It’s always nice to be able to sit in the garden with friends on a hot summer’s day. The only problem is the fact that time moves so fast – after three bottles of red wine and a tapas dinner, it’s bound to be dark outside. It doesn’t mean that you’re ready to retreat inside, but you got rid of all your hippy kaftans and ponchos twenty years ago. It’s cold out, and Beaujolais doesn’t do anything for quaking limbs – bet you’re starting to wish you had a patio heater?
These days, outdoor heating solutions are cheap and stylish. Gone are the days when you had to have a spluttering, clanking tank of a heater sat on the patio – modern devices are sleek and well hidden if you prefer. They don’t need much maintenance and they’ll keep your guests warm well into the night, say the experts at Reader’s Digest. Who says you have to bring an early end to the party just because the sun has gone down? Here’s a guide to some of the best outdoor heating solutions.
Infrared heaters tend to be powered by electric, but they have the ability to warm a space without wasting energy. They have gained popularity of late because they’re much more efficient than a lot of other forms of outdoor heating. There are two main types of infrared heater – the wall unit and the portable unit which can usually be wheeled from room to room, or area to area. They’re very good value for money because they are specifically designed to heat large spaces very quickly, says About.com journalist Mariette Mifflin. It’s why they are very popular on construction sites. As you’d probably guess, they’re not always very pretty. Infrared heaters can be bulky, but the more modern devices tend to be a bit sleeker than they used to be.
There’s something awfully romantic about the idea of an outdoor fireplace, says Home Improvement journalist Craig Gibson. It’s the sort of thing that tends to pop up in cheesy Hollywood movies – right at the moment of an emotional proposal. You do not have to feel pressured into such ostentatious gestures, but you do have to realise that an open fireplace can be a bit of a pain to maintain. They’re very beautiful and atmospheric, but it’s your job to keep the fire burning. If you’re not willing to collect the coal or logs necessary to keep it burning, an open fireplace might not be the right choice for you. It’s also not advisable for those with pets and young children.
The most popular type of outdoor heater is the patio heater. It’s stylish, it’s great value for money and it can be used to heat any kind of space. Patio heaters aren’t one of the most efficient forms of outdoor heating, but they are very versatile. Most are gas powered, so they can be quite powerful when operated to full capacity. The main problem with gas powered patio heaters is that they’re so economically unfriendly – they’re really not the best choice for those looking to buy a heater that is kind to the environment. That being said, they do tend to be fairly inexpensive and they can be bought in almost any type of colour or design.
Stacey Cottingley writes for an international home furnishings magazine. She recommends www.bltdirect.com for a wide range of top quality outdoor heaters. Stacey can usually be found interviewing industry experts, or comparing fabric swatches in her office.
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