Electric patio heater 'questions & answers'

Customer Services

We answer the burning questions about infrared heaters, if you're looking for a patio heater or outdoor heating in general it's important to know you've got the right energy source, power output and type of heat wave generated by the heater to best warm the area you're looking to heat.

Our focus in our FAQs is on commonly asked question on infrared and gas patio heaters, what makes it ideal for outdoors heating and what are benefits when compared to other types of outdoor heaters. If you want to find out more about infrared light, it's worth checking out our article on the health benefits of infrared

Search FAQs using the search box below... click on a topic to expand the answer

Ordering and Delivery

Chasing delivery on pre orders - where is it?!

On some occasions heaters are in short supply sand we offer customers the opportunity to purchase in advance. When we do so, we offer an estimated delivery day. This is when we hope the goods will get to you.

This date is a ‘best guess’ and can be influenced by many factors outside or our control including hiccups at the factory, overbooked container ships, poor weather at sea, storms forcing the ships to lay offshore until they abate, UK Customs, the list goes on. Normally we are pretty close and sometimes we even beat the published guesstimate. Please bare with us as we are doing the best we can and will always try hard to keep you informed of your orders progress.

Do you deliver to Ireland?

Yes, we do deliver to Ireland.

Do you sell without VAT to Jersey, Guernsey and IoM?

Product

Does my Patio Heater come with a plug?

All heaters of 3kW or less come fitted with a UK 3 pin 13Amp plug and are ready to use straight out of the box.

Are batteries included?

Not usually. Because we order and ship in large quantities, we could not guarantee batteries would still be within their lifespan. Batteries are only normally needed for remote control handsets.

How long is a Patio Heater cable?

The cable is a standard 1.8M on all of our heaters due to EU regulations that came into force a few years ago. We are able to provide extension leads.

Do Patio Heaters come with wall brackets?

All our heaters that are designed to be wall mounted come with an appropriate wall mounting bracket. Often, we also provide the wall fixing and chains (for heaters that can be hung).

Are your Patio Heaters infrared?

All of our patio heaters are infrared. In fact most use short wave infrared, similiar to the heat we get from the sun.

Do electric heaters have covers?

No. We do not recommend covers as they would become fire hazards if the heater were inadvertently switched on with the cover in place. Most heaters that we recommend are fully weatherproof and approved for all year operations outdoors.

How can a heater without a glass front be water and weatherproof?

In the weatherproof models the heating lamp itself does not get anywhere near as hot as a conventional light and can actually operate submersed in water! In the units without a glass front, the essential electronics are sealed in a water tight compartment.

How long do the heaters take to warm up?

The heat is instant. As the heater is turned on, so anyone within it's range will feel the heat in exactly the way you feel the sun's heat when it pops out from behind a cloud.

Can the heaters be controlled automatically and what types of controls are available, especially for bars, pubs and clubs?

Yes. There are various means to control the heaters. In the home environment perhaps a variable controller might be useful, however, this would only be so on the more powerful units.

In a commercial environments such as restaurants, bars, public houses, club patios and rooftops, swimming pools and large buildings it is often useful to control both the amount of heat being emitted and also the periods when the systems are actually on. We provide a range of switches that operate on: push button timers, coin operated times and movement sensors. These can in turn also be linked into remote controls that will control individual heaters and the heat from each one within a given environment.

Installation

How many heaters will I need to heat my area?

It is difficult to generalise, however, 1kW will heat about 5 m2. So a patio that measures 5m x 4m (total 20m) will require about 6-7kW of heaters. Another big factor is exposure of the area to the elements so an enclosed walled courtyard area will need less heat per m2 than an open exposed area such the end of a garden.

How high should my Patio Heater be fixed?

Most heaters should be mounted from 2.2M to 2.5M high (from the ground), however, larger 4kW and above heaters can be mounted up to 3.5M on occasions.

Can I mount inside my gazebo?

Yes. This is usually an excellent place to mount your heater(s).

