Fall is officially here, but just because the sky is overcast and the nights are a bit chilly doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying your wood or composite deck. More and more homeowners are installing deck heaters to extend the use of a deck into fall and winter. The following are the best types of deck heaters you can buy and how to use them safely:
Types of Heaters
The most common types of deck heaters are gas heaters and come in two main varieties – propane and natural gas.
Propane heaters come in a variety of different sizes and styles, from small, wall-mounted models to large, free-standing models. As you can imagine, these types of heaters are connected directly to refillable tanks, much like a campground lantern or barbeque. Although the bigger models do give off quite a bit of heat, the warmth radius is limited. If you have a big deck, consider getting a few.
Natural gas deck heaters are almost as effective as propane heaters and are relatively easy to install. They tend to cost less than propane heaters, but they don’t give off as much heat. If you have a smaller deck, or live in an area that doesn’t get too terribly cold, a natural gas deck heater may be right for you.
Infrared deck heaters are a new technology that uses electricity instead of gas. Hailed as an environmentally friendly alternative to gas heaters, infrared heaters more efficiently transform energy into heat, meaning you use less energy warming your new cedar deck. Using an infrared deck heater also eliminates the possibility of a gas leak.
Deck Heater Safety
There are a number of important safety measures you should take when using a deck heater. They are:
1. When using a gas heater, always turn the gas off at both the heater and the tank. This reduces the chance of a gas leak.
2. Don’t smoke or have open flames around the heaters, especially if you have a more flammable decking material.
3. Clean the heaters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Don’t overuse deck heaters. Overuse can cause the heaters to break or malfunction.