How Close Can A Patio Heater Be To The Ceiling?

patio heater next to wooden ceiling

Patio heaters are, in our opinion, the best way to stay warm and enjoy your patio. They’re affordable and fairly simple to use. However, as with any heat source, there’s always safety concerns. If you have a patio with a ceiling, you may be worried about the distance. How close can a patio heater be to the ceiling? We’ll explain the proper distance and why for each type of patio heater.

How Close Can A Patio Heater Be To The Ceiling?

Understanding how close a patio heater can be to the ceiling will depend on your heat source. For example, a propane patio heater should be much further from a ceiling than an infrared heater. In fact, some infrared heaters are even designed to be mounted against a wall or ceiling. Therefore, this answers varies quite a bit, but we’ll give you the safest recommendation for each type.

Propane Patio Heaters

Propane patio heaters are not as big of a risk as you may think. They are designed with small roofs of their own that push heat back down and out to expand the heating radius. Therefore, they’re not omitting heat straight into your ceiling. However, the best rule of thumb is to keep a propane heater at least 3 feet away from your ceiling and any other surfaces.

This might sound too precautious to some homeowners. However, the longer the patio heater stays on, the bigger the risk to burn or melt through a nearby surface. By keeping a minimum 3 foot clearance, you can be sure that you’re safe.

Infrared Patio Heaters

Infrared patio heaters are even safer than propane patio heaters. They require significantly less distance to be safe in most cases. Some are designed to be mounted on walls/ceiling and pointed downward or outward. If your heater is designed to be mounted, you can place your heater as close as you prefer.

However, if you have an infrared patio heater specifically says it shouldn’t be mounted, adhere to the 3 foot clearance rule. Some infrared heaters are so powerful that they cannot be close to surfaces. This is more frequent in the commercial space, not on residential patios.

propane model showing how close can a patio heater be to the ceiling as more than 3 feet away

Patio Heater Fire Hazards

When you think about fire hazards and patio heaters, a few scenarios might come to mind. First, on the topic of this article, placing it too close to a surface or object. This could result in melting of that object and in the worst case situation, start a fire. However, we’ve already covered this extensively, so we’ll mention a few others.

There’s always the tipping over issue. This is especially prevalent with propane patio heaters. Newer patio heaters are equipped with automatic shut off sensors for when a heater is tipped over. Either way, if you have kids or pets and are concerned about a patio heater getting knocked over, we recommend a wall mounted patio heater.

Additionally, there’s the problem with forgetting to shut off the heater. Although, most heaters nowadays have a shut off time or require you to set a timer for the heat. In most cases, forgetting to shut off a patio heater outside is harmless. However, if you have an indoor and outdoor combo, this mistake can be very dangerous.

How Close Can A Patio Heater Be To The Ceiling Summary

Heating a covered patio is always a challenge. Now you know that when in doubt, keep your patio heater 3 feet or further away from the ceiling. Luckily, patio heater technology is getting better every year. If you have a porch or patio with a low ceiling, consider an infrared patio heater. More specifically, seek out a heater that says it can be mounted.

Without a doubt, the Briza infrared is the most versatile patio heater. For low ceilings, this will be very convenient. It also removes the concern of the heater tipping over. We hope you feel better now about placing your patio heater underneath a ceiling.