Can I mount my Patio Heater indoors?

All patio heaters can be used indoors and are an excellent way to provide instant heat at the touch of a button.

Most suitable Patio Heater for a cantilever parasol - will the parasol heater fit?

Cantilever parasols are problematic to find heating solutions for. As the only real option is to hang something from the centre, which would be quite low and not give very much spread to the heat. Usually, the best option is to mount a heater on a separate stand.

How big an area will a Patio Heater heat?

We try to give a guide on many heaters however, in reality this is very difficult as everyone has a different idea of exactly how much warmth is desirable to them. Another factor is the ambient air temperature; so a heater that seems great all summer during cool evenings, suddenly seems inadequate as the colder months draw in. As a rule of thumb, for shortwave infrared heaters, we recommend 1kW of power per 4M2 in sheltered areas and 3M2 in more exposed areas. This should be enough heat to cope for the warmer 8 months of the year.

Example: you have a sheltered patio of 3m x 4M. 3 x 4 = 12M2. Divide this by 3 or 4 and it tells you that between 3kW and 4kW is needed. This might be one big heater or perhaps 2 x 2kW heaters?

What type of installation is needed and can I do it myself?

Above 3kW and it is a job for a qualified electrician. Below that, wall mounted units can be fixed by anyone with the ability to drill a few holes and put a plug in.

Do I need an electrician to install the heater?

Yes and No! Any heater up to 3kW in power will come with a 1.8M lead (EU maximum allowed) and a UK 13Amp plug. It is up to you if you want to have it ‘hard’ wired in by your electrician. Above 3kW, there is no plug and the heaters does need to be wired via a fused spur or switch by your electrician.

What level of heat do I need (would be good to have the subjective nature of heat explained)?

Warmth is a personal preference and very difficult to take a one size fits all approach to. Due to the nature of infrared heat, it cannot be measured with a thermometer as it is you being heated and not the air, which is what a thermometer measures). We can advise what most people like, however, extreme conditions like wind and outdoor temperature can make BIG differences. Smaller differences can also be made from the colours of the surrounding materials!! A dark floor will absorb the heat, become warmer and in turn heat the air. Light colours and shiny surfaces will tend to reflect the heat away.

As a rule of thumb, for shortwave infrared heaters, we recommend 1kW of power per 4M2 in sheltered areas and 3M2 in more exposed areas. This should be enough heat to cope for the warmer 8 months of the year.

Example: you have a sheltered patio of 3m x 4M. 3 x 4 = 12M2. Divide this by 3 or 4 and it tells you that between 3kW and 4kW is needed. This might be one big heater or perhaps 2 x 2kW heaters?

What clearance do I need around the Patio Heater?

We advise 300mm clear air above most heaters as a minimum, however, they do need airflow around them and, if mounted in a tight corner such as in the apex of a roof or top of a slanting awning, at least 500mm is recommended above.

Which stand is the best?

Patio heater stands are constantly evolving and we pride ourselves in offering a good range from which to choose. Stainless steel always looks great, however, high quality stainless steel is expensive and we will not use the cheaper grades as they will not last long enough outdoors. Other stands are best chosen by how they will look in your setting as they are all sturdy with heavy bases for stability.

Can I put a double Patio Heater on a stand?

Up to 3kW - Yes. Bigger than this will usually require a special electrical connection done by your electrician OR two leads from the heater going to two separate plug sockets. This is usually not ideal for a heater on a stand, however, call us to discuss your exact requirements.

Can I install on a fence, wooden post, wooden pergola (all about the wood)?

Yes. Our heaters are safe as long as mounted in accordance with our instruction manuals and using the brackets provided. They will not harm wood above or behind them, however, the constant warmth might discolour some surfaces - especially those painted in lighter colours.

What if it's raining, can I install heaters anywhere?

