Propane pedestal heaters could be the next sold-out item on the pandemic era store shelves this year, earning its spot among toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and cleaning products.

The fall weather is here with colder temperatures on the way, and homeowners and restaurant owners alike are looking for ways to prolong time outdoors as we continue to battle COVID-19. Enter the propane pedestal heater. The heat generated from these heaters allows for warmth during the cold days, so people can enjoy more outdoor dining and time on their own patios in their yards.

The propane patio heater offers a nice alternative to the traditional fire pit. The temperature is easier to control and the risk of fire is lower. Fire pits can burn hot, produce a lot of smoke, and accumulate ash and embers. The propane patio heater is controlled by a simple on and off switch.

Wayfair.com has reportedly seen a huge increase in online searches for outdoor heaters, up 70% compared to this time last year. While retailers enjoy record-breaking sales and searches for heaters by consumers and manufacturers scramble to keep up with demand, it is important to remember to use these propane heaters safely.

Propane Pedestal Heater Safety Tips:

  • Remember that propane pedestal heaters are for outdoor use only. They should not be used in a confined space, or under a tent or canopy.
  • The portable propane heater uses a propane tank in the base. A 20 lb propane tank contains approximately 430,000 BTUs of liquid propane. A standard patio heater uses 40,000 BTUs per hour, so the propane tank will last approximately 10.75 hours per tank. Always ensure the propane tank is properly closed and stored in an upright position, away from combustible materials, away from direct sunlight, and in a well-ventilated area, preferably a detached garage or shed.
  • Choose the right heater for your space. A typical standard size portable propane heater averages 40,000 BTUs, heating a space of approximately 20 feet in diameter. For the average homeowner, one heater is usually enough to warm you up on those chilly nights outside. If you have a large space or are looking to use a portable propane heater for commercial use, you can do some math to find out the right number of heaters needed for your space. In order to find out how many BTUs needed to heat your space adequately, multiply the cubic footage of your location by how many degrees you want to raise the temperature. If you have a 10,000 cubic foot space and you want to raise the temperature 15 degrees, you will need 150,000 BTUs. It is important to remember to keep the proper spacing between your portable propane heaters. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for more specific details.
  • Buy wisely. Be sure your heater is commercially rated. Look for a CSA Safety rated product. The CSA Safety rating indicates the product has passed certification for safety by an independent third party.
  • Shop for a heater with a thermocouple, which shuts off the gas if the flame goes out, due to high winds or other factors.
  • Keep a clearance both vertically and horizontally from the heater when in use.
  • Secure the heater to prevent it from tilting. Many models include an auto shut off if the heater tips over. Look for this feature, especially if you live in an area that is prone to high winds.
  • Cover your heater when it is not in use. This keeps it clean and free of dust and debris that could accumulate.
  • Always store the heater in a secure spot when it is not in use. The heater should not be left outside and exposed to the elements when not in use. Rain, sleet, and snow could damage the heater and prevent it from working properly.
  • Read directions and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and storage of your heater.

Practicing fire safety with your propane pedestal heater will allow you to enjoy your fall and winter outdoors with peace of mind. For more fire safety tips, please visit our website or nfpa.org for more.

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