Install your own terrace heating

Autumn has been in the country for a few weeks and the gardening season is almost over. But that doesn’t mean we have to stay inside. With terrace heating you can enjoy the outdoors in your own garden all year round.

What type of patio heater to choose?

You can heat your terrace with electricity or gas, and in both cases you have the choice between different options.

Electric patio heater

Most people go for electric patio heating. Electric patio heaters work with infrared heat and there are two different types.

  • Clear heaters. Halogen heaters and so-called Golden tube heaters use shortwave infrared, so that the heat remains tangible, even when there is wind. Clear heaters are the most efficient form of electric patio heating, but they radiate a bright glow, which not everyone can appreciate.
  • Carbon heaters, also called heat strips, are the stylish alternative. These narrow dark elements do not light up and do not catch the eye. Because they mainly spread long-wave infrared, they are less suitable for windy places.

Installing an electric terrace heater

Terrace heaters for mounting to the wall or ceiling are supplied with a mounting bracket. In the most favorable case – when a power point is present – you only need a screw gun for the installation. In other cases you will have to pull a cable, or it may be necessary to have an extra group installed in the meter cupboard

The best place

An electric patio heater is usually attached to the outside wall or ceiling of the porch. The best suspension height depends on the capacity of the heater. As a guideline you can assume:

  • 1400 to 1500 Watt: approx. 210 centimeters above the ground
  • ± 2000 Watt: approx. 250 centimeters above the ground
  • ± 3000 Watt: approx. 270 to 300 centimeters above the ground

Other considerations for placement are:

  • The direction of the radiation. Attach the heater so that it radiates to your favorite seat. Just think of an early spring day when you turn your face to the sun to feel the pleasant warmth.
  • Fire safety. When using the supplied bracket, the heater will be at a safe distance from the wall or ceiling. It is preferable not to install patio heaters on a plastic surface, as this can deform due to the heat.
  • Water tightness. Not every electric patio heater can withstand moisture as well. The IP value stated on the package provides information about this. If the protection against moisture is 4 or higher, you can simply leave it hanging outside in the rain.

How much heat do you need?

The heat output that you need to enjoy your terrace even on chilly days depends on various factors, such as the surface to be heated, the type of heating and the protection against wind. You may need to install multiple heaters. 
Tip: Hang them no further than about 80 centimeters apart, then they reinforce each other instead of working separately and you enjoy a more intense heat where the rays overlap.

A few examples of the power required to heat terraces of various sizes:

  • 7 m²: 1 heater of 1500-2000 Watt
  • 6-12 m²: 1 heater of 2000 Watt or 2 of 1500 Watt
  • 10-16 m²: 2 heaters of 1500 Watt or 3 of 1000 Watt

What about my electrical installation?

A standard home installation has groups of 16A. You can connect devices with a total capacity of 3600 Watt to one such group. If you install a terrace heater of 2000 Watt, you probably won’t have to change anything about your installation. When using a heater with a larger capacity or several heaters, it may be necessary to reserve a group exclusively for the terrace heating.

Gas heating

Where electric patio heating emits a heat that can be compared with that of the central heating, gas heating is reminiscent of a fire. Gas heaters warm up the air, and the gas flame provides an extra experience. There are gas heaters that run on natural gas and have a fixed connection, but models with a gas cylinder are more popular. The big advantage is the mobility: you can put them in every corner of the garden. The most sold gas heaters have a capacity between 7 and 15 kW.

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