Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Outdoor Heaters, Fire Pits and Chimineas

Whether or not you can believe it, fall is here! Now that temperatures are starting to drop at night you are probably looking for a way to heat your patio so that your outdoor fun and entertaining can continue. Here at Patio Products USA one of the most common questions we get is “How do I decide what’s going to work for my patio space?” The most important thing to consider when looking at patio products, particularly patio heaters, is how they will be used and where they will be used. Do you need something that is portable or are you okay with keeping the heater stationary? Do you have access to outlets, or do you require a gas or propane powered patio heater. How large of an area do you need to heat and how much heat output do you need? How often will you be using it? How important is operating cost? Are you trying to create a particular decorative aesthetic for your outdoor space? Once you’ve answered these questions take a look at the pros and cons of outdoor patio heaters, patio fire pits and chimineas to determine which device will best fit your needs.

Outdoor Heaters

Outdoor patio heaters can run on electricity, propane, or natural gas. While some models of electric, propane, and natural gas heaters may look similar, they can vary greatly in their usage, features, and applications.

Electric Patio Heaters

Electric heaters use radiant heat, which warms objects and people, not the air around them. This means that electric heaters are very efficient and heat up quickly for frequent use. Because electric heaters do not run off burning gases or wood they do not have any emissions, which is better for the environment and also provides a pleasant experience for people and pets nearby.

• Pros- Heats up quickly, good for frequent use, eco friendly, generally has the lowest operating cost

• Cons- Only heats small areas, restricted in where they can be used ( because they require a power outlet or mounting system)

Propane Heaters

Propane patio heaters are self-contained and highly mobile, making them a popular choice for restaurants, cafes, and large home patios. An outdoor propane patio heater can come in the form of a large “umbrella-style” heater or small tabletop version for camping or tailgating.
• Pros- Highly mobile, heats large areas, has a high heat output

• Cons- Have to remember to buy propane before using

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

Natural gas heaters can be installed on large patios by running a gas connection. Popular with restaurants and cafes, these heaters have become increasing popular on large home patios to accent outdoor kitchens and achieve an upscale aesthetic.

• Pros- Ties into gas lines so you don’t have to go out and buy gas to fuel it, heats large areas, has a high heat output

• Cons- Not very mobile, usually more expensive than other kinds of heaters, can go out in high wind environments

Fire Pits and Fire Tables

Fire pits and fire pit tables are more popular than ever because of the charming decorative element that they can add to an outdoor space. Fire pits provide a camp-fire look and feel that is just as good as the real thing. A gas fire pit may be even better than a real camp fire because you get all of the s’more roasting benefits of a real campfire without any of the hassle of wood gathering or cleanup! Whether you’re entertaining guests, relaxing with a glass of wine, or roasting marshmallows with the kids, an outdoor fire pit can provide great ambiance and bring the excitement of camping to your backyard year-round.

• Pros- Decorative and aesthetically appealing, more mobile than a chiminea, can sustain a large fire, provides a fun campfire feel, very affordable

• Cons- Can be dangerous for kids and pets if unattended, doesn’t retain heat as well as a heater or chiminea

Chimineas

Originally from Mexico, chimineas have now made their way across the southwest United States and Central America. Chimineas are becoming more popular across North and South America, particularly on smaller patio spaces. Because of the way chimineas are shaped, the smoke output is released upward and the heat that they provide can only be felt on one side. This means that chimineas are ideally situated on the edge of a patio space so that smoke is released away and heat can be directed toward the center of the patio. Chimineas, however, unlike heaters or fire pits, have a tendency to require more maintenance.

• Pros- Retains heat well, smoke blows upward, adds a decorative cultural element, highly affordable

• Cons- Directional heat output, requires regular maintenance (sealing and cleaning), can be cumbersome to move because of its shape, tends to be more fragile than a fire pit

About the Author: Derrick Riley is a Managing Partner at Patio Products USA, a subsidiary of Neighbors Marketing specializing in patio products and accessories for the home and commercial use. Patio Products USA specializes in outdoor heating products, including a wide selection of authentic chimineas, outdoor fire pits and garden patio heaters. in all shapes and sizes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Enjoy Your Patio Furniture Year Round

If you enjoy spending time outdoors with family and friends, patio furniture is a very wise investment. The right furniture will not only allow you to entertain in your outdoor space, but it will also enhance the visual appeal of your yard or patio. Good quality patio furniture will enhance the value your property, not to mention your quality of life.

The biggest impediment to enjoying your outdoor space is the weather, so it's important to equip your yard or patio for your climate zone and seasonal weather shifts. Accessories like garden umbrellas and yard misters can stave off summer heat, while patio heaters, chimineas and outdoor fire pits ensure you can relax comfortably in the cooler months. Incorporating these useful patio products into your outdoor space will allow you to enjoy yourself year round.

Patio Products for Sunny Days

If you live in a climate zone where temperatures exceed 80 degrees, it is worth investing in some sort of shading. A good quality market patio umbrella will protect you and your patio furniture from prolonged exposure to direct sun, which can result in discomfort, sunburns and faded furniture. Garden umbrellas come in a variety of colors and patterns that can visually transfer your outdoor space. Power base patio umbrellas, such as the Milano Pro Offset Umbrella, are exceptionally easy to use and transport because they have a built in rotating device with foot pedal and two built in hand grips for easy lifting. These top of the line patio umbrellas will keep you cool while you enjoy your light meal or summer cocktail on the patio. If you want to spruce up your patio and extend your patio furniture usage into the night, consider purchasing the auto-tilt patio umbrella with LED lights that provide a soft night time glow.

Patio Products for Chilly Mornings or Evenings

Some of the most enjoyable times to be outdoors are dawn, dusk and nighttime. Early morning coffee on the patio is perhaps one of the best ways to start the day, and nothing beats a cool winter night, wrapped in a blanket under the stars. These moments, while beautiful, can be prohibitively chilly without the right patio products. An outdoor patio heater will allow you, your family and friends to comfortably enjoy your outdoor space, even when there is snow on the ground. There are a wide variety of patio heaters available, ranging in size, composition and price. Choose from gas, electric and propane patio heaters depending on your specific needs. A high value option is the stainless steel outdoor patio heater by patio comfort. This heavy duty infrared patio heater has easy on and off tank access and adjustable heat output, so you can set it at the perfect temperature for you and your guests. Hanging patio heaters are a popular choice among restaurants and hotels. These ceiling mounted patio heaters provide significant warmth without taking up valuable patio space. Wall mounted patio heaters are also an efficient patio heater choice. The Fire Sense wall mounted infrared patio heater operates at 90% efficiency and is substantially less expensive to operate than propane patio heaters. Whichever choice you make, turn on your new patio heater and stay warm while enjoying a relaxing drink or dinner outside.

Using a fire pit is another way to stay warm while spending time on your patio at night or in the cooler months. Patio fire pits provide a traditional, rustic appeal as well as warmth to your patio and come in a variety of unique designs. Fire pits offer both style and functionality and often become the focal point of the social gathering. Choose a design that reflects your personality, style or heritage. All of the high quality fire pits bring warmth during the winter months, but can be used year round for enjoyment and d├ęcor.

About the Author: Derrick Riley is a Managing Partner at Patio Products USA, a subsidiary of Neighbors Marketing specializing in patio products and accessories for the home and commercial use. Patio Products USA is one North America’s largest distributors of products to improve outdoor entertaining, including a wide selection of patio furniture covers, patio fire pits and garden patio heaters.