Residential patio heaters, fall and spring in New England or similar climate: your experiences please.
I live in CT. Chimineas, firepits, etc. do not fit my lifestyle, but I would like to extend the use of my open deck a bit, so I am considering a propane-fueled patio heater like this one
. There are about a million websites that would like to sell me one, and not a lot of reviews or discussion from real-life people.
I am looking for something that would allow me to do the following: I wake up, decide to have breakfast on the deck, but it is chilly (I don’t expect this thing to help in real winter. Think spring/fall temps, maybe 40s and 50s). I run out and turn on the patio heater. I come back inside, take 5 or 10 minutes to fix breakfast, another couple minutes to layer on warm clothes. I go outside, and eat my breakfast while reading a book, without feeling uncomfortable or having my hands turn into useless claws. My cold tolerance is good, so I’m not looking for toasty, just not cold.
*Warm up time: how long after turning on such a heater should I expect to be able to feel its effects?
*Reliability: in the $200 price range that seems common for non-commercial units, how long can I expect this thing to last? If yours has broken, have you been able to get parts for it? How quickly will it rust? I will get a cover for it, but would prefer only to cover it during winter, since 1) I am lazy and if I have to take the cover off every time I will probably use it much less and 2) the thing is already huge, and it will be even huger and less attractive wrapped in a bag. Also on that point…
*Size: These things are big. My house is a shoebox and the deck is 10 x 20, with assorted furniture, umbrella, etc. If you have one, do you ever find the size overwhelming (mainly I mean visually. I know I have room for it, but do you ever look at your deck and wish you didn’t have to see the heater looming there)? I have seen table top units, but they seem likely to be underpowered for the task, and cost almost as much as the full size.
I have also seen electric-powered infrared heaters like this one
. I’ve only found a few reviews for various units, and they are leaning toward negative, so I don’t think it’s a contender, but if you have experience with one used outdoors please share. I am vaguely intrigued by the ‘draft proof heat” claim. The heating radius is smaller, but I don’t really need it to be all that big. Don’t love the fact that it’s electric, because I’d prefer not to have a cord, but it is more slender and attractive than a propane heater, and I have a deck outlet.