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Purely Shutters > Home > Blog > General > Alfresco Heating

Alfresco Heating

fire pit

The British summer is a curious beast. One minute we are promised a heatwave, the next there is a frost warning. After the driest April for over a decade, we had a decidedly soggy May and now have the coolest June. The much prophesised fine warm weather seems to be permanently 10 days away. However, we Brits are hardy souls and as long as there is no hint of actual rain, we start texting and calling our friends to arrange an impromptu BBQ.

Many of us use our patio’s, decked areas or gardens to entertain and unwind, but the cold evening air especially on those impromptu BBQ evenings, can kill the good atmosphere. Investing in a patio heater however could solve all your chilly problems but choosing the right one can be a tricky decision. There are many variations in style and power sources, from firewood or artificial logs, as well as propane gas or electric powered heaters.

Below we have provided a patio heater review which may help you make the right choice for your outside space.

Fire Pits

When choosing a fire pit we would always recommend using environmentally friendly smoke free fuel. There are two reasons for this;

  • If you live in a “smoke control zone” you will not be permitted to burn logs in a fire pit; and
  • Nobody likes to get smoke in their eyes – sitting next to a fire pit, you often find yourself moving about to avoid any swirling breeze which makes it very smoky.

Fire pits look beautiful – the South Africans call them the “bush TV” as watching real flames dance at night can be hypnotic. However, most of the heat in a fire pit is directed upwards. For a truly effective fire pit you need one which has a raised lid on it to push the heat out towards the people while allowing for the smoke to escape.  The running cost of a fire pit though can be quite high as the logs do burn fairly quickly.

Heat: *****

Cost: *****

Eco: *****

Appearance *****

Overall 15/20

Chimenea

Originally from Mexico, a chimenea looks a bit like a wood burning stove, however, a wood burner in the house heats the room more due to the radiant heat of the cast iron stove as it does from the fire itself. In an outdoor setting, the chimeneas often have rather small apertures where the fire’s heat is coming out, although it does solve much of the smoke issue by directing it up a chimney.  Of course the same rules apply to burning wood in a chimenea as in a fire pit, but the direction of heat is restricted.

Heat: *****

Cost: *****

Eco: *****

Appearance *****

Overall 14/20

Halogen Electric Heaters

Here, the only issues you have are storage and power. Halogen heaters are much better environmentally, they are also far better at keeping people warm than fire pits but there is no doubt that real flames are far more attractive.

In terms of running costs they are cheap.  They have come along in recent years in terms of design, however they do cost more to buy initially.

Heat: *****

Cost: *****

Eco: *****

Appearance *****

Overall 16/20

Gas Heaters

Trying to be even handed, good gas heaters probably provide the best heat, although they are an environmental nightmare.  Gas heaters generate over 6.5 times as much CO2 as an electric heater. However, they are much more attractive than halogen heaters, you still have the real flame and like their halogen counterparts, their heat is instant. Turn them on, light them up and you will be warm in seconds. They have been around for a long time so they are often quite cheap to buy and the cost of gas has definitely plummeted this year.  With any outdoor gas appliance, it is recommended that you bring it inside for winter as you do not want the gas valves to rust.

Heat: *****

Cost: *****

Eco: *****

Appearance *****

Overall 13/20

Purely Shutters are very proud of our green credentials. For example, the Stratford range of plantation shutters, is made of cedar from The Western Red Cedar Association in Canada. It is either replanted cedar or taken from designated forest areas where it is a managed forest. Therefore we would always look for the most environmentally sound options.

table and chairs on balcony

As we all know, hot air rises, so for an evening party, the best possible solution to keep your guests warm without harming the environment (other than an extra jumper) would be halogen heaters which clip under parasols. They may not be as attractive as the real flame options, but you can always decorate the table with hurricane lanterns full of candles.

 

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