio, then, by all means, go for the brick clay.

On the other hand, you can also go for patio pavers and stone slates. They can last for years and remain durable and resistant to any damages.  

What Is the Least Expensive Patio Material?

Concrete is probably the least expensive patio material. In addition, unlike other materials for patio surfaces, concrete is more widely available and accessible in the local hardware stores. Therefore, if you choose to go for concrete, you’ll save yourself the trouble of material shortage.

What Is the Average Size of Patio?

An average patio is about 16×18 feet in dimension. This size is good enough to entertain guests, host a small get-together, or just hang out outside for a bit. If you’re using your patio for larger events, naturally, you will have to allot more space.

How To Protect Your Patio From Harsh Weather?

Choosing the type of patio you like may not be enough. At some point, you will have to find a way to protect it from the damages caused by strong sunlight or heavy rain. An excellent way to protect your patio from harsh weather is by having professional builders install a patio cover like a shingled roof cover or a pergola.

The Bottom Line

When selecting the type of patio you want for your house, consider factors such as longevity, quality, price, and weather appropriateness. Consult with the experts if necessary.

If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form on our home page to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

Back Yard Fun During the Coronavirus -(COVID-19) DIY Construction Ideas

We are living in a very interesting time right now as the Coronavirus has the United States on lock-down. We are all adjusting to a new way of life full of homeschooling madness, zoom meeting shenanigans, and empty grocery store shelves.

Now is the time to get creative as we are stuck in our homes trying our best to not go stir crazy so in this article I’m going to share some ideas with you of some great at-home project ideas to make your backyard somewhere to go have an adventure.


Contents

Build a Pond in your Backyard

Here is a video that is really easy to follow that shows how you can build a pond in your back yard with just a couple of essential parts and then some imagination and sweat equity.

If you look on Amazon for a pond kit they can be anywhere from $100 up to $1000. During this hard time, I highly recommend calling a local business as I’m sure they could really use your business and I’m sure would be willing to do what it takes to earn your business and still stay safe. Whether that be shipping product to you or arrange a safe pickup.

It looks like the bare essentials are a skimmer/filter that sits at the lowest point of the pond to collect and clean the water. In that skimmer is a pump that pulls in water and pushes it through a hose up to a spillway container at the highest part of your pond that acts as a waterfall. Lastly, you need a pond liner so that after you dig a hole in your yard you can put a waterproof layer in it.


Build a Firepit in your Backyard

This is a great time-lapse video showing someone building a fire ring in the yard using bricks and a shovel.


Build a Bowling Alley in your Backyard

This project looks like a lot of fun using some really great low-tech ideas.


Build a Kitchen in your Backyard

Building an outdoor kitchen has always been a fan favorite and you can really save money by not only doing it yourself, but by using a grill you might already own.


Build a Hot Tub in your Backyard

The idea of just tongue and groove wood connections and water proof containers just do not mix in my mind but after watching this video I’m not only sold on the idea but definitely want to make one of these for my backyard.


Build a Swing in your Backyard

This lady does a great job of showing how to build this great porch swing with or without the porch. It’s got that great Adirondack feel to it with the nice seating curves.


Build a Putting Green for some Golf at Home. (or mini golf!)

This DIY putting green is one of those great projects that is full of ingenuity so that it’s not only fun to putt with but also is fun to retrieve the next ball. It’s fun because all you have to do is reach down with your putter and push down on a lever to get the next ball loaded up.


Build an Underground Bunker in your Backyard.

Maybe the idea of hiding a bunch of food in the ground is right up your alley. Or maybe just somewhere to hide in the backyard?

I hope these videos have sparked some ideas for you. If you want to talk to someone about how we can help you with any of your outdoor projects please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Call us at 970-663-2868 or click here to visit the contact page.

Want to Spend More Time Outdoors? Look into Deck Building in Fort Collins, CO

Outdoor living on a patio

Studies have shown spending time outdoors is good for our mental and physical health. One simple way to get outside more is to step out onto your deck. If your home does not have this incredible feature, look into deck building in Fort Collins, CO. Adding a deck (or improving your old one) offers homeowners the D.E.C.K.S. experience:

  • Design your own paradise: A deck is a customized feature that allows you to design your outdoor space to meet your personal needs. Have you always dreamed of having a hot tub? Include this in your design. Do you love gardening? Incorporate space for flower or vegetable pots in your deck. Do you love to host parties? Create great multi-tiered space for socializing. Whatever your outdoor paradise looks like, TNT Home improvements can make it a reality.
  • Experience nature: View beautiful sunrises or sunsets. Sit and watch the birds. Take in the other wildlife. Step out of your home and into a haven inside nature, yet conveniently attached to your home. A deck allows you to enjoy these sights and sounds of the exterior landscape without leaving the comforts of home a few feet away. A deck brings you to nature and nature to you.
  • Create new living space: Many homeowners would love to put an addition on their home. Often, space or cost are limiting factors of this dream. A deck is the perfect solution. It adds affordable living space and an attractive new feature to your home. Your square footage inside remains the same, but you have an extra “living room” out back! You get to enjoy expanded space without the high cost or hassle of a typical room addition.
  • Know your neighbors: A deck is the perfect space for entertaining. With this diverse space, you can host neighborhood barbeques, invite others over for a relaxing afternoon in the hot tub, or enjoy some s’mores roasted over your fire pit. Spending time on your deck will also increase the chances of encountering your neighbors while outside. In no time, you can get to know everyone on your block.
  • Soak up the sunshine: Spending all winter indoors can get depressing. Our vitamin D levels drop. Our energy droops. Our personal “solar power” gets depleted. A deck provides a great outdoor space to step out and soak up the sunshine. Due to its convenience, we can even get a little sunshine in the winter. Sit out on your deck for a few minutes each day to get fresh air and fresh perspective year round.

Your D.E.C.K.S. experience awaits

With so many advantages, you can’t afford not to consider deck building in Fort Collins, CO. Your deck will offer a convenient and affordable way to get outdoors. Spring and summer will be here before we know it, so look into this fantastic option today. Enhance your lifestyle, your home, your neighborhood and your personal health with this simple addition. The professionals at TNT Home Improvements are happy to help you design and construct the deck of your dreams. Start making the dream a reality today.