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What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using an Electric Patio Heater?

February 23, 2023 3 min read

Having a patio heater can help you enjoy the outdoors for longer, even in winter. These wonderful inventions provide an affordable source of heat for patios. But before you plug in, take a few minutes to refresh yourself on the most common mistakes you tend to make when using an electric patio heater in your everyday life - for your own safety and that of others in your home. Hopefully this will help you avoid repeating them.

Use Electric Patio Heater Safely

Place flammable sources near it
If you place heaters too close to piles of flammable items, they can catch fire. Items such as cardboard boxes, curtains or gift wrapping paper can start a fire, so the first thing you should do is make sure the electric patio heater is kept away from heat sources. This can be particularly problematic if your heating space is not too spacious, or if you have left it in a mess, as it can be difficult to find a safe place to put your appliance. Although it is not prone to catching fire from flames, you should not underestimate the high temperatures that can be generated by prolonged exposure.

Use it to dry clothes
It may be tempting to use an outdoor electric heater to heat your pajamas or to place the heater in front of a drying rack piled high with wet clothes, but it is best to stop this habit. Not only is this a potential fire hazard, but hanging wet laundry on the heater can affect its heating effect. As a basic fire precaution, make sure the heater is at least one meter away from curtains, tablecloths, wet clothes, bedding or any other material that can easily burn. For the same reason, you should not store items such as books, documents or furniture on top of the heater.

Plug it into an overloaded power strip or extension cord
Power outlets are designed to withstand a certain amount of voltage. When this limit is exceeded, your circuit breaker may trip and your equipment may suffer permanent damage. Many people use the single extension cord and power strip to charge their power tools, mobile phones, computers and freestanding electric patio heaters, which is a recipe for disaster. This is because most cords and power strips cannot withstand the use of high power heaters, which means they can be at risk of overheating, short circuiting or catching fire. This is because in some extreme cases, an overloaded circuit can even lead to a socket catching fire. Also be aware that loose wires can also pose a tripping hazard, which you want to avoid at all costs when you are around open hot surfaces.

Leave it unattended
Often children and animals are unpredictable. Always supervise children and pets around you when you turn on the outdoor electric patio heater. In homes with small children or pets, this also increases the risk of the heater being knocked over, or of children accidentally covering it with flammable objects. Pets in particular love the warmth emanating from the heater and are prone to snuggle up to it. Therefore, keep an eye on your heater throughout the day and do not leave it overnight if there is any risk of disturbance or contact with anything. If you are leaving the room for a period of time, turn it off. Even if you come from a family without pets or children, don't leave it unattended just to be safe.

 Leave the Electric Patio Heater Unattended

Put it on top of anything
Regardless of the height of your heater, do not try to place your heater on top of something to increase its height - especially not on something soft and flammable, such as a mat or cardboard box. If the heater topples over, it can easily cause a fire. Especially avoid placing electric patio heaters freestanding on grass or other uneven surfaces. Your heater could tip over, especially if you live in a windy area. In short, follow the one meter rule and place it on the flattest surface you can find.

Buying a patio heater can be a fantastic investment, allowing you to enjoy your patio almost all year round, not just in spring and summer. But there are so many things that can go wrong that it's important to keep track of all of them and take steps to prevent them from happening. Fortunately, you can run your electric outdoor heater safely in your home as long as you keep a few things in mind.

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