I want to get your opinion on electronic strip heaters. My requirement is to heat a patio that’s open in three directions.
I saw this heaters at Bunnings. A 2400W heater costs about $600.
But now there are heaters with the same power for about $160 on eBay. I think they are discounting heavily on these because winter is ending.
Do you have any experience with these heaters?
I’m planing to fix them to fix them about 2.5 - 3.0m from the ground level and want to cover about 3m x 4m area.
The main reason I thought a radian heater would be appropriate is because my patio area is bit open and I thought gas burning (with outdoor gas heaters) would deposit soot on the roof above.
Perhaps you could do some sums and look at the running cost of such heaters. Depending on how often you run it over a period of years the purchase price may be less than electricity costs, especially as the price of electricity can only go up.
Those who want to sit outdoors, enjoy their garden more etc can make it work passively in some micro-climates. On the coast where winters are mild you can make an outdoor place where you get the sun but are protected from cold winds, and the sea breeze is often a reliable cooler in summer. Away from that situation you may find it very hard to be comfortable except during Spring and Autumn. Some accept that this is the best they can get.
Another response to this is to try to modify the sitting area by heating or cooling it. They then discover that the energy costs can be high. The next step is to enclose the area so that heating/cooling becomes somewhat more efficient. The upshot of this is that they have just built another room on to the house, one that is often rather energy inefficient. Having now lost the pleasure of being outdoors as well as spending much money they somehow think they are better off. Trying to beat the climate like this is a costly game.
In addition to what @syncretic has said, a 2.4kW heater will cost about $0.50-0.60/hour to run, which might not seem to expensive, but a outdoor meal that goes for 2-3 hours will cost about $1-2 each time per heater. Say if you have one weekly outdoor meal over the cooler months, the extra electricity costs will be in the order of $100+ per year,
Strip heaters usually are either on or off…which means they either consume maximum rate of electricity the whole time they are on.
Another passive option maybe install temporary clear plastic walls like those used in outdoor restaurant areas. This will provide shielding against wind, will trap warm air if hit by the sun (radiant heat from tge sun will heating up everything inside) and doesn’t require electricity. Add a jumper or extra layer of clothing, and there are no long term running costs (except extra clothes washing).
If you still find it too cool, then a convective/radiant heater will work far more effectively with temporary/removable walls.
@syncretic and @phb thank you very much for your replies.
Putting temporary walls is something I didnt not consider.
Also consider that the heat rises up and pulls the cold air in around your legs and feet. The temporary walls stop some of this movement but putting your heaters a little lower down will increase the warmth in the body area. Using a bar heater or some other type on or very near the floor gives the maximum coverage but you have to consider the issues if children or pets are in the area. The walls are needed to get best economy out of the heating.
Something I forgot. You are likely to need an electrician to install extra circuitry, especially if you have more than one 2.4kw heater as you hint. Even if there is an outside light the circuit may not be good enough. Extension cords carrying high current are problematic.
What you are referring to is a radiant heater which works by mainly infra-red heat on a similar principle to bathroom heater lamps - without the bright light. These heaters do not directly heat the air, but heat up objects the ‘light’ falls on. Therefore, these heaters are perfect for open spaces - not necessarily open to the weather though (they can be subject to some rain though). Gas heaters work mainly by heating the air, so a lot of heat just goes into the atmosphere and not warming people. But remember, if you are sitting at a table, radiant heaters are above so you may end up with cold legs?
The radiant heat strip do come in various sizes including the 2400W sold by Bunnings. The restriction is the capacity of the power circuit - they should NOT be connected to a lighting circuit. If you choose a 2400W heater you would be limited to connecting only two to a power circuit - assuming you have a modern house with 20-amp circuit breakers, do not try this on old houses with rewirable fuses, it is just too risky. Do not consider the 3200W version as you will need at least a 15-amp power point and there are restrictions on what else is connected to that circuit.
These heaters are meant more for restaurants and really upmarket houses rather than the average alfresco, but if the e-Bay cost is a lot cheaper than Bunnings then it may be OK. An option is a portable quartz heater which are rated at 2000W, so still limited to two per power circuit, but they are a lot cheaper! These do have a wall mount option as well but you need to be careful they installed clear of anything flammable.
Just remember that if you do not have any handy power points to connect to you will need an electrician to install them. Do not try to use an extension cord as it could be dangerous - apart from a trip hazard they do get very hot causing a fire hazard.
Hope this helps.
@grahroll, @syncretic, @allandorrington.
Thak you very much for your valuable advice.
I recently installed plastic blinds on my apartment balcony and it has turned out to be great.Not only is the wind blocked while still being able to see out ,the enclosed area now act like a conservatory ,being noticeably warmer through the winter.
There is also the online version “Sunshine Blade” by Brand Developers around $360 plus second one half price. These can be returned for a full refund within 30 days. We have one on our balcony and its great for sitting out on winter mornings.
I’m looking for a good quality strip heater. Thanks in advance
I have moved your post into this already existing topic on Strip type heaters. Hopefully you will get some good info and suggestions. Also it might be helpful to explain where and why you need the heater of this type as it may help get more suitable answers for your need.
Have you looked at Far Infrared heaters? They emit thermal IR (long wavelength), which heats objects and not the air. They are a bit expensive, but are more efficient, as no energy is lost to visible light.