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January 19, 2021

Outdoor Heater Safety Tips

close up of hooded propane outdoor heater

Staying home is one of the safest things we can be doing to protect ourselves and our families from the pandemic. But staying at home doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. Sitting outside on a patio with a heater to keep the worst of the chill off while enjoying the fresh air is a great way to rid yourself of cabin fever.

Outdoor propane heaters are more affordable than you’d think, like this $138 heater currently on Amazon. Just like an indoor heater, however, there are steps you should take to ensure you keep your home and yourself safe. Here are some easy tips:

Keep A Safe Distance Away

Be sure to place your heater where it can provide you with heat but not put your safety at risk. Place the heater at least three feet from walls, furniture, curtains, cushions, ceilings, and clothing. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s suggested positioning before firing your unit up.

Set a Safety Zone

Children and pets can be easily burned if they get too close to your heater. Create a safety zone 3 feet around the heater that prevents them from brushing up against the heater.

Balance is Key

Make sure you place your heater on a level surface. If the door to the flame department falls open because the appliance is tilted, this can result in a fire.

Anchor Away

If you have pets, children, or are yourself a bit unsteady on your feet, it is a good idea to anchor your heater with weights or straps so it can’t be tipped over.

Check for Bubbles

Add a couple of drops of dish soap to a spray bottle with water and check for fuel leaks. Spray the hoses and connections and if you see bubbles form and pop, you probably have a fuel leak. Be sure to fix these before using your heater to prevent fire or flash explosion risks.

Lighting Safety

For units with out electric ignition, use a long candle or lighter to fire up your heater. If your unit still hasn’t caught after 4-5 minutes, turn it off and allow the gas to disperse before trying again. Read your owner’s manual carefully for correct lighting instructions and safety measures.

Extra Gas

If you are using a propane heater, make sure you store any extra tanks away from the heater. Propane tanks expand with heat, and excess heat can cause them to explode. Propane tanks should never be stored in your home, garage, or shed. They should be kept outdoors at all times.

In Case of Fire

Keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket nearby. For an electric heater, have a class C extinguisher on hand. For a gas heater, you’ll need a class B extinguisher. There are multipurpose extinguishers available that can handle both.

Turn It Off When You Step Away

You should never leave an outdoor heater unattended. Animals, pets, children, and wind can topple a heater, or the flame could be extinguished by wind and cause a dangerous build up of gas.

Wind is Not a Heater’s Friend

Wind can easily topple tall, hooded heater models or blow out the flame on other unit types. If winds over 10 mph are present, you should not use your heater. Not just for the falling risk, but also because the winds will dissipate and cool off the heat too quickly for your to have any benefit.

Anchor Away

If you have pets, children, or are yourself a bit unsteady on your feet, it is a good idea to anchor your heater with weights or straps so it can’t be tipped over.

When Not In Use

Correctly store your heater so you can keep bugs and debris from clogging connections, as well as prevent rust from forming.  Your heater can be disassembled and stored indoors in warmer months.

Stay safe, stay well.

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