A gas-fired heater is an obvious choice and has the benefit of being easy to operate, effective over a generous distance and provides instantaneous heat. Unsurprisingly this outdoor heating option is popular with restaurants and, like an espresso machine, people now want one at their own house.
The increasing popularity of this type of outdoor heating has created significant economies of scale, to the point where they are an increasingly attractive option. Tall and slim, they fit into most areas comfortably and emit a radiant heat of up to 5m. Gas can come from a fixed line to the household supply, but more commonly from a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder.
A 9kg LPG cylinder lasts around 10 hours, with heat output measured in megajoules (mJ) per hour, so the higher the number the greater heat emitted. With that in mind, these kinds of heaters vary from 20mJ to 40mJ, providing radiant heat between 3 and 5 metres. Another advantage of these larger models is that the heat source is 2-3 metres above the ground, making them ideal where children or pets are concerned. Alternatively, the smallest version at 12mJ is designed to sit on the table and emits a gentle heat felt by those sitting half a metre away.
Safety tip – when entertaining on a verandah or covered outdoor area allow a clearance of at least 600mm from the top of the heater to the ceiling surface above, and don’t place them too close to walls or fences.