Patio Heater Safety
Patio heaters have been around for many years and today´s models have safety built in to keep everyone safe and as warm as toast.
As with all gas appliances it is best to follow a few safety rules:
Make sure there is sufficient clearance above and to the side of the burner and reflector. For height clearance ensure there is 50cm minimum clear above the reflector and 60cm clear to the side of the reflector. Keep the top and sides away from overhanging branches, wooden fences, awnings, umbrellas, PVC windows/doors and glass. Never place gas patio heaters under a parasol or umbrella. On breezy days check the clearance for any items that might blow into the reflector or become loose and touch the burner. The reflector will get very hot, leaving sufficient clearance will allow you to enjoy the garden without worrying over safety.
Keep all flammable materials or flammable vapour away when using patio heaters. Any tins of paint or preservatives lying around need to be put away and a visual check to ensure loose paper, plastic or anything that might ignite is tidied up before using. Never hang anything on patio heaters, bunting, flags, towels or hand made notices.
Proper ventilation is essential. Propane patio heaters are for outdoor use only, never use indoor or below ground level. The housing will have cut out vent holes, these ensure adequate ventilation, never cover-up any air ducts and check to make sure insects or debris is cleaned away.
Always use patio heaters on a level solid surface. Place on firm ground, most have ground fixers to secure to decking or concrete if needed. The use of wheels will makes patio heaters very portable and allow access to various location. Most good quality patio heaters will be fitted with a safety tilt switch, should it be moved when lit the tilt safety switch will cut off the gas supply. Always switch off patio heaters before moving and allow 20 minutes to cool down before attempting to move again.
Always check the patio heater after any long storage period each year for any loose fittings, worn parts including the hose and for any leaks. Between uses and when changing the gas cylinder periodically look for any signs of wear and tear.
Under normal windy days patio heaters with a full cylinder inside will not come to any harm. If storms or gale force winds are forecast avoid storm damage by moving to a sheltered location away from strong gusts of wind. If shelter is not available the reflector can be removed to reduce the risk of toppling over. Alternatively tie the top of the pole to a down pipe to secure the top of the patio heater.
Maintenance & Repairs
Regular maintenance is required to keep patio heaters in tip top condition. Hammered or painted patio heater models can be repainted by rubbing down any loose flaking paint, first use a rust proof primer and then spray or use a small brush to paint a top coat using outdoor paint for metals. Never paint the burner or reflector and leave all operating instruction in full view. Any moving parts, wheels, gas control knobs etc, will need a lubricate spray to keep in good working order. If not being used for long periods or put away in the winter use a patio heater cover to protect.
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