When the weather drops, we don’t always want to shelter inside. Portable, outdoor gas-fired heaters – known as patio heaters – are increasingly popular for use at home and in outdoor seating areas for restaurants. While the heaters offer comfort for many hours, using them does involve some risks. If you make use of a patio heater, take a look at how to keep safe this winter.
Patio heaters are not designed to radiate intense heat over long distances. Instead, they heat nearby objects and people. If your heater is located too close to certain materials, it can quickly become a fire hazard. It is best to keep patio heaters away from flammable materials, such as planters, potted plants, tree limbs, hanging vines, as well as propane tanks used for grills or lighter fluid. Keep these items at least three feet away from the heater at all times.
- Maintain at least five feet from any building and all areas of entry and exit.
- Keep the heater on stable ground. Avoid placing it on uneven ground or on a slope. Consider adding sandbags or other weights to keep the base stable.
- Never use it indoors because of the carbon monoxide poisoning risk.
- Do not operate the heater in strong winds.
- Do not place it on a balcony because of the risk of tip over and ignition of materials.
Patio heaters come in a variety of fuel types, all of which have their own benefits and drawbacks when it comes to operational safety. Propane and natural gas are the two most common fuel types for upright patio heaters. Because of the combustible nature of gas, you must take precautions when handling tanks to minimize leaks and damage.
- Check that the fuel gas container is certified and approved.
- Wait to replace the fuel containers when other people are not present.
- Store fuel containers outside of buildings, away from doors, stairways, and windows.
- After changing over gas tanks, check valves and hoses for leaks by applying soapy water to the components and checking for air bubbles.
- Patio heaters should only be used by responsible adults. Keep pets and children away from the heater.
- The heater should never be left unattended. If the party is moving indoors, turn the heater off, even if you plan on coming back outside later.
- Never move the patio heater while the flame is open.
- Avoid moving the patio heater on your own. Ask for help to prevent injuries.
These tips will help you to stay safe when using a patio heater to stay warm this winter. To help protect you further, be sure to secure the right home coverage for your needs and property. At CAV Insurance in Wellesley, MA, we work with companies like Chubb who offer a broad range of protection to help keep your home and family safe with reliable homeowners insurance. Contact us on 781-237-4107 to get started.