Types of Patio Heaters Explained

During winter months people often find themselves trapped indoors because of the cold. Break the cabin fever and get outdoors sooner with the investment of a patio heater. They are a great way to make your deck, patio or other outdoor space a more desirable during fall and spring months allowing you to get more from your outdoor areas.

Patio Heater Types:

Floor or Free Standing Patio Heaters

Floor Patio Heater

These heaters are similar to what you would often see in a bar or restaurant patio and are by far the most popular type of patio heater, and the most common type of floor and free standing patio heaters utilize propane as the fuel source. They are convenient because they can be easily set up just about anywhere outside as long as they have a source of fuel. They are typically made of 4 basic parts: base, pole, heat source and reflector.

The base prevents the unit from falling over and can double as a storage compartment for a propane tank if it is a propane heater. The pole extends the heat source upward so that the heat coverage is greater. The heat source or heater itself it rated by BTU (British Thermal Unit). The higher the BTU the more heat output the heater will be able to offer. Gas powered heaters offer the highest BTU range with some of them rated at 45,000 BTUs or higher. The reflector prevents the loss of heat upward by reflecting the heat back down to the area surrounding the heater. Not all floor heaters have a reflector, but those that do not usually have a moveable heat source that can directed to the area you would like to heat. These heaters can be fueled by propane, electricity or natural gas.

Tabletop Patio Heaters

Tabletop Patio Heater

Tabletop heaters are a great centerpiece to your patio table offering warmth while you and your guests sit and chat. They often look like miniature versions of the floor or free standing patio heaters and some are even made to look like outdoor table lamps, which, like the floor heat lamps extends your indoor living space to the outdoors. These have the same basic parts as their larger free standing patio heater counterparts, they however, being smaller have a lower BTU range and therefore are not able to heat as large of an area. These heaters can be fueled by propane or electricity. The most common version is electric.

Wall-Mounted Patio Heaters

Wall-Mounted Patio Heater

Wall-mounted heaters are an easy way to have a heat source that is up and out of the way allowing you enjoy your patio to the fullest.

These are a great alternative if you need a heater but do not have the space for one. They are usually electric and use infrared heat to warm up your patio. They come with wall mount brackets and they often are able to tilt up or down so that you can point the heater in the direction needed.

Patio Heater Fuel Types:

Propane Patio Heaters

Propane is the most commonly used fuel source for patio heaters. Propane comes in easily portable tanks and therefore makes for the most versatile heater since you can place the heater just about anywhere. Because of their portability, many propane heaters come with or have a wheel kit that is purchased separately for ease of mobility. Propane heaters have a place for the propane tank to be stored in the base so the tank is out-of-sight and does not take up room on your patio.

Most require a standard 20 pound propane tank, but smaller propane heaters, such as the propane tabletop heaters will take a smaller propane tank. Once the fuel runs out, you simply purchase another propane tank and connect it. Propane tanks can usually be found at your local grocery store, and rather than refilling, empty tanks can be exchanged for full tanks at a discounted price.

Propane patio heaters are started using an ignition switch that is typically a Piezo or multi-spark ignition system. There is no electrical connection needed for the ignition switch. You simply press or turn the ignition switch and a spark is created to ignite the gas and therefore turn on the heater. These heaters have a higher BTU range than most of their electric counterparts and therefore can heat a larger area.

Electric Patio Heaters

If you don’t want to worry about buying or refilling propane tanks and do not have access to natural gas, electric heaters are a great alternative as long as your heater will be close to a power source. With these heaters you simply plug them in and turn them on. They typically have weather resistant hardware, but it is recommended to have them in a more sheltered location when they are plugged in. There are electric versions of all the different styles of patio heaters: Floor, tabletop or wall mounted. Electric heaters are by far the simplest type of patio heater, but they do not typically offer the same heating capacity as their gas powered counterparts so they are better for small areas.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

If you have an outdoor natural gas outlet then you have the ability to use a natural gas patio heater in your outdoor space. These, like the propane outdoor heaters, offer a higher BTU range and therefore can heat a larger space. For these heaters, you simply connect the heater to your natural gas outlet. There is no worry of running out of fuel, like with propane heaters. To turn on these units there is an ignition switch that is typically a Piezo or multi-spark ignition system. There is no electrical connection needed for the ignition switch. You simply press or turn the ignition switch and a spark is created to ignite the gas and therefore turn on the heater. Natural gas heaters are the rarest fuel type for patio heaters and are typically a floor or freestanding patio heater.

Outdoor patio heaters are a great way to extend the use of your outdoor space. They can extend the life of your outdoor living area by one or two months in cooler climates and can be utilized year around in warmer climates. The heater you choose depends on your space and needs but the result is the same: a warm space outdoors for friends and family to enjoy.

