3 Tricks To Ensure Proper Outdoor Heater Placement

5 minute read | Heaters

Outdoor heaters are a hot trending item for homeowners that want to extend the season and businesses interested in attracting patrons year-round. In order to maximize the return on investment on leading commercial brands such as AEI’s Patio Comfort and Sunglo natural gas heaters, and the Infratech or Sunpak electric heaters, business owners are tasked with maximizing heat disbursement efficiency. When outdoor heaters are placed too close together, guests can be overwhelmed. When they are too far apart, you create cold spots that can inhibit an otherwise positive outdoor experience. How business owners manage these products can make a significant difference in customer satisfaction.

Understanding Different Types of Outdoor Heaters

The product that you select will dictate best practices in a commercial setting. When it comes to ensuring the most productive placement, a primary consideration will be the shape of the heater. There are two basic shapes that business owners should consider when buying and positioning an outdoor heater. Mushroom heaters are the most recognizable type, and they are identified by their circular heating plates. The other type is box heaters, and are rectangular in shape with embedded cylindrical heating rods. The Infratech mentioned above, and Sunpak heaters fall under this category.

These heaters rely on heat sources such as natural gas, propane or electricity to fire up the circular plates or cylindrical rods, which in turn emit safe infrared rays to effectively heat an outdoor area. Mushroom heaters such as the Sunglo and Patio Comfort heaters mentioned earlier circularly disburse heat that emits from the rounded plates. These tend to throw heat over a greater distance, and that has made them commercial and residential darlings.

On the other hand, box heaters can often be used effectively in a targeted fashion. Their design allows users to direct heat disbursement strategically and they can be particularly useful in enclosed areas. That being said, there are three key tricks that can help you get the maximum benefit from outdoor heaters.

1: Set Outdoor Heaters at the Right Distance From Customers

Regardless of whether you decide on mushroom heaters or rectangular products, the first step toward customer-friendly use is to consider how far away from people they should be positioned.

Ceiling-mounted rectangular Infratech heaters, for example, can effectively throw radiant heat between 6 and 14 feet depending on the conditions. In a closed environment, these 90-percent energy-efficient products may be set back farther than in open-air conditions. That means business owners will need to account for the height of the ceiling or wall-mount in conjunction with the seating or mingling distance. Unlike box mounted heaters, mushroom heaters enjoy a fixed height. They also disperse heat in a circular fashion that can run between 12 and 20 feet in circumference. This 100- to 300-square-foot area can be something of a challenge for businesses that excessively overlap heat sources where customers are seated or mingling.

2: Create Appropriate Distance Between Outdoor Heaters


When it comes to creating an enjoyable outdoor experience for customers, it’s not just how warm you keep them. The consistency of the environment also matters. When people are hot in one spot and cool in another, they remember the inconsistency. In order to maximize customer satisfaction, business owners would be wise to measure their outdoor patio and purchase the number of products that meet minimum heat standards. In other words, look at the minimum heat-throw distance and be sure you have the correct amount to warm the area thoroughly. You don’t have to run them at maximum levels. However, you won’t be able to extend the radiant heat disbursement beyond the product’s capabilities when the air gets unusually chilly. Working from a minimum heat-throw measurement, allow them to overlap slightly. This will let you keep the outlying areas just as warm as those close to the source. Two of the critical factors to consider when position outdoor heaters are whether the area is well insulated or exposed to the elements. The more cold air can penetrate the space, the closer together the outdoor heaters will need to be placed.

3: Utilize the Disbursement Angle of Outdoor Heaters

In terms of manipulating the angle of your products, safety dictates that you never use mushroom heaters at an angle. Tilting these standalone products only invites an accident. The only time it is advisable to tip them is when they are turned off, cool, and you are moving them.

On the other hand, fixed infrared heaters can be mounted at a variety of angles that can maximize radiant heat throws. Even when mounted on ceilings, they can be angled to throw warmth at strategic targets. These products tend to provide business owners increased flexibility when it comes to heat disbursement.

Ideally, you want to install your heater from the direction of the cold air flow. This isn't always possible but is optimal so the heaters don't have to work against the cold air. 


Make the most of angled use in your unique space. Outdoor heaters are a way to improve customer satisfaction, retention and attract new patrons. It’s essential to develop a plan that warms the space consistently and comfortably. It’s also important to invest in top-tier commercial products such as AEI’s Sunglo, Sunpak, Infratech, and Patio Comfort models.

Want more information? Have a question? Contact us today, and we will be happy to help!

  1. * Required Information