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Can You Use a Patio Heater in a Garage? (4 Risks to Consider)

Can You Use a Patio Heater in a Garage? (4 Risks to Consider)

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Patio heaters are a necessity for those winter nights when you step out for fresh air and it’s cold outside.

But what if you have things to do in your garage? Can you use a patio heater in the garage to warm it up? The short answer is yes, but only under certain conditions, and it’s not recommended.

Patio heaters, especially propane and natural gas, are designed to work in open spaces with good air circulation. So if you’re going to move your patio heater into the garage, make sure that you have a source for fresh air to come through.

Do You Need Ventilation For a Patio Heater?

As a rule of thumb, keeping your garage door open for proper ventilation is a necessity for your safety — not an option. Propane and natural gas heaters emit CO2, along with other toxic gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric oxide.

Breathe in these gases for too long and your health will be in danger. In fact, if you use a patio heater in your garage regularly, it’s best to install an oxygen level reader and a carbon monoxide alert system for your safety.

Electric heaters aren’t 100% safe either. You still need to leave the garage door open, or at least cracked, when using electric heaters to allow airflow. That way, you’ll stay safe in case of any technical malfunction that may result in harmful hazardous material or worse: a fire.

What Are the Risks of Using a Patio Heater in a Garage?

Patio heaters, especially those that operate on propane and natural gases, can easily become hazardous when moved to a closed space like your garage. Some of the risks of using a patio heater in the garage include:

1 – Flammability

You must remove any flammable substances surrounding the heater, such as plants, cloth, pressurized containers, or any flammable object. Keep them three feet or more away from your heater.

Also, since most heaters are built with their heat register at the bottom, always place your heater on a safe, inflammable surface.

2 – Toxic Gases

As I’ve mentioned, natural gas and propane heaters emit harmful gases as part of the process of heating your space. Gases like carbon monoxide and nitric oxide can be fatal if inhaled for a long period.

Remember to keep the garage door open to prevent harmful side effects from happening, such as carbon monoxide intoxication. That way, you’ll allow proper air circulation and prevent harmful toxic gases from filling up your garage.

3 – Possible Leaks

If your heater has been around for a few years and you don’t regularly maintain it, there’s a high risk of heater fuel leaking through the hoses and valves of your heater. If that happens, there’s a high possibility that a fire could start in your garage.

Instead of risking your safety, make sure that your propane or natural gas heater is maintained regularly by a professional. They’ll ensure that everything is in its place and there’s no risk of any hazardous leaks.

4 – Dangerous for Kids and Pets

Whether your heater uses propane, natural gas, or electricity, it’s unsafe to keep children or pets around it without supervision. Heaters can get extremely hot, and curious children or pets may injure themselves while trying to touch them.

So no matter the type of heater you use, keep away from your pet or children’s reach for their safety and never leave them unattended around a heater.

What Kind of Heater Is Best for the Garage?

If you’re going to spend a lot of time in your garage, I recommend you invest in a heater specifically for the garage instead of using an outdoor patio heater.

Avoid buying a propane or natural gas heater for your garage. You don’t want any gas emissions filling up your space. Also, don’t buy a heater that’s too big for your garage. It’ll be too hot, big, and dangerous for a small indoor space.

I suggest you opt for an electric or ceramic portable heater. Its size is suitable for the space, and it’ll keep you warm during the cold winter nights. You could also go a step further and install a wall or ceiling-mounted heater for extra safety measures.

Final Thoughts

Using a patio heater to warm up your garage at night isn’t impossible, but you must follow the right safety precautions. Remember that these heaters are originally designed to work in an outdoor space, so putting them indoors can have some risks, mostly related to health.

The safest option for you and your family is to invest in a safe, portable electric or ceramic heater that matches the dimensions and the indoor environment of your garage. That way, you won’t be worried as much about possible accidents from using a patio heater indoors.


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