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How To Start A Patio Heater How To Start A Patio Heater

Outdoor Furniture

How To Start A Patio Heater

Written by: Emily Roberts

Learn how to start a patio heater and keep your outdoor furniture cozy and warm. Follow our step-by-step guide for a relaxing and enjoyable outdoor experience.

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Welcome to the world of outdoor living, where cozy evenings on your patio are made possible with the help of a patio heater. As the temperatures drop, a patio heater becomes an essential addition to your outdoor furniture collection, allowing you to enjoy the fresh air while staying comfortably warm.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of starting a patio heater, providing you with important safety precautions, helpful tips on choosing the right one for your needs, and step-by-step instructions on assembling, connecting, and igniting the heater. We will also cover how to adjust the heat settings, maintain and clean the heater, and troubleshoot common issues.

But before we dive into the specifics, it’s crucial to highlight the importance of safety when operating a patio heater. These devices generate heat and, if mishandled, can pose a fire hazard or cause injuries. Therefore, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Now that we have established the importance of safety, let’s move on to choosing the right patio heater for your outdoor space.

Key Takeaways:

  • Stay safe and cozy with your patio heater by following safety precautions, choosing the right type, and properly assembling and maintaining it. Enjoy the warmth while keeping safety a top priority.
  • Master the art of starting and operating your patio heater, from assembling and connecting the propane tank to igniting the flame and adjusting the heat settings. Create a comfortable outdoor space for all occasions.

Safety Precautions

Before operating a patio heater, it’s important to take certain safety precautions to ensure the well-being of yourself and others. Here are some key safety guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Read the manual: Familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines provided in the manual. This will help you understand how to properly operate and maintain the patio heater.
  2. Choose a safe location: Place the patio heater on a stable and non-combustible surface, away from flammable materials such as furniture, curtains, or tree branches. Ensure that there is ample clearance around the heater to prevent the risk of fire.
  3. Keep a safe distance: Make sure to position the patio heater at a safe distance from people, especially children and pets. The intense heat emitted by the heater can cause serious burns if touched.
  4. Ensure proper ventilation: Use the patio heater in a well-ventilated area to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide. Avoid using the heater indoors or in enclosed spaces where adequate airflow is limited.
  5. Secure the propane tank: If your patio heater operates on propane, ensure that the tank is securely attached and properly connected to the heater. Check for any gas leaks before igniting the heater.
  6. Use a stable base: Opt for a patio heater with a sturdy and weighted base to prevent accidental tipping. This will help maintain the stability of the heater, especially during gusty winds or accidental nudges.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby: It’s always prudent to have a fire extinguisher easily accessible in case of any emergencies. Make sure you know how to operate it effectively.
  8. Never leave the heater unattended: Always supervise the patio heater when it’s in use and never leave it unattended. Remember to turn off the heater when you’re done using it.

By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of your patio heater with peace of mind.

Choosing a Patio Heater

When it comes to choosing a patio heater, there are several factors to consider to ensure you select the right one for your needs. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Type of heater: There are three main types of patio heaters: propane, electric, and natural gas. Propane heaters offer portability and are ideal for outdoor spaces without a direct power source. Electric heaters are convenient and provide consistent heat, but require access to electricity. Natural gas heaters are a more permanent option and require a gas line connection.
  2. Heating capacity: Consider the size of the area you want to heat. Patio heaters have different heat output capacities, measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Choose a heater that is suitable for the square footage of your outdoor space to ensure efficient heating.
  3. Design and aesthetics: Patio heaters come in various styles and designs, including freestanding, tabletop, and mounted models. Consider the overall design and aesthetics of your outdoor space and choose a heater that complements your patio furniture and décor.
  4. Durability and weather resistance: Since patio heaters are exposed to the elements, it’s important to choose a model that is built to withstand outdoor conditions. Look for heaters made from durable materials such as stainless steel or aluminum, with weather-resistant finishes.
  5. Safety features: Ensure that the patio heater you choose has safety features such as a tilt shut-off switch, which automatically turns off the heater if it is tipped over. Other safety features to consider include a safety shut-off valve and a flame failure device.
  6. Budget: Determine your budget range for a patio heater. Prices can vary depending on the type, size, and features of the heater. Consider the long-term benefits and value that a high-quality heater can provide.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can make an informed decision and choose a patio heater that suits your outdoor space and heating requirements. Remember to research and compare different models, read customer reviews, and consult with experts if needed.