What Are Gel Fireplaces?

As the name implies, gel fireplaces are fireplaces that use a specialty gel as a source of fuel. This can refer to an existing fireplace that has been modified for gel use, or a fireplace that has been specifically built and installed with gel use in mind. Either way, the use of gel fireplaces allows homeowners to have a method at their disposal in which they can have an indoor fire even without the normal ventilation required by a traditional fireplace.

Gel Fireplace

Gel fireplaces are ideal for individuals who do not have a fireplace in their home, or for those who wish to have a more efficient and environmentally friendly option.

Let’s take a closer look at what gel fireplaces are, to help you decide if it’s the right type of fireplace for you and your home.

Gel Fireplace Functionality

A gel fireplace is a very clean option in terms of its function. The gel itself burns very clean and does not require the use of a ventilation system, nor does it give off any unpleasant odors. The fireplace that is used for gel usually includes several ceramic logs or other materials to mimic the look of a traditional fireplace, just as many fireplace inserts do. The gel can then be placed in the rear of the fireplace for combustion. The gel comes in canisters, and as many as three of these canisters can be placed in the fireplace at a time, allowing users to have a relatively long-lasting fire.
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How to Remove Cigarette Smoke From Your Indoor Air

At this point, we all know that smoking isn’t good for your health. You also probably know that breathing in the smoke that comes off of cigarettes, whether or not you’re the one smoking, can be just as dangerous. If you are concerned about the impact of lingering cigarette smoke in your home, or just tired of your home smelling like an ashtray, there are many things you can do to get rid of the smoke and odor.

Cigarette

Let’s take a look at the dangers of secondhand smoke, as well as a few methods you can follow to remove smoke from your indoor air. It’s time to clear the air and start breathing easier once again.

The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the combined effect of the smoke that comes off the actual end of a cigarette and the smoke that a smoker exhales. While people who smoke don’t necessarily intend to harm those around them, this is what they are doing when they smoke, especially indoors.

Secondhand smoke can contribute to lung cancer, emphysema, and a variety of other illnesses. This is because secondhand smoke contains nearly 4,000 chemical compounds, many of which are known to cause these diseases, clog a person’s airways, and even trigger asthma attacks. Because of these effects, it is essential that you are diligent about controlling the amount of smoke in your home.
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7 Benefits of a Humidifier in the Cold Winter Months

Why Humidify?

During the cold winter months, many ailments may become pronounced due to the cold dry air. Even in climates where there is moisture in the outside air, the heating systems in your home and office tend to dry the interior air, which may lead to problems for many.

Humidifiers can be a great solution for many of these winter-related problems. Here’s seven benefits that come along with using a humidifier in your home or office during these cold, winter months.

1. Helps Prevent the Spread of Airborne Viruses

A recent study found that raising indoor humidity levels to at least 43% had a dramatic effect on approximately 85% of airborne viruses, rendering them them virtually ineffective. As a result, researchers are now contemplating increasing the humidity levels in hospitals across the nation, as an extra method of protecting doctors, nurses and visitors from also getting sick.

Moisture has the ability to prevent the movement of germs, as they combine with this moisture and simply drop. This happens because the airborne particles are now too heavy to float around in the air. In turn, this helps prevent the spread of many illnesses, including influenza. This is precisely why one of the main benefits of a humidifier is increasing the overall humidity levels in a room or in a home.
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8 Ways to Reduce the Symptoms of Pet Dander

Families all across the world have pets. They’re our family. We live with them, cuddle with them and simply find joy in having them around. My dog has been with me for over ten years now. She’s part of my family. There is a very real connection many people have with their pets emotionally. Unfortunately, these lovable fur-balls can also cause your allergies to go haywire.

Pet Dander Allergies

Pet allergies are a real problem for people. With these tips, you can reduce the symptoms associated with pet dander and get back to loving and caring for your pet.

What Causes Pet Allergies?

Pet allergies are a fairly common occurrence for many Americans. It is often thought that these allergies are due to the hair of the animals. However, this is not the case. Generally, the reactions people have to pets are from the skin scales of the animal. As they shed their old skin, the dander can get into your eyes, nose, or throat and irritate them. Since the dander is so small, you can’t always see it and it is easily transferable.
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5 Ways to Control Your Asthma Symptoms

How to Control Asthma

If you or a loved one suffers from asthma, then you’re probably already well aware of just how much it can affect your quality of life. From a decreased ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, to the development of serious health problems, asthma has the power to create a myriad of challenges for those afflicted by it.

