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How To Prevent Your Patio Heater From Tipping Over

How To Prevent Your Patio Heater From Tipping Over

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.

To prevent your patio from tipping over, ensure your reservoir is filled, secure the stem to a sturdy structure with a racket strap, and re-evaluate your heater placement to put it in a safe spot. As an extra precaution, test the anti-tilt switch each season by following your manufacturer’s instructions.

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, weighing 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.

Warning: You should make sure that your ratchet straps are an adequate distance away from the patio heater’s flames. If the straps are too close, you run the risk of catching them on fire.

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.

It isn’t great, but it’ll do.

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.

Be Careful!

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!

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Meredith Chandler

Thursday 18th of March 2021

Is there a way to repair a bent reflector shield

K Peter Wilden

Friday 15th of January 2021

I recently covered my 4 month old propane patio heater with a factory supplied cover for weather protection . A few days later (I think it was 2) it fell over onto my wood deck - fortunately while nobody was around. The shroud bent which I was able to mostly - but not completely - straighten it out. I'll replace it this spring. The screen does not appear to bent or damaged. I've tested it a few times and it appears to be working ok. What should I look for to indicate a problem/safety issue? Thanks


Friday 25th of December 2020

Ours tipped over in a storm last night. Is it ok to pick it up ?

Cheryl Gundred

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

Can I put a patio heater on outdoor carpeting? It's an open area.


Friday 20th of November 2020

Depending on where the heat source is, this might be possible. Without seeing the heater, I can't say for sure. But there's a good chance it'd be fine!

Timothy C Kelly

Monday 5th of October 2020

Buy A bromic portable. It throws easily twice as much heat and only in one direction, so you can back it up to a wall out fo the way or put it on the perimeter of a patio.. It also has a square base so you really can't "accidentally" knock it over. Last - it is coated for outdoors so will last 5-7 years vs one season for a mushroom type heater.

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