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How Many Patio Heaters Do I Need? (Calculating Comfort for Cozy Outdoor Spaces)

How Many Patio Heaters Do I Need? (Calculating Comfort for Cozy Outdoor Spaces)

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If you love spending time outdoors, you might want to invest in some patio heaters to keep you warm and cozy during the colder months.

But how many patio heaters do you need for your outdoor space?

In this article, we’ll answer this question and provide tips on determining the safe number of patio heaters.

How Many Patio Heaters Do I Need?

The number of patio heaters you need depends on several factors:

Here are some general guidelines to help you estimate how many patio heaters you need:

For Covered Patios

You’ll need one patio heater for every 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. Covered patios have less heat loss and can retain more warmth from the patio heaters.

For Uncovered Patios

You’ll need one patio heater for every 300 to 500 square feet of space. Uncovered patios have more heat loss and can be affected by wind and other weather elements.

These are only rough estimates. You may need to adjust them according to your specific situation.

For instance, if you live in a cold or windy area, you may need more patio heaters than the average.

Conversely, if you live in a mild or sunny area, you may need fewer heaters.

How Much Propane Does a Patio Heater Use?

Propane is a commonly used fuel source for patio heaters. Generally, a standard 20-pound propane tank will last for 10 hours on a high setting and about 20 hours on a low setting.

To calculate how much propane your patio heater use, you can use this formula:

Propane usage (lbs/hour) = Heat output (BTU/hour) / 21,600 BTU

For example, if your patio heater has a heat output of 40,000 BTU/hour and you use it on a high setting, then your propane usage will be:

Propane usage (lbs/hour) = 40,000 / 21,600 BTU

Propane usage = 1.85

This means that your patio heater will use about 1.85 pounds of propane per hour on a high setting. If you have a 20-pound propane tank, then it’ll last for about:

Tank duration (hours) = Tank size (lbs) / Propane usage (lbs/hour)

Tank duration (hours) = 20 / 1.85

Tan duration (hours) = 10.8

So your 20-pound propane tank will last for 10.8 hours on high setting.

That said, these numbers are only estimates. To get more accurate answers, you can use an online calculator or check the manufacturer’s specifications for your patio heater model.

What Size is Propane Tank to Use for Patio Heater

Propane tanks are available in many sizes. The most common size for patio heaters is 20 lbs and 30 lbs tanks, which offer different capacities.

Selecting the right propane tank size is crucial for uninterrupted heating. Here are some factors you should consider in determining the appropriate propane tank size for the patio heater:

1 – BTU Ratings and Propane Consumption of Patio Heaters

Refer to the BTU rating and propane consumption of your patio heater to estimate the runtime of a specific tank size.

2 – Frequency and Duration of Use

Evaluate how often you plan to use the patio heaters and for how long. This will help determine the appropriate tank size to avoid frequent refills.

Once you have this information, you can estimate the appropriate tank size. Here’s a general guideline based on average propane consumption:

20-pound Tank: Holds around 4.7 gallons of propane with approximately 430,000 BTUs. This tank size is suited for patio heaters with lower BTU rates and shorter runtimes.

30-pound Tank: Holds around 7 gallons of propane with approximately 650,000 BTUs. This tank size is appropriate for patio heaters with higher BTU ratings and longer runtimes. It can provide extended heating before requiring a refill.

What Gas to Use For a Patio Heater?

There are a few gas options for a patio heater: Propane Gas, Natural Gas, and Electric Patio Heaters.

Propane Gas

Propane is the most commonly used gas for patio heaters. It’s readily available, easy to use, and offers excellent portability.

Propane tanks come in 20-pound or 30-pound sizes too, which easily connect to most patio heaters. Another advantage of propane is that it doesn’t require a direct gas line either.

Natural Gas

Natural gas patio heaters are a popular choice for fixed outdoor installations. You can consider a natural gas patio heater if your patio has access to a natural gas line.

Additionally, natural gas heaters offer a convenient and continuous fuel supply, eliminating the need to refill propane tanks.

More importantly, since they’re connected to the natural gas line, you need a professional to install your patio heaters.

Electric Patio Heaters

Electric patio heaters are another option to consider. These heaters use electricity as their power source. They’re convenient to use and don’t require any fuel tanks or gas lines.

On top of that, electric patio heaters are often available in freestanding or wall-mounted models, providing flexibility in terms of placement. However, they may have limited heat output and coverage.

Final Thoughts

Patio heaters are great devices that help you enjoy your outdoor space even in the colder months. To determine the number of heaters needed, consider the outdoor space size, heater type, heat output, and climate conditions.

You can use the formula provided to estimate the capacity of propane gas. This way, you can enjoy your outdoor experience without extra cost.

With the appropriate number of patio heaters and proper safety measures, you can create a cozy and enjoyable outdoor environment all year round.


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