However, regardless of whether your asthma symptoms are mild or severe, there are certain precautions you can take to help keep them under control. With the right prevention plan for “asthma triggers,” you can manage your symptoms and prevent an asthma attack from occurring.

Here are the five most common ways you can control your asthma symptoms.
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10 Houseplants That Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Today, January 10th, is “Houseplant Appreciation Day”. In honor of this little-known holiday, we wanted to take a closer look at the top ten houseplants that have the ability to naturally improve the air quality in your home.

All of these indoor houseplants were analyzed by NASA in 1989. They found that each had a unique way to naturally cleanse the air of toxins that have a negative effect to your health. To read the full report from NASA, please visit this link. In case you didn’t want to read through NASA’s paper, we’ve summarized the top ten houseplants that act as natural air purifiers.

If you don’t have an air purifier in your home, or just want to take extra precautions, we would recommend adding a few of these houseplants to the most important areas of your home. It’s a great first step to improving the air quality inside your home.

1. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

Spathiphyllum - Peace Lily

Often referred to as a Peace Lily, this beautiful evergreen plant is widely regarded to be easy to care for, even for those that don’t have a green thumb. They require very little light or water to remain healthy, which is one of the main reasons why they’re one of the most popular plants to keep in your home. In fact, Spathiphyllum should never be put in direct sun light, as the rays of sun may lead to leaf burn. While they are great to have inside your home, they also work remarkably well as a groundcover around your home, especially in areas where grass is hard to grow because of the shade.

NASA’s analysis of indoor houseplants revealed that the Peace Lily was the most efficient at removing airborne Volatile Organic Compounds, including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene. Simply put it in a dark corner, give it water once a week and this little plant will help purify the air around that general area.
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Should You Rent or Buy a Dehumidifier? A Comparison Guide

A dehumidifier is a sophisticated piece of machinery that may sometimes come with a substantial price tag. A 50-pint unit can run in the range of $300 to $600, while larger capacity units can cost well into the thousands. On the flip side, it costs only 40 to 50 dollars a day to rent a large dehumidifier. Many of your local Home Improvement stores, as well as some water damage specialists, give you the opportunity to rent commercial-grade dehumidifying equipment on a daily basis or as part of a restoration contract.

Edgestar Dehumidifier

Before your rush out and spend a bunch of money, there are several factors you need to consider to determine the best option for your situation. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of whether you should rent or buy a dehumidifier.

Experience & Understanding

Before you decide whether you should rent or buy, you need to ask evaluate your full understanding of the functions and mechanics of dehumidifiers. Start by learning the benefits and limitations of the different types of units. Dehumidifiers work by removing moisture from the air with desiccant material or a refrigerant condenser. Both types are capable of doing the job, but desiccant models are more expensive to operate but work quickly. Refrigerant models have buckets that you must empty regularly. Though less expensive to purchase, these require more user effort during times of high demand.
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The Hidden Health Dangers of Dust Mites

Dust Mite

Although dust mites are tiny creatures, they can cause big trouble for people who suffer from asthma and allergic reactions. These microscopic bugs share living quarters with humans and animals, feeding on the invisible flakes of dead skin that are shed every day. If a dust mite infestation is not treated properly, it can lead to wheezing, asthma attacks, and other health problems.

This quick guide can help you learn more about the health dangers of dust mites and how you can avoid the ill effects that sometimes come along with them.

Why Are Dust Mites So Common?

In almost every place where humans live and work, you can also find a few dust mites lurking around. You won’t see them, but they’re undoubtedly there. They are tiny bugs, barely a hundredth of an inch in length, looking like tiny specks of dust to the unaided eye. After they feed on small pieces of organic matter, like tiny flakes of dead skin, they produce microscopic particles of waste that can cause severe allergic reactions in sensitive people.
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INFOGRAPHIC: 18 Safety Tips For Portable Space Heaters

Winter is here. Along with the lower temperatures outside, comes the high energy cost of keeping you warm inside your home. To help cut these costs, many people turn to portable space heaters to keep them warm. These supplemental heaters work great at keeping you warm, but if used improperly, they may also pose a hazard to you and your family.

Embed this Infographic:

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 33% of all home heating fires in America, plus a whopping 81% of the deaths from those fires, are due to the improper use of portable space heaters. In the year 2011 alone, the NFPA reports that there were approximately 53,600 home fires, plus 400 deaths and 1,500 injuries.

It’s precisely because of these numbers that we have compiled our top safety tips to keep in mind when you use your portable space heater. While these stats may seem daunting, keep in mind, there are millions of portable space heaters being used every year. By following the recommended guidelines below, you lower your overall risk of an accidental fire in your home and keep your family warm all at the same time.

Before you crank up your space heater for the season, make sure you read over our list of space heater safety tips.
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