Outdoor living is a big part of the Australian culture, with outdoor spaces often an extension of our homes. However, once the cooler months of the year arrive, many of us close the doors and stay inside, forgetting all about our outdoor area. With the right outdoor heater, you can transform your cold outdoor space into the most cosy, welcoming area, regardless of the temperature.
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Consider your space
Before you rush out and purchase an outdoor heater, you need to understand what kind of area you are aiming to heat. Questions to ask yourself include:
• What type of area is to be heated? (e.g. a balcony, patio, sheltered deck, open space)
• How big is the area?
• How many people will you be entertaining?
• Will you be using the space all year round?
• Once you have established what you want to do in your outdoor space, it’s time to choose the most appropriate heater.
If you want to heat a relatively small area, the most suitable heater would be either an outdoor gas heater or heatstrips.
Outdoor gas heaters come range from those suited to tabletops to freestanding column and area heaters. These heaters easily moved around, and can be stored during warmer months. Because they run off gas, they are clean burning and offer fantastic, radiant heat.
Alternatively, you may wish to invest in electric heatstrips. Mounted on the ceiling, these discrete strips provide targeted warmth. The number of heatstrips you need will depend upon the size of the area you are heating. Running costs are low, particularly if you install timer controllers.
You may also wish to consider clear bistro blinds to seal in the heat, yet still allowing you to view your garden.
Nothing says ‘cosy’ more than a fireplace. When it comes to open areas, you have several options to choose from, all of them providing a focal point for your guests.
Chimeneas work like a potbelly stove and retain heat very well. Because the fire is contained, you eliminate ash and smoke that can sometimes occur with an open fire. There are a wide range of shapes and sizes available.
Fire pits provide a safe outdoor open fire experience. There are a great range of bowl shapes and sizes available, so you are sure to find one to suit your space. The only downside is you are more likely to experience smoke and ash blowing about, due to being vulnerable to the wind.
Wood heaters can be a great option, being both efficient and environmentally friendly. These heaters look great and provide good radiant heat with low emissions.
Regardless of the outdoor heater you choose, remember basic safety at all times.
• Ensure adequate fresh air can circulate
• Check the ground or surface below the heater is stable and level
• Remove all combustible materials from around and above the heater
• Supervise children at all times
• Keep pets away from heating devices
• Ensure your heater is serviced regularly
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating and storing.
A final word of advice is to check with your local Council regarding laws surrounding the use of outdoor fireplaces. Some Councils have rules associated with ‘smoke emissions’, so do your homework before you purchase.