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Different Types Of Gas Patio Heaters


Gas patio heaters can be manufactured to operate on propane, butane or natural gas. Before connecting for the first time check the manufacturers instructions taking note on the type of fuel applicable. Some patio heaters are designed for single fuel use, others will be duel fuel designed. If a LPG regulator has been supplied with the patio heater refer to the instructions for the LPG regulator and select the right type of LPG cylinder to match the regulator supplied. Regulators are manufactured to fit specific types of LPG cylinders and must marry with the correct cylinder. The differences between the fuel types are:

Propane LPG

Patio heaters manufactured to run on propane will be calibrated to accept propane gas pressure of 37mbar. For all year round use propane is recommended. Patio heaters supplied with a propane regulator can be either a clip-on type or screw-on fitting. The easiest to use are clip-on propane regulators, these simply push on to the LPG cylinder, a lever turns the LPG gas supply on. Patio heaters supplied with a screw-on propane regulator require a cylinder spanner to tighten and have a reverse screw tread fitting.

Butane LPG

Patio heaters manufactured to run on butane will be calibrated to accept butane gas pressure of 28mbar. Using butane will run OK in summer and autumn but for winter or on very cold days propane is the only viable option.
Both Propane and Butane are LPG - Liquid Petroleum Gas. Gas is drawn off from the cylinder and liquid converts back into gas. With butane the liquid cools down causing the rate of change from liquid to gas to slow down. This effect is particularly marked for patio heaters running on butane which will not convert from liquid to a gas below 0° C.  On a cold day or if the burner is turned on high, the liquid will become cold and deliver low amounts of gas. In most cases it will eventually freeze the butane regulator causing the patio heater's burner to stop working. Butane works best on low pressure domestic appliances indoors or on an outdoor appliance in the summer and autumn months only. Propane will continue to turn from liquid to gas at much lower temperatures than butane and will yield full pressure of gas even on very cold days and nights.

Natural Gas

Depending on the country of use natural gas patio heaters will be calibrated to run on the applicable mbar rating of the country. Never connect a patio heater designed to run on either propane or butane to natural gas. Before connecting a natural gas patio heater in the UK consult with a Gas Safe Registered registered fitter.

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