Patio heaters are tall, top-heavy, cylindrical objects that shoot flames. The last thing you want is for yours to tip over! However, strong winds, falling debris, and even intoxicated guests can turn this nightmare into a reality. If you own a patio heater, you should proactively defend against this possibility. But don’t worry — I’ve created the definitive guide on how to keep your patio heater from tipping over. Read along so you can be prepared.
Check Your Reservoir
Many patio heaters have a built-in protection against tipping over: reservoirs. If your patio heater has one, it will be found at the base of the patio heater. Different models will have different requirements, but typically the reservoir is filled with sand or water, weighting down the unit.
If you’re lucky enough to have one, your only job is keeping it filled. As long as the reservoir is full, the patio heater should be sufficiently weighted down. If you fill the reservoir with sand, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to do much after the initial pour. However, if you’ve decided to fill the reservoir with water, you’ll want to check it every few weeks, refilling as necessary.
Secure The Stem
If your patio heater doesn’t have a reservoir, your process just got a little more difficult. Without a reservoir, the best way to keep your patio heater from tipping over is by securing the stem to a sturdy structure. If you have any pillars in your outdoor space, you can attach a small ratchet strap around it and your heater. This should be enough to ensure that your patio heater remains vertical.
If you lack pillars, you’ll have to get a bit more imaginative. You’ll need to either erect a free standing structure to brace your patio heater to or use stakes and high tension rope to pull it down from multiple sides (think of how a utility pole is tied down).
Watch Your Placement
One overlooked tip to keep your patio heater from tipping over is to make sure you place it in a safe spot. Many folks will try to optimize the output of the heater to as much area as possible. However, this can place the heater in the way of you and your guests, increasing the likelihood that a collision could occur. Placing your patio heater away from the main walkways of your patio is a simple trick that can go a long way in stopping accidents.
Test The Anti-Tilt Switch
Many patio heaters come with an “anti-tilt” switch responsible for stopping the flow of gas when heavy movement is detected. You should regularly make sure that yours is still functioning, following the manufacturers instructions when doing so. Do not shake the patio heater as a diagnostic method. Doing this can cause the heater to tip over!
I tried to find a good general video on how to test a patio heater’s anti-tilt switch, but unfortunately only found the following.
The video quality here is poor, but it should give you a rough idea of what’s involved in case you no longer have your patio heater manual. If I encounter any other sources, I’ll be sure to add them at the bottom of this article.
When you’ve been around as long as I have, you develop a healthy respect for fire. Be careful when operating a patio heater. You shouldn’t take safety for granted. If you have any additional tips on how to keep a patio heater from tipping over, feel free to share them in the comments. You might save someone’s life!