Keeping restaurant guests warm has never been a hotter topic. Two options to keep your restaurant patio humming along in challenging weather are a high-quality patio enclosure and reliable heaters. Often, they are used together as a one-two comfort punch. Enclosures allow protection from the elements and better control over healthier airflow. Patio heaters allow you to fine-tune temperature for extra coziness by simply touching an “on” switch.
You’ll want to do a little research first. Some heaters are fine on an outdoor patio. Others are better choices with an enclosed patio. The fuel they use, safety and government regulations and installation considerations will all be part of your decision. Talking to a professional as you narrow down is always a great idea.
First, Length x Width = Patio Heater Warmth
If you’ve already enclosed your patio, you likely already know its measurements to within ¼ of an inch. If you don’t, get out that steel tape measure. Accurately measuring length and width will get you to the right square footage. And who doesn’t want to know what they’re working with? Also, consider which temperature you want to maintain while people sit at your tables. Once you know the cubic square footage of your patio, multiply it by the number of degrees you want to raise the temperature. That’s how many thousands of BTUs your heaters need to kick out to be effective.
The ABCs and BTUs of Restaurant Patio Heaters.
Natural Gas and Propane
These two options burn cleaner since they don’t produce smoke or odor. They do, however, put out carbon dioxide so that requires enough ventilation and air circulation. Both are cost-effective and efficient. Natural gas heaters need to be installed by a professional. Propane heaters are usually portable because the tank is generally attached to the heater. The tank needs to be refilled, which can get expensive.
Here are a few rough guesstimates:
- 25.000 BTU gas heater mostly heats about an 8×8 foot square area.
- 35.000 to 40.000 BTU gas heaters heat 8 to 10 feet high and will likely heat a 12’x12′ area.
- 50.000 to 75.000 BTU heaters will typically heat a 15×15 foot area fairly easily.
If you don’t have natural gas lines, electric could be a good option for you. Obviously, these heaters need to have an outlet or be hardwired. So, check your service panel. You’ll want to understand how much available power you have for your restaurant if you add them to the mix. Considered to be safer than gas, electric heaters also tend to offer nice style. What’s more, they’re low maintenance and they heat as well as gas with half the BTU ratings.
A 6000w 240 volt electric heater can often compete with a 34.000 BTU gas heater in about a 12’x12′ space. And of course, it depends on the heater. Every brand offers a different output.
With both gas and electric fuel, you likely have a choice between warm air, convection and radiant infrared heaters. Many say that the radiant infrared version provides a more immediate warmth vs. the others which create more lag time.
Surround those heaters with a weather protector.
When patio heaters team up with an enclosure, you have a dynamic duo that keeps comfort at the top of your menu. So, you’ll want a patio enclosure made with strong bones. That means buying one that offers the strongest fabrics available paired with the most durable construction to keep rain, sleet, wind and snow at bay. A high-quality enclosure also cuts down on the fuel usage needed to keep guests happy.
Ask us how to keep your patio producing for you year round.
“Shoulder” season was definitely redefined this year. For anyone wanting educated, experienced advice on patio enclosures, we’re here for you. Whether sturdy hand-rolled panels or an instant-access motorized solution is what you need, we offer products chosen for the kind of integrity that our long-standing customers swear by. All fit a range of budgets. All can be custom-measured and installed if you choose. For extra warmth on demand, many of our customers have glowing reviews for Schwank Heaters and Infratech. Both companies are pioneers with decades of experience in state-of-the-art technology. Here’s to cozying up for a new level of comfort in 2021.