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Are Patio Heaters Safe on Decks? (Wood, Composite, & Covered)

Are Patio Heaters Safe on Decks? (Wood, Composite, & Covered)

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A patio is a great place to sit back and relax. You have enough space to enjoy family gatherings, play with your kids, or host a barbecue.

Unfortunately, it’s only convenient at specific times of the year—mostly warm seasons. After all, no one wants to sit on a patio in the freezing cold.

That’s where patio heaters come in. I know what you’re thinking: Are patio heaters safe on decks? After all, most decks are made from wood.

Well, that’s the question I aim to explore today. So let’s get right to it!

Can You Put a Patio Heater on a Wooden Deck?

Yes, patio heaters are perfectly safe to use on wooden decks. However, the answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no.

There are several factors to consider.

Safety Precautions

Remember, wood is a flammable material. So, some local authorities prohibit installing patio heaters on wooden decks for safety measures.

Before installing your unit, I recommend checking any rules or regulations in your area against this action. Additionally, you should read the user manual.

Remember, different patios require different environmental circumstances. The manual would offer helpful insights on providing the ideal conditions for the heater to function properly.

Potential Weather Damage

In most cases, you’d use your heater in cold seasons. That leaves it susceptible to rain and snow.

Not all manufacturers build their patio heaters with waterproof materials. Covering your unit protects it from potential damage that extreme weather can cause.

Not only does this prolong its lifespan, but it also prevents malfunctions that can potentially start fire hazards.

That said, covering your heater isn’t the only way to protect it from malfunctioning. Consider cleaning it every few months to keep it functioning properly and avoid potential fires.

Remove Flammable Materials

This one’s a no-brainer. Not all units produce heat over long distances. so you might be inclined to keep your heater close.

However, you should at least keep any combustible materials three feet away from your heater. This includes plants, grass, umbrellas, cushions, etc.

Can You Put a Patio Heater on a Composite Deck?

Composite decks consist of wood fibers and plastic. They’re generally more durable and dense than wooden decks, withstanding temperatures up to 150℉.

So a patio heater is safe to use on a composite deck. Generally, I recommend sticking to tower heaters. They only work in a vertical position, so they won’t direct too much heat toward the composite.

What to Consider When Determining the Position of a Patio Heater?

Now that you understand how dangerous patio heaters can be, your first action when you install your unit should be identifying its clearance. The clearance refers to the ideal location for your heater on the deck.

While it mostly depends on the size and style of your heater, the design of your patio is equally important. Not only does it determine the type of heaters you should buy, but it also dictates how many you need and where you can install them.

If your patio is small, wall-mounted heaters would be a nice fit, as they don’t take up much space. If it’s on the larger side, go with freestanding heaters.

They can reach longer distances.

What Is the Best Location for a Patio Heater on a Deck?

You need to consider several variables when you identify the location of your heater. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t make a few suggestions!

The simplest way to position a patio heater is to place it on the back corner of your deck. It’d be far enough to keep your appliances safe but close enough to meet your heating needs.

You can also put it on a high surface. Just make sure it’s not too high that you can’t reach it.

Can You Use a Patio Heater on a Covered Deck?

Yes, you can. Covered decks have the advantage of maintaining more heat inside the deck. The rules for installing a patio heater on a covered deck are the same as an open one.

Just ensure the heat isn’t too close to any combustible object. You also need to keep at least 12 inches between the heater and the ceiling.

If the heater is too close, it can alter the painting’s color of your ceiling or cause it to chip.

Final Thoughts

So are patio heaters safe on decks? Yes, they are.

You can use patio heaters on different types of decks, like wooden, composite, and covered decks. You just need to follow the standard safety precautions.

Keep your heater away from flammable materials, and don’t let it generate heat toward the deck directly. If positioning it is too much of a hassle, just place it on the back corner of the deck or a high surface.


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