How do electric patio heaters work?
Electric infrared heaters convert electricity into infrared heat via a heating element or lamp. This heat is transmitted by electromagnetic waves through the air until it reaches an object (they do not heat the air itself). The objects (and that includes us humans) absorb the electromagnetic waves which has the effect of warming us. It is similar to the heat transfer from the sun, but due to the lower intensity there are no harmful effects such as UV. Infrared is completely safe.
Infrared is a form of light and just like light, it travels in straight lines and reduces over distance. So like a light bulb, the closer you are to it, the more of the infrared heat is absorbed by you and the warmer you feel. The further away, the less of it reaches you and the colder you feel.
In terms of your comfort outdoors, you can compensate for feeling cold by having several heaters, hotter heaters or being closer to the heater. These are the main things you can adjust.
How do I work out how many or what size I need?
We give a heated area guide for each heater, but this is a guideline only and the area covered will depend on the ambient temperature, level of wind and mounting height. As a general rule, any cover (whether temporary or permanent), such as an awning will help to keep the area warmer and cosier, and the more shelter in terms of walls or wind blocks that exist, the better. Even though you are still absorbing the heat from the heater, a cold wind will prevent you from properly feeling the benefit – just like the effect that a chilly wind has on a sunny day.
How much do they cost to run?
The amount of electricity consumed by a patio heater is measured by its wattage (power). So a 1000W (or 1kW) heater will consume 1kW of electricity per hour that it is running. The average price of 1 kWh of electricity in the UK is currently about 15 pence. So, a 2000W (2kW) heater will cost 2 x 15p = 30p per hour to run. For heaters with different heat settings the usage could be lower than the stated wattage (for example our 2000W California has a half power setting, so on half power would only consume 1kWh of electricity on this setting).
Are they bad for the environment?
When powered by clean, renewable electricity we believe that our outdoor heaters provide a sustainable way to allow people to enjoy time outdoors with zero harmful fumes, air pollution or CO2 emissions. The majority of the components in our heaters are metal and a very high percentage (c.95%) can be recycled at end of life. They are designed to last and there are no harmful chemicals used in the production process, or in the heaters.