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7 Safety Tips For Outdoor Patio Heaters

ERIE, Pa., Jan. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2020, many Americans spent as much time as possible outdoors. While we all love fresh air, the reason is a bit more obvious: COVID-19. Now that the temperatures have dropped, and a new year has arrived, many people are still looking for ways to stay safe and comfortable outdoors. But how can you keep warm? One solution – outdoor patio heaters.

Stay safe and warm with this season's hottest accessory - the outdoor patio heater.

Whether you choose propane, electric or natural gas, patio heaters can be dangerous if not used correctly. Erie Insurance offers tips to make sure you are heating your favorite outdoor space safely.

  1. Give it space. To prevent fire hazards, keep your heater a safe distance away from walls, ceilings, furniture, carpet or any other flammable material. Experts recommend providing three feet of clearance around all sides of the heater, unless otherwise specified by the heater's manufacturer.
  2. Find a level spot. Only use your patio heater on a flat, level surface. Placing your heater on an incline could cause it to roll or tip over, creating both a fire and burn hazard.
  3. Check for leaks. When setting up a natural gas or propane patio heater, always conduct a thorough inspection to ensure there are no gas leaks. You can do this by applying a soapy water solution to your gas tank and hose connections. If you see bubbles rising from any connection points or smell gas, turn off the heater and tighten the connections. If you can't stop the leak, get your heater serviced before using it.
  4. Light it safely. When lighting up a gas patio heater, always follow the manufacturer's instructions. While most heaters have an electric ignitor button, others may require you to light the pilot manually. If so, use a candle or grill lighter that allows you to start the flame from a safe distance. If you can't get the burner to light right away, turn off the heater and wait at least five minutes. Then try again. This will prevent gas buildup, which could lead to an explosion or flash burn.
  5. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Even if you follow every safety precaution, accidents can still happen. That's why it's wise to always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Just make sure the fire extinguisher you buy is the right class for your patio heater's fuel source (Class B for gas; Class C for electric; or a multipurpose extinguisher for both).
  6. Watch it carefully. Never leave a patio heater running while unattended. Be sure to keep kids and pets a safe distance away at all times to prevent burns. And avoid using your heater when winds exceed 10 miles per hour – the heater could blow over, or the flame could blow out.
  7. Cover it up. Correctly storing your heater when it's not in use will prevent it from getting clogged with bugs and debris, and also prevent rust. You can purchase a custom cover to protect your heater when it's not being used. If you won't be using it for several months, it's a good idea to disassemble it and store the heater indoors. Just be sure to leave the propane tank outside. Propane should never be stored indoors — even in a shed or garage.

No matter what kind of heating source you use, keep a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in the same room. Set a reminder to test the batteries regularly too. Something else that can give you peace of mind – having the right homeowners insurance. 

Learn about homeowners insurance from ERIE or find a local ERIE agent in your neighborhood to get a free quote.

Erie Insurance Group

According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 11th largest homeowners insurer and 12th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 16th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has more than 6 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Family Life Insurance Company is rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company. Life insurance policies not written in New York state. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company.

News releases and more information about Erie Insurance Group are available at


Erie Insurance. (PRNewsFoto/Erie Insurance) (PRNewsfoto/Erie Insurance)

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