Short answer: No. Don’t leave your outdoor heaters in the rain.
A water-resistant heater is fine for use in light, intermittent drizzle but should not be left out in the rain when it’s raining hard or when heavy snowfall is expected. A stronger model may be required if you are planning to use your outdoor patio heater for extended periods in inclement weather.
A heater that has been left out in the rain could become damaged or fail, putting you and your family at risk of burns, electrocution, and other accidents. Not only that but it’s also not a great idea to leave your heater unattended when it’s raining due to the fact that you could get electrocuted.
There are several types of outdoor heaters. Each type is designed to deal with different weather conditions. Inclement weather can be a problem but most are designed to deal with rain.
Can Fixed Gas-Based Outdoor Heaters Left Out In Rain?
Fixed gas-based outdoor patio heaters, such as unvented and vented propane and natural gas heaters, should not be used when it is raining hard or when heavy snowfall is expected. If they are set up outdoors in weather like this, they may become damaged or fail. When this happens, they could leak flammable gas or cause excessive accumulation of carbon monoxide, which can both be life-threatening.
Hence, if you are planning to use your heater in relatively inclement conditions, it is best to choose an electric radiant heater, instead.
An important note: all propane and natural gas heaters must be located at least 3 feet away from any structure, including the house.
Portable Electric Radiant Heaters
For safety reasons, you should only use a portable heater outdoors in light rain or snowfall where it can be placed on a dry surface that is resistant to heat. Never leave your portable heater unattended during inclement weather where it could be potentially exposed to rain or snow.
Electric radiant heaters don’t pose the same problems as fixed gas-based outdoor heaters because they don’t use flammable gases. So, you can use these types of portable electric space heating units outdoors in light, intermittent drizzle without worrying about them being damaged or failing.
However, there are some instances where you shouldn’t leave your portable electric heater outdoors for too long. If the ambient temperature is below 0°F (-18°C), this can cause damage or failure to battery-operated or cordless radiant heaters. These types of models don’t have any protection over their internal heating components, so they will likely fail if subjected to extremely cold temperatures.
If you want a heater for use in colder conditions, it is best to choose a model with an automatic thermostat cut-out or tip-over switch. This type of protection will prevent the heater from overheating and possibly causing a fire.
Infrared Electric Outdoor Heaters
Infrared electric heaters can be left out in all types of weather conditions, including light rain or snow, without the risk of being damaged or failing.
Outdoor infrared electric heaters produce radiant heat so they don’t pose the same problems as fixed propane and natural gas heaters because they don’t use flammable gases. Radiant heaters release heat in all directions, which means that they won’t fail if the weather is inclement.
Although portable infrared electric heaters are completely resistant to damage or failure due to cold temperatures, it is still imperative that you place them on a water-resistant surface. When it’s raining hard, simply make sure your portable heater is placed on a sloped surface so the water can runoff. This will make sure your radiant heater doesn’t get wet and possibly cause a short circuit or fire hazard.
Since infrared heating is quick and efficient, you don’t have to worry about using an outdoor electric space heater for extended periods of time during inclement weather.
What To Do When Your Patio Heater Lives outdoors Permanently?
When your heater lives outdoors permanently, it means you should purchase a heater that is completely resistant to damage or failure due to leaks or spills. You can find one of these models by checking for the IPX4 water-resistant rating. or you have to purchase a heater cover to protect your heater from water damage.
So, just to be safe, it is important that your heater is well protected from the elements. When you use your patio heater in light rain or snowfall, simply place it on a water-resistant surface that will protect it from moisture damage.
If you live in a climate where there are long periods of inclement weather, then you should purchase a cover for your outdoor heater to make sure it stays dry at all times. Outdoor patio heaters are designed to withstand harsh conditions, but they still require some type of protection from the elements.
Heater Covers are designed with water-resistant material that can absorb moisture without becoming damaged. These covers are made of either soft PVC or polyester with the ability to fold down for easy storage.
Covering your heater ensures it will be dry in all conditions, making sure you don’t have to worry about your patio heater breaking down.
Outdoor Heaters For Covered Patios
Electric radiant heaters are the best type of patio heater for covered patios. Since they don’t release fumes or carbon monoxide, you won’t have to worry about placing them under a canopy.
Radiant electric heaters are completely safe to use indoors and outdoors, so if your patio is covered with protection from the elements you can rest assured your heater will be safe from water damage.
This type of heating is quick and efficient, so you don’t have to worry about being trapped under a covered patio with an electric patio heater for extended periods of time during the winter months.
In addition, radiant heaters are also perfect for indoor use, which means you would never have to sacrifice comfort when you want to use your patio heater.
What To Do If It Starts To Rain While In Operation?
When it starts to rain while using your heater outdoors, simply place the unit on a flat surface that can be easily cleared of any water. If you put your electric patio heater on the ground, the water may short-circuit or damage your unit.
If you don’t have an outdoor electrical outlet near where you plan to use your patio heater, you should wait for the rain to stop before turning on your unit.
If you have a covered patio, make sure your electric patio heater is placed on a water-resistant surface that won’t be damaged by any leaks or spills. If there are no overhead beams to support the unit, make sure it stays level so there isn’t any damage.
When it rains, patio heaters can be used in the rain. In addition, it is recommended that they are switched off to protect them from the rain. Fixed heaters can’t be moved, and most portable heaters are too heavy to move every time it rains. A cover can be used to protect these heaters from the rain. And That’s It.