Outdoor heaters provide the warmth and ambience that will have you enjoying your backyard all year long. However, for you to get the most out of your heater, learn how to use them safely to avoid injuries. This article highlights the safety tricks to keep warm and safe while using the heaters.
Choose the right heater for your space.
The market is flooded with several designs of outdoor heaters. Gas, wood-fired and electric heaters all have different pros and cons. But your outdoor area and its requirements will determine the right heater for you. Other factors to consider include outdoor space size and height and the number of people you will entertain. For small spaces, go for the free-standing heater and a pit fire for larger areas.
Choose a safe space.
Some heaters throw sparks and flame, and this could put everything around them at risk. Consider keeping your outdoor electric heater a safe distance from anything flammable. Materials such as carpets, table cloths, walls, and furniture should be three feet from the heater. Your outdoor heaters should only be used outside because of proper ventilation and air circulation to ensure carbon monoxide does not build up. However, before using it, ensure you do adequate clearance around your home of any fire hazards. If the heater comes with a screen, use it as an extra layer of fire safety.
Find level grounding
It is recommended to use portable heaters on flat and not inclined surfaces to avoid tipping them over and causing an accident. To prevent movement, weigh down the heater by using heat-resistant stabilizers such as water weights and sandbags. You could also use flame-retardant ties like bungee cords for pegging the heater to the lawn like a tent.
Free-standing heaters disperse heat over a larger area because of their height. However, that height makes them top-heavy, meaning they could easily topple over. Many of them have an anti-tilt device built-in, however ensure to take precautions by stabilizing them whenever possible.
Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
You could follow all manufacturer’s rules on safety, but accidents could still occur. Find a fire extinguisher with the correct classification for your outdoor heater and keep it close when the heater is on. Get a Class B extinguisher for gas, Class C for electric, or the multipurpose extinguisher for both.
Watch it carefully
Never leave the heater unattended or within reach of children and pets to prevent burns. Do not use it whenever winds exceed 10 miles per hour as it could blow over or the flame could blow out.
Safely handle and store fuel tanks.
Most outdoor heaters are fueled with propane or natural gas. When not in use, the gas tank valve needs to be closed and switched off. This should keep the tank in good working condition. Any fuel not handled correctly becomes dangerous; hence, ensure you store spare tanks away from open flames. To check for leaks on valves and hoses after swapping the gas tanks, apply soapy water on them and watch out for air bubbles.
Other safety precautions
Keep a smoke and carbon monoxide detector close when using gas, electric, or wood fire heater. Have a reminder to test the batteries often to ensure you are safe when the heater is on. Before investing in outdoor heaters, find out how your local bylaws factor in because there maybe be laws restricting the use of certain types of outdoor fire elements.
Store the heater correctly when not used to prevent it from getting clogged with debris, bugs, and rust by covering it with a custom cover. If not in use for several months, disassemble and store it indoors but consider leaving the propane tank outside.