Are outdoor heaters expensive to operate?

Many of us will do anything to spend a little more time outdoors, and especially after sunset.  Chiller summer evenings and the winter weather, however, make it almost impossible to enjoy the natural setting. Many commercial businesses, including domestic properties, choose to have an outdoor patio heater installed to keep the space warm and comfortable. Although this does help keep everyone warm, many homeowners and businesses struggle with the cost of running the heaters. 

“Having proper insulation is so crucial for warmth so when you operate a heater outdoors it is easy to see why it needs to work harder and use more energy” says Oz Resort who specialise in creating outdoor apparel.

Most pub landlords and restaurant owners use these heaters to keep their customers entertained and comfortable, which in return, protects their profit margins. The cost of running the outdoor heater is considered a necessary evil considering the volatile economy and market conditions. Most homeowners are mindful of heating bills that may rise steeply after the patio heater is installed, hence might choose to use it occasionally.

Having a patio heater installed doesn’t however mean your utility bills will skyrocket. You can thus enjoy some warmth outdoors, even when the weather isn’t so welcoming. 

Are outdoor patio heaters expensive to run? You may ask. Here is what you need to know before making any conclusions. 

Running Costs

The cost of running an outdoor patio heater is dependent on how powerful your heater is and how much electricity costs in your area. Running costs will be even higher if the heater is always on.  Here are a few examples to help you understand better. 

Imagine you are using a 40,000 BTU gas patio heater. Its running cost would be approximately £0.36 on the hour.  If using an electric heater, then three 4KWh outdoor patio electric heaters would be required to heat the space effectively. This would translate to around £1.06 per hour. Electric outdoor patio heaters are also more advantageous than gas-powered ones for one reason; you don’t have to worry about upfront fuel costs. 

A 5-gallon propane tank can power a gas heater to provide 10 hours’ worth of heat, and at £12 per tank.  It will thus cost about $1.2 per hour for a propane outdoor patio heater to product 40,000 BTUs. This thus makes electric outdoor heaters more efficient and cheaper to run than gas-powered heaters. 

How To Save Money With Outdoor Patio Heaters

Cake topper expert Pearl tells us that, “Although you might not know this, outdoor patio heaters are quite affordable to run. These heaters heat up within a fraction of the time, hence you can heat the space in a matter of minutes. You can thus have the space warm and comfortable at the touch of a button. It would, therefore, be advisable to have a button switch conveniently installed for easy operation.” You might also want to have a motion sensor installed to activate the heater automatically whenever someone is within the vicinity. The motion sensor is a handy feature that helps switch the heater off automatically (if no one is around), hence saving your running costs. 

Thermostat control can also help control the outdoor heater as well. The thermostat can be adjusted to the preferred temperature based on the weather conditions outside. The thermostat feature, coupled with a motion sensor, can help reduce/prevent energy wastage hence save you lots of money in the long run. 

Outdoor Patio Heaters Vs Fireplaces And Traditional Fire Pits

Campbelltown Real Estate agent Chris Crescini says, “Some businesses/homeowners use traditional fireplaces and firepits to help keep their outdoor spaces warm. Although a viable option, this isn’t the most efficient or economical way to keep everyone warm. Fire Pits release gases that may release harmful gasses (such as carbon monoxide) to the environment. “ The flames and embers are a fire hazard too. Electric outdoor patio heaters, however, produce clean heat that can be adjusted to suit varying conditions.  Other factors that make patio heaters a better option include: 

  1. They aren’t messy: Most traditional fireplaces and fire pits can be a bother and quite demanding. You don’t have to worry about embers, ashes, wood, or any types of mess with an outdoor patio heater. 
  1. Controlled heating: Outdoor patio heaters provide controlled heat which can be adjusted to various levels. This also makes them much safer for you, children, and pets. 


Outdoor patio heaters are quite easy and safe to use. All you need to do is flip a switch to turn it ON and OFF, and even set a preferred temperature using the thermostat. Coupled with a motion sensor and/or a programmable thermostat, an outdoor patio heater can be quite efficient and cheap to run.

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