Many heaters are specifically designed to run in very wet environments and you will find several on this site that have IP ratings. An IP rating is a certificated confirmation that the particular unit is capable of working in either a dusty or wet environment. Any rating ending in a 4 or 5 i.e. IP65 is effectively completely weather resistant and can be installed in almost any outdoor situation.

Can the heaters be wired together or must they all be individual and how do I know if I can put a plug on and use it on a normal 13A socket?

If in doubt, always seek the advise of a qualified electrician, however, as a general rule, a standard 13A plug socket can take up to 3kW of heaters. That can be 4 x 750W Tansun Carnival, 2 x Helios Top 1.5kW or anything else as long as the total wattage is below 3kW. Once you go above 3kW it is necessary for a qualified electrician to wire a suitably rated spur and for him to connect the heaters up to it along with any switches required.

Environment and Economy

How environmentally sound are electric infrared patio heaters, especially compared with gas patio heaters?

Electric heating is safe, sound, odourless, silent and emission free. It is 100% efficient unlike gas heaters which lose approximately 70% of their heat by way of emissions into the air. Quartz infrared heaters direct their energy into a beam that only heats the objects it touches rather than heating the air in between.

Will the heat affect my plants/flowers?

There are two ways of looking at this.

If a heater is pointing directly at a plant, it will be heated in the same way as you or I will be. If it’s a few meters away and not over a very prolonged period, then most plants can tolerate additional heat like they can on a sunny hot day. If the plant is closer, it might well get scorched by the intensity of the heat.

Other problems occur from the heater body itself becoming hot. This will effect plants growing immediately around it and especially above.

What is the cost of running an outdoor infrared heater?

This depends on the power of your heater, however, as an example a 1.5kW heater will cost on average 15p per hour. A good estimate is 10p per kW per hour per lamp.

Are infrared patio heaters dangerous and do they give off any fumes or radiation?

No they are not dangerous and they do not give of any smells, fumes, radiation harmful rays. They are of course hot and should never be positioned where children or intoxicated patrons might behave inappropriately!

Can infrared patio heaters effect my skin and give me a tan or sunburn?

No, there is no risk of this whatsoever. Sun tans are derived from the UV spectrum of light whilst our systems all use infrared light. This is the same light that warms your skin from the sun and is completely safe.

Maintenance

How long will the lamps last?

5,000 to 7,000 hours is what most high quality lamps should be good for, however, there are many outside factors that can shorten this quite considerably. The lamps are halogen and will damaged by something as innocuous as a fingerprint. They will not stand up to any impact, so, being dropped, hit with a football, or even a bird flying into one will most likely kill it.

Other lamps failing early can be caused by cigarettes being lit from the lamp, fat splashes from BBQ’s, bird poo on the lamp or leaves and other detritus blowing or falling onto or very close the it.

What sort of maintenance is required and how long do the bulbs last?

A standard lamp should last from 5,000 to 7,000 hours of use. Ie if used for 5 hours per day every day of the year, the lamp will last between 3 and 4 years before it needs replacing!

There is no essential maintenance needed, however, there are a few recommended things you can do to extend the life of your system. On glass fronted units, it is recommended that after the 1st hour of use the glass is removed and the reflector behind wiped clean. This is a one off procedure that will extend the life and quality of heat emitted from the lamp. Also, slow start switches are said (by the manufacturers) to increase the life of the lamp by up to 30%.

Commercial Use

Can I make a profit from infrared patio heaters?

We now sell a coin operated switch ideal for outside a premises where smokers might gather. This will allow the owner to charge whatever tariff he/she feels appropriate. An example is that a standard 2kW unit will cost approx 10P per hour to run in electricity. If charging perhaps £1 for 15 minutes usage, this equates to a profit of £3.90/hr per heater. For a few smokers in winter, £1 is not a lot to keep warm and 100 hours use will pay for the whole system!!!

Which heaters are best suited for commercial or retail environments, such as pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars?

Like most things, quality costs more, however, it also tends to last longer! Please call us with your specific needs and we will recommend whatever is appropriate.