Patio heaters or outdoor heaters are heating devices that are especially useful during cold winter months. I can still enjoy the outdoors despite the freezing temperatures.
There are different patio heaters, like electric heaters, gas heaters, and solar patio heaters.
With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder if my patio heater can withstand weather changes or elements, especially water.
So, can patio heaters get wet? While patio heaters are designed for outdoor use, they’re not entirely waterproof and may not be operational under wet conditions.
Electric patio heaters can withstand minimal moisture, but getting them wet can result in several problems.
Given that fact, leaving them out without proper sealing or protection leads to potential safety hazards, so it’s still best to keep them away from any water source.
Moreover, how they’ll withstand water usually depends on their manufacturer, as some electric patio heaters have a water-resistant rating.
Water-resistant patio heaters have unique features like sealed electrical components or castings to prevent water entry. These heaters can tolerate short-term exposure to water.
Despite that, most electric patio heaters aren’t entirely waterproof, so they’re usually mounted on covered areas or sealed to prevent contact with water.
No, it’s unsafe to leave most patio heaters in the rain, especially electric patio heaters.
Electric patio heaters aren’t as durable or heavy-duty as other patio heaters (portable propane heaters, for example), which can tolerate moderate amounts of rain.
Even so, it’s not advisable to leave patio heaters out in the rain often, especially in an area with standing water.
Leaving patio heaters out in the rain and submerging them in water promotes rusting, not to mention that rainwater can damage or corrode the heating element.
Therefore, it impairs the device’s heating capacity. In fact, most damage to outdoor heaters is due to prolonged water exposure.
For example, rainwater can seep into the internal components of the patio heater and damage/corrode the gas lines or valves, resulting in gas leaks and malfunctioning.
At the same time, leaving an operating electric patio heater out in the rain can result in short circuits or increase risks for shock.
Here’s what I do when my patio heater gets exposed to water:
The first thing to do when patio heaters get wet is to turn the heater off or unplug it from the power source.
Safety always comes first; that’s why I never attempt to work on a wet and operational patio heater, especially an electric-powered one.
I use a soft or microfiber cloth to dry off the outside surface of the patio heater carefully. I also check for water accumulation in the internal components or heating element and remove them.
It’s essential to check for signs of damage or corrosion, especially significant damages like exposed wires, leaks, or cracks.
I usually contact my local technician if some parts need replacement or repair.
The last step is transferring the patio heater to a well-ventilated space and allowing it to dry up to 24 hours before usage to ensure all moisture is gone.
Mounting patio heaters in protected areas, like under a canopy, helps in prolonging their lifespan.
Patio heater covers are also useful in protecting them from elemental damage (especially from rain and snow) and accumulation of dust, dirt, and debris.
These protective coverings are usually made with highly durable and weather-resistant materials like nylon, polyester, vinyl, and Oxford fabric.
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about patio heaters:
Checking with the manufacturer’s manual and following the clearance intended for the patio heater is essential. Usually, they should be at least three feet or one meter away from any ignitable materials.
Furthermore, the gas emissions from patio heaters can be a health hazard, so putting them in a closed space isn’t recommended.
Propane and electric patio heaters can last up to six years. Note that the lifespan of patio heaters depends greatly on regular maintenance and environmental factors.
Electric patio heaters and solar patio heaters are more energy efficient compared to propane heaters. These types of heaters also don’t release harmful gas.
While some patio heaters can tolerate minimal moisture or water, it’s not recommended to keep them out in the rain.
Prolonged exposure to wet conditions will not just impair the heater’s functionality but can also result in damages that increase risks for fire and electric hazards.
That said, using a patio heater cover adds an extra layer of protection to patio heaters.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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