Preparing the Area

Before setting up your patio heater, it’s important to properly prepare the area to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Clean the space: Clear any debris, leaves, or flammable materials from the area where you plan to set up your patio heater. This helps minimize the risk of fire and ensures a safe operating environment.
  2. Check for overhead clearance: Ensure that there is enough overhead clearance for the patio heater. Make sure it is not positioned under any awnings, canopies, or low-hanging branches that may pose a fire hazard.
  3. Consider wind direction: Take note of the prevailing wind direction in your outdoor space. Position the patio heater in a way that the heat is directed towards the seating area, maximizing its effectiveness.
  4. Create a comfortable seating arrangement: Arrange your patio furniture in a way that provides an optimal seating area around the patio heater. This will ensure everyone can bask in the warmth while enjoying conversations and activities.
  5. Ensure proper lighting: Make sure the area around the patio heater is well-lit for enhanced safety and functionality. Install outdoor lighting fixtures or utilize string lights to create a cozy ambiance.
  6. Check for any restrictions: Familiarize yourself with any local regulations or restrictions regarding the use of patio heaters. Some areas may have specific guidelines on placement, fuel sources, or noise levels that need to be followed.

By taking the time to prepare the area properly, you can ensure a comfortable and safe environment for you and your guests to enjoy the warmth of the patio heater.

Assembling the Patio Heater

Now that you have prepared the area, it’s time to assemble your patio heater. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure a successful assembly:

  1. Read the manual: Before diving into the assembly process, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the patio heater. This will give you a clear understanding of the specific steps involved.
  2. Gather the necessary tools: Check the manual to determine which tools are needed for assembly. Commonly required tools include a screwdriver, wrench, or Allen key.
  3. Organize the components: Lay out all the components of the patio heater, ensuring that nothing is missing or damaged. This will help streamline the assembly process.
  4. Start with the base: Begin by assembling the base of the patio heater. Follow the instructions provided to securely attach the base components together, using the recommended tools.
  5. Attach the pole: Once the base is assembled, attach the pole to the base according to the instructions. Make sure it is aligned properly and secured tightly.
  6. Install the burner assembly: Place the burner assembly on top of the pole, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This typically involves attaching the reflector and heat deflector to the burner assembly.
  7. Secure the emitter: Install the emitter, which is responsible for radiating the heat. This step may involve attaching the emitter shield and aligning it properly with the burner assembly.
  8. Connect the control valve and knobs: The control valve and knobs allow you to adjust the heat settings. Follow the instructions to properly connect them, ensuring they are securely attached.
  9. Attach the propane tank holder: If your patio heater uses propane, attach the propane tank holder to the base or pole, making sure it is stable and properly secured.
  10. Double-check the connections: Once the assembly is complete, inspect all connections to ensure they are tight and secure. This will help prevent any leaks or potential hazards.

Remember, each patio heater may have slight variations in assembly instructions, so it’s crucial to rely on the manufacturer’s guidelines. Taking your time and following these steps will ensure a successful assembly of your patio heater, bringing you one step closer to enjoying cozy outdoor evenings.

Connecting the Propane Tank

If your patio heater operates on propane, the next step after assembling the unit is connecting the propane tank. Follow these step-by-step instructions to safely and correctly connect the propane tank to your patio heater:

  1. Locate the propane tank: Ensure that you have a propane tank suitable for use with your patio heater. The tank should be filled, in good condition, and not expired.
  2. Position the propane tank holder: If your patio heater has a dedicated propane tank holder, make sure it is properly positioned and securely attached to the base or pole of the heater.
  3. Check the control valve: Before connecting the tank, ensure that the control valve on the patio heater is closed. This ensures that no gas is flowing when you connect the propane tank.
  4. Remove the tank cap: Remove the protective cap from the propane tank’s valve. Keep the cap in a safe place, as it should be reattached when the tank is not in use.
  5. Inspect the tank and connections: Before connecting the tank, visually inspect the tank and the connections on both the tank and the patio heater. Look for any signs of damage or leaks. If you detect any issues, do not proceed with the connection.
  6. Attach the tank: Align the nozzle of the propane tank with the opening on the patio heater’s gas line connection. Press the tank firmly and rotate it clockwise until it is securely in place.
  7. Tighten the tank connection: Once the tank is attached, use a wrench or adjustable pliers to gently tighten the connection. Be careful not to overtighten, as this can damage the valve or fittings.
  8. Perform a leak test: After connecting the propane tank, it is crucial to perform a leak test. Mix a solution of soapy water and apply it to the connections. If you see bubbles forming, there may be a gas leak. In this case, disconnect the tank and seek professional assistance.
  9. Open the tank valve: Once you have determined that there are no leaks, slowly open the valve on the propane tank in a counterclockwise direction. Take care not to turn the valve too quickly.
  10. Check for gas flow: With the tank valve open, check for the flow of gas in the patio heater. You may hear a hissing sound as the gas flows through the system.

By following these steps, you can safely and correctly connect the propane tank to your patio heater, ensuring a reliable and efficient source of heat for your outdoor space. Always prioritize safety and perform regular inspections to maintain the integrity of the connections.

Before starting a patio heater, make sure it is placed on a flat, stable surface away from any flammable materials. Check the gas supply and connections for any leaks before igniting the heater.

Igniting the Patio Heater

Now that your patio heater is assembled and the propane tank is connected, it’s time to ignite the heater and enjoy the warmth it provides. Follow these steps to safely and effectively ignite your patio heater:

  1. Make sure the tank valve is open: Before attempting to ignite the patio heater, ensure that the valve on the propane tank is open. This allows the gas to flow to the burner assembly.
  2. Turn on the control knob: Locate the control knob on the patio heater. Depending on the model, it may be a rotary knob or a push-button ignition. Turn the control knob to the “ignite” or “start” position.
  3. Press the ignition button (if applicable): If your patio heater has a built-in ignition button, press it while holding down the control knob in the ignite position. This will create a spark to ignite the gas.
  4. Manually ignite the burner (if applicable): If your patio heater does not have a built-in ignition button, use a long-handled lighter or match to ignite the gas at the burner assembly. Carefully insert the lighter or match into the burner opening and ignite the gas.
  5. Hold the control knob for a few seconds: Once the gas is ignited, continue holding the control knob in the ignite position for a few seconds. This allows the thermocouple (a safety device) to warm up and keep the gas flowing.
  6. Release the control knob: After a few seconds, release the control knob. The flame should remain lit, indicating that the patio heater is successfully ignited.
  7. Observe the flame: Take a moment to observe the flame. It should be a steady, blue flame with no yellow or orange coloration. An inconsistent or colored flame may indicate an issue with the burner assembly or fuel flow. In this case, turn off the patio heater and seek professional assistance.
  8. Adjust the heat settings: Depending on the model of your patio heater, you may have heat adjustment options. Use the control knob to adjust the heat output to your desired level, ranging from low to high.
  9. Keep an eye on the patio heater: Once the patio heater is ignited, it’s important to maintain proper supervision. Avoid leaving the patio heater unattended and be mindful of any flammable materials or obstructions near the unit.
  10. Turn off the patio heater: When you’re done using the patio heater, turn off the control knob and close the valve on the propane tank. This will shut off the gas flow and extinguish the flame.

By following these instructions, you can safely ignite and operate your patio heater, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for your outdoor gatherings.

Adjusting the Heat Settings

One of the great features of a patio heater is the ability to adjust the heat output to match your comfort level. Whether you want a gentle warmth on a cool evening or a higher heat setting on a chilly night, adjusting the heat settings is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Locate the heat control knob: Look for the heat control knob on your patio heater. It is typically located near the ignition switch or on the control panel.
  2. Identify the heat settings: Most patio heaters have a range of heat settings, often denoted by symbols or numbers. These settings indicate the intensity of heat produced by the heater, with the highest setting providing the most heat.
  3. Select the desired heat setting: Turn the heat control knob to your desired heat setting. Start with a lower setting and gradually increase it until you find the level of warmth that suits your preference.
  4. Observe the flame and heat output: As you adjust the heat setting, pay attention to the flame and heat output. The flame should remain steady and consistent, while the heat radiated by the patio heater will increase or decrease according to the selected setting.
  5. Allow time for the adjustment: Give the patio heater a few minutes to adjust to the new heat setting. It may take a short while for the heat to reach its maximum or minimum level, depending on the setting chosen.
  6. Experiment with different settings: Play around with the heat settings to find the perfect balance for the current weather conditions and your comfort level. Keep in mind that higher heat settings may consume more fuel, so make adjustments accordingly.
  7. Consider ambient temperature and wind conditions: Take into account the ambient temperature and wind conditions in your outdoor space. On particularly windy days, you may need to adjust the heat setting slightly higher to compensate for heat loss caused by the wind.
  8. Keep safety in mind: While adjusting the heat settings, remember to prioritize safety. Avoid positioning flammable materials too close to the patio heater and always follow safety guidelines outlined in the manual.

By mastering the art of adjusting the heat settings on your patio heater, you can create a comfortable and inviting outdoor space for yourself and your guests, no matter the weather.

Maintaining and Cleaning the Patio Heater

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your patio heater, regular maintenance and cleaning are essential. Here are some tips to help you maintain and clean your patio heater:

  1. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions: The first step in maintaining your patio heater is to familiarize yourself with the specific maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer. This will help you understand any specific requirements or recommendations.
  2. Inspect the patio heater regularly: Take the time to visually inspect the patio heater on a regular basis. Look for any signs of damage, rust, or loose parts. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage or safety hazards.
  3. Clean the exterior surfaces: Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the exterior surfaces of the patio heater. Gently scrub with a soft cloth or sponge to remove any dirt or grime. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that could damage the finish or paint.
  4. Remove debris from burner and emitter: Over time, debris such as dirt, dust, and insects can accumulate in the burner and emitter of the patio heater. Carefully remove any debris using a soft brush or compressed air. This will ensure proper gas flow and prevent blockages.
  5. Check and clean the pilot assembly: If your patio heater has a pilot assembly, periodically check and clean it. Use a small brush or compressed air to remove any dirt or debris that may be obstructing the pilot flame.
  6. Inspect the propane tank: Regularly inspect the propane tank for any signs of damage, leaks, or excessive rust. If you notice any issues, consult a professional for repair or replacement.
  7. Store the patio heater properly: During periods of non-use or inclement weather, it’s important to store the patio heater properly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disassembly and storage, ensuring that all components are protected from moisture and stored in a secure location.
  8. Perform regular maintenance checks: Schedule routine maintenance checks for your patio heater, especially before the start of each new season. This may involve inspecting gas connections, ensuring proper ventilation, and testing the functionality of all components.
  9. Seek professional assistance if needed: If you encounter any issues or are unsure about any maintenance tasks, it’s best to seek professional assistance. They can help with more complex maintenance, repairs, or replacements to ensure the safety and performance of your patio heater.

By following these maintenance and cleaning tips, you can keep your patio heater in excellent condition, extending its lifespan and ensuring optimal functionality for years to come.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While patio heaters are relatively straightforward to operate, sometimes you may encounter common issues that can be easily resolved. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common patio heater problems:

  1. Flame won’t ignite: If the flame on your patio heater doesn’t ignite, first ensure that the propane tank is properly connected and turned on. Check for any gas leaks or blockages in the fuel line and burner assembly. If the issue persists, the pilot or ignitor system may need cleaning or replacement.
  2. Flame goes out or won’t stay lit: If the flame on your patio heater goes out shortly after igniting or won’t stay lit, it may be due to a faulty thermocouple. The thermocouple is a safety device that detects the presence of a flame. Inspect the thermocouple for damage or misalignment. If needed, clean or replace it to ensure proper function.
  3. Low heat output: If your patio heater is producing lower heat than expected, first check the heat setting and ensure it is adjusted correctly. Verify that the propane tank is not empty or nearly empty. Check for any blockages in the burner assembly, such as debris or spider webs, and clean them out if necessary.
  4. Uneven heat distribution: If your patio heater is emitting heat unevenly, it may be due to an obstruction or blockage in the emitter or reflector. Inspect these components and remove any debris or obstructions. Make sure the patio heater is positioned correctly, with the reflector facing downward for optimal heat distribution.
  5. Strange odor or gas smell: If you detect a strong gas odor or smell, immediately turn off the propane tank valve and discontinue use. Ventilate the area and inspect the propane tank and connections for leaks. Apply a soapy water solution to check for any gas leaks. If a leak is detected, seek professional assistance to resolve the issue.
  6. Ignition switch or control knob not working: If the ignition switch or control knob on your patio heater is not functioning properly, try cleaning the switch or knob with a soft cloth. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, it may require replacement. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional for assistance.
  7. Excessive noise or rattling: If your patio heater is making excessive noise or rattling, check for loose or damaged components. Tighten any loose screws or connections. If the issue persists, it may be due to a faulty fan or motor, in which case professional assistance may be required.
  8. Electrical issues with electric patio heaters: For electric patio heaters, if you encounter issues such as failure to power on or trips in the circuit breaker, check the power source and ensure it is properly connected. Confirm that the outlet is functioning correctly. If the problem persists, it is recommended to consult an electrician for further investigation.

Remember, if you are unsure about troubleshooting or resolving any issues with your patio heater, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance. Safety should always be the top priority when dealing with potentially hazardous devices like patio heaters.


With the help of a patio heater, you can extend the usability of your outdoor space and enjoy cozy evenings under the open sky. We’ve covered the essential steps to safely and effectively start and operate a patio heater, from choosing the right one for your needs to maintaining and troubleshooting common issues.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when using a patio heater. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, adhere to safety precautions, and properly maintain and clean your patio heater to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.

By preparing the area, assembling the patio heater, connecting the propane tank, and igniting the flame, you’ll have everything set for a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience. Don’t forget to adjust the heat settings to match the weather conditions and your preferences, and regularly inspect and clean your patio heater to keep it in top shape.

If you encounter any issues or are unsure about any aspect of your patio heater, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance. Investing time and effort in properly maintaining and operating your patio heater will ensure many cozy evenings outdoors for years to come.

Get ready to embrace the warmth and ambiance of your patio heater, as you create cherished memories in your outdoor oasis.

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Start A Patio Heater

What are the different types of patio heaters available?

There are several types of patio heaters available, including propane, electric, natural gas, and infrared heaters. Each type has its own advantages and considerations, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your outdoor space and heating needs.
How do I choose the right size patio heater for my outdoor space?

When choosing a patio heater, consider the size of your outdoor space and the heat output of the heater. A general rule of thumb is that a heater with 40,000 BTUs can heat an area of up to 200 square feet, but it’s important to take into account any wind or other factors that may affect the heater’s performance.
What safety precautions should I take when using a patio heater?

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use of your patio heater. This may include keeping the heater a safe distance from flammable materials, ensuring proper ventilation, and using a stable base to prevent tipping. Additionally, always turn off the heater when it’s not in use and never leave it unattended.
How do I maintain and clean my patio heater?

Regular maintenance of your patio heater is important to ensure its longevity and safe operation. This may include cleaning the burner and emitter, checking for gas leaks, and inspecting the hoses and connections. It’s also important to store the heater properly during the off-season to protect it from the elements.
Can I use a patio heater in all weather conditions?

While patio heaters are designed to withstand outdoor conditions, it’s important to consider the weather when using them. High winds can affect the performance of a patio heater, so it’s best to use it in a sheltered area or consider wind guards. Additionally, extreme cold or wet conditions may also affect the heater’s performance, so it’s important to use caution in these situations.

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