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Buying patio heaters & lamps

To choose the patio heater or lamp that's right for you, consider these factors first:

  • What activities do you most use your patio area for?
  • How often do you use your patio, and for how long?
  • What is the size of the area you want to heat or light?

These questions will help you and your retailer determine the style, model and price range that work best for you.

Setting the mood

When choosing a lamp, decide if you'd like very bright light, or a subtle, ambient glow. A lamp with a mantle will provide a steady white light and tiki or torch style lamps will have the warm light of an open flame.

You can also choose between overhead or wall mounted and totem or floor models. See "Choosing the style" for more information.

Choosing the finish

Dark finishes keep your appliance looking clean, hiding dirt and carbon build-up from the open flame. Stainless steel can be more expensive, but it is longer lasting and more resistant to long-term weather wear.

Choosing the style

Natural gas appliances are connected to a constant gas supply – this may limit where you can place your heater or lamp. Standing or floor models can be moved as much as the hose allows. Choose a standing model if you think you'll change your floor plan in the future. If you have limited floor space or young children, you may prefer a mounted model – either on the wall or overhead.

Heat and power

An average non-commercial standing heater gives off 20,000 to 40,000 Btu (a measurement of heat). This will heat an area 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) in diameter around the source.

Tip – An average priced, good quality standing heater will heat about a 10 foot (3 m) diameter. For more flexibility and coverage, buy several and overlap the heated areas.

Tip – if you will be using your heater frequently (a few hours on most days), consider upgrading to a commercial grade, like you'd find on a restaurant patio. They last longer under constant use.

Safety first

Look for a model that includes these features:

  • Sturdy construction – the base should be heavy and solid glass should be double-strength rated.
  • Push button ignition – safer, easier and more efficient than using a match.
  • Automatic shut-off if the heater or lamp tips or falls.

And remember:

  • Never use your patio appliances indoors – for example, if your power goes out – because dangerous carbon monoxide will build up quickly.
  • Keep children, pets and combustibles away from hot surfaces.
  • Call FortisBC  if you suspect a leak or notice any abnormal odour from the heater.

All appliances approved for sale in Canada have been certified by the Canadian Standards Association – never use any gas appliances without a CSA seal.

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