As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, having a patio heater can be an excellent investment to extend your time outside while staying comfortable and warm.
However, like any investment, you might be curious about its longevity and years in service, and that’s what this guide is all about.
In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about patio heaters’ lifespan, along with factors that impact it and how long different types typically last. Let’s dive right in!
Ideally, an average patio heater should last around 5 to 7 years. However, with proper care and continuous maintenance, your patio heater can last up to 10 years or more.
That being said, the exact lifespan of a patio heater can vary depending on several essential factors, including:
- The Type of Heater: Patio heaters can vary according to design, materials, and heat source, and each one of these types can have its average lifespan.
- The Quality of the Heater: Patio heaters of the same type can have different lifespans depending on their construction quality and the materials used.
- Maintenance Frequency: Taking extra care of your patio heater can add several years to its expected lifespan, as it massively reduces the impact of outdoor elements.
There are various ways to classify a patio heater, and as previously established, the heater’s type has a massive impact on its lifespan. Here’s a quick look at different types and how long they should typically last:
The most popular power source for patio heaters is liquified propane gas (LPG). However, other types that use natural gas and electricity also exist.
Gas-powered patio heaters typically last a bit longer than electric ones. This is because the heating element in electric patio heaters are more susceptible to damage from the environmental elements compared to gas-powered ones.
Additionally, gas-powered heaters have fewer parts, so there are generally lower chances for things to break down.
As a result, an electric patio typically lasts between 3 to 6 years while gas-powered ones last for 5 to 10 years.
Not all heaters are created from the same materials, which can also affect the sturdiness of the device and how long it can stand the test of time and harsh conditions outdoors.
Heavy-duty patio heaters are made from durable, corrosion-resistant materials. These include powder-coated steel and stainless steel.
Ideally, a stainless steel patio heater is usually on the higher end of the longevity scale, lasting up to 10 years with proper care, especially higher grades like 304 and 316 stainless steel.
Some powder-coated steel heaters can also last this long, but they require more maintenance.
On the other hand, lightweight materials, usually used in freestanding and portable options, typically don’t last quite as long, usually around 3 to 5 years.
Patio heaters come in a variety of styles, and while this mainly affects their efficiency, square footage, and heat output, it can also affect their longevity.
For example, mushroom-style heaters (the classic design) last up to 10 years because they’re usually made from durable metals.
On the other hand, free-standing patio heaters typically last for 3 to 7 years because they’re made from lighter metals for portability. This also applies to wall-mounted heaters and quartz tube patio heaters.
Other styles, such as tabletop patio heaters and hanging patio heaters can last from 5 to 10 years depending on their construction quality and building materials.
Lastly, fire-pit patio heaters can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, but their durability heavily relies on how you power them up.
Ideally, a standard 20-lb propane tank running on average heat setting should last around 5 to 15 hours (or more) of power-on time.
However, besides the size of the time, the amount of time a propane tank will last also depends on other essential factors, including:
- The heat output/capacity of the heater (measured in BTU per hour)
- The efficiency rating of the heater (measured in percentage)
The higher the BTU output of a propane tank, the more heat it’ll produce, but also the faster it runs out, and vice versa.
For example, a patio heater with a BTU output of 10,000 units typically lasts around 15 or more hours while a more powerful patio heater with a BTU output of 40,000 drains the propane tank in around 4 hours.
Keep in mind that other aspects might also shorten a propane tank’s longevity, such as leaks, colder weather (you’ll need to keep the heater at high settings to stay warm, so it drains faster), and low-efficiency models that waste a lot of propane to achieve the same heat capacity.
Pro Tip: Use windbreakers to slow down the wind on your patio, which can massively extend your propane tank’s lifespan.
Now that you know more about patio heaters and how they last, here are some final tips to help you extend their lifespan.
- Clean the Heater Regularly: Remember to clean the heater between uses and do a deep clean between seasons
- Regularly Inspect the Heater for Signs Of Damage: This can help you troubleshoot any problems before they build up and cause the heater to break down.
- Keep Up with Maintenance: Check and tighten any loose bolts and oil the wheel of joints periodically.
- Cover and Store the Patio Heater When Not in Use: During summer and warmer seasons, protect the patio heater from rust, dust, and debris by covering them up, preferably with a waterproof cover.
As you can see, a typical patio heater can last up to 10 years if you properly maintain them and keep them in good shape.
That being said, various aspects can also play a role in determining the lifespan of a patio heater and whether it can last longer, including its build quality and source of power.
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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