8 Frequently Asked Questions About Radiant Patio Heaters

May 29, 2024

It’s patio heater season! All around the Denver-Boulder metro area people are once again spending more time outside and this includes taking advantage of outdoor dining and leisure time later in the day. Whether you’re out on the town or lounging at home, the comfort provided by radiant patio heaters continues to gain fans among our customers, and the number of home installations we perform each year continues to grow.

Our highly skilled electrical team at Save Home Heat Company feels that now is a good time to revisit these products. In this post, we’ll take another look at our most popular radiant patio heater, this time from the standpoint of the questions homeowners ask us most frequently. And we’re off!

#1: What Is an Infrared Radiant Patio Heater & How Do They Work?

group of friend toasting on a back patio

Whether powered by gas or electricity, infrared radiant patio heaters produce direct-surface heating similar to what you feel from the sun, or what’s radiated by a wood stove or a blazing fire.

One of the big differences with infrared radiant heating, however, as compared to the above examples, is that there is no impactful lighting produced or associated with the heat that’s created by these heaters – while objects, including yourself, your clothing, chairs, tables, flooring, and more, feel the warmth directly. Very effective, and responsive. That’s a big difference from circulating warm air, especially outdoors!


The main attraction of these units is pretty clear: Radiant patio heaters allow you to use outdoor spaces during times of the day and during months of the year when outdoor temperatures might otherwise make that an uncomfortable proposition. In the Denver-Boulder metro area, we are all familiar with how late afternoon, evening, and nighttime temperatures often quickly drop below the comfort zone, even during the summer.

In residential outdoor applications, our comfort team at Save Home Heat typically installs permanent, electric powered, infrared radiant patio heaters that are electrically efficient and will stand the test of time.

#2: Why Do You Recommend Permanently Installed Radiant Patio Heaters?

While there are certainly applications where a semi-portable patio heater might be a good call, with the ability to move them around, as needed – and these units may be more affordable, initially – permanently installed units continue to gain popularity, especially in home use. Safety concerns and long term reliability are among the primary reasons.

radiant heater - electr. patio jobsite eaves -DSS Detroit Radiant

Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain - IECRM

#3: Why Choose Electric-Powered Over Gas Patio Heaters?

Electric radiant patio heaters continue to be more popular with many Boulder-Denver area homeowners because of the benefits they offer that cannot be matched by gas-powered units.

The benefits of electric infrared radiant patio heaters include:
  • Very flexible where units can be located, due to ease of running electrical wiring to them
  • No cumbersome gas piping needed
  • No unsightly vent pipe, requiring combustible clearance, is needed
  • Electrically efficient components and controls
  • A recognized “green” heating option that doesn’t consume fossil fuels such as natural gas or propane, friendly to projected heating code revisions
  • Heaters have a compact, slim-line design
  • Very low maintenance

#4: Where Do You Install Radiant Patio Heaters?

Following manufacturer and mechanical code requirements, these heaters can be installed just about anywhere outside your home where electrical wiring can be run from your service panel (often not an obstacle). The most common places were our electrical team installs electric radiant patio heaters for our customers include:

  • Main level, enclosed back patios and decks
  • Open air back patios and decks adjacent to the house
  • Upper level balconies
  • Enclosed front and side porches

women sitting under a shaded sofa with a mug

#5: What Infrared Patio Heater Does Your Team Recommend for Denver-Boulder Metro Homeowners?

Our team at Save Home Heat primarily recommends and installs Re-Verber-Ray electric infrared radiant patio heaters, manufactured by Detroit Radiant Products, a highly reputable, U.S.-based manufacturer that has been in business for over 60 years.

Re-Verber-RayThe 220 volt, Re-Verber-Ray DSS Series Medium-Wave Electric Infrared Patio Heater from Detroit Radiant continues to be the best fit for the customers we work with and the homes we work in. We recommend the 220 volt model, as opposed to 120 volt-powered units which are also available, because it provides the greatest heat output. In addition, 220 volt units are more electrically efficient.

Make note, the DSS Series 220 volt heaters require a dedicated electrical circuit from the home’s main electrical panel.

Other quality features of Re-Verber-Ray DSS Series Patio Heaters include:
  • Electrically efficient, long-life, carbon fiber infrared heating lamps
  • Multiple heat levels
  • Highly effective, even heat distribution
  • Slimline design for unobtrusive installation
  • Multi-unit capable, handheld remote control

#6: Are Radiant Patio Heaters Safe for Wood Decks?

Yes! These types of heaters work just fine with wood decks, steps, and railings, as long as the proper clearance listed by the manufacturer is followed during installation. For example, according to Detroit Radiant, the 220 volt, DSS Series Re-Verber-Ray patio heater should be installed at a height approximately 8’ to 12’ above objects and people. The clearance requirements for 120 volt models are a little less, given the lower heat output of those heaters.

radiant heater - electr. patio - DSS Detroit Radiant (1)

#7: Are DSS Series Patio Heaters Safe for Exposure to My Skin?

The type of infrared medium wavelengths that are produced by these units are similar to those we receive from sunshine. But they don’t emit UV rays, so you won’t be getting a tan from these types of heaters.

As long as the unit is located and installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, according to Detroit Radiant, these heaters are safe for skin exposure. As mentioned above, maintaining approximately 8′ to 12′ distance from a heater should be maintained. In addition, as with all heaters, certain precautions should be taken by the homeowner. In the case of all types of infrared radiant products, these include not looking directly at the infrared lamps for an extended period of time.

Re-Verber-Ray DSS heaters carry safety and application certification from the ETL (aka. Intertek Testing Services), listed for indoor and outdoor use in the U.S. and Canada, as well as being CE (Conformite Europeenne) Certified, meeting a broad range of European Union health, safety, and environmental requirements.

#8: How Many Radiant Patio Heaters Do You Usually Install Per Home?

For a typical residence, our team often installs two or three of the 220v units, but it really depends on the size and/or number of areas we’re planning to heat. There have been a