As temperatures begin to drop and become cooler, heating systems are needed not only indoors, but also in some outdoor areas. The only way to ensure that your patio area is fully functional year-round is to have a patio heater that helps to increase the temperature. Learning about how a patio heater works will enable you to choose the best option for your outdoor area.

Here is some basic information about how a patio heater works:

Outdoor Heating

Most heating systems are designed for indoor use. This makes the most sense, but there is a need for outdoor heaters. A patio heater is specifically designed to help heat a small patio area. They come in a variety of different sizes depending o the size of the patio that requires a heat source.

Patio Heater and Radiant Heat

Most patio heaters work through the process known as radiation. Heat transfer through radiation is a process that many different appliances use in order to produce and emit heat. When a material is heated to a specific temperature, it automatically begins to emit heat through electromagnetic waves that are in the infrared range. These waves are not visible to the human eye, but they do produce heat and can be felt. Many patio heaters function through a radiant heating process, but not all do.

Convection and Patio Heaters

Although many patio heaters use radiant heat, there are some patio heaters that are designed to rely on the convection process to produce heat. This involves electricity moving through a resistor. A resistor can be described as a material that inhibits the flow of electric current. This electric current that begins to move through is converted into heat energy by the resistor. This hot air that is produced is then moved throughout the space to provide heat. All convection heaters work in basically the same way with only minor differences. Patio heaters that function using this process are not as energy efficient as patio heaters that rely on radiant heat.

Design of a Patio Heater

A patio heater is a device that is used to emit heat in a small patio area. There are two basic design options to choose from including a domed shaped variety or one that is mounted directly to a wall. This means that all patio heaters are powered by electrical heating or a process known as propane combustion (gas heating). When it comes to outdoor heaters that are used in patio areas, domed shaped options are the most commonly used. This involves a dome shaped metal top that is attached to a long pole. Propane powered patio heaters are the most popular, but they are available in other types. Many patio heaters are even equipped with safety features including a automatic shutdown that is designed to occur when flaring or burning is at risk of taking place within the heater.

How Does it Work?

A patio heater begins working as soon as it is powered on. A dome shaped propane powered patio heater has a valve regulator that is opened once the mechanism is switched to on. This results in gas moving through the pole of the patio heater to the burners that are attached at the top. These burners are then used to heat the radiant element that is above on the dome shaped rim. This leads to the temperature of the entire patio heater to rise and then heat is emitted in all areas as a result.

Unique Dome Design

It is the unique dome design of most patio heaters that allows for an even disbursement of heat. The dome is only covered from the top and opened at the sides to allow for heat to be radiated in a horizontal direction. The heat that is lost in the vertical direction is lesser. This means that most of the heat is radiated into a circular motion around the patio heater. The wattage of the heater is what has the greatest effect on the intensity of the heat that is radiated. Higher wattage patio heaters radiate heat at greater intensities and work faster to increase temperatures in patio areas.

Do You Feel the Heat?

The infrared waves that are emitted work right away to heat up surrounding objects. These waves are absorbed by the human body and make you feel warmer with direct contact. It is possible to keep a patio area pretty warm with the use of one or more patio heaters. Wall mounted patio heaters work in the same way as dome shaped patio heaters, but they simply radiate the heat right in front of the instrument panel. Having a patio heater that relies on radiant heat instead of convection transfer is ideal if you are looking for an energy efficient outdoor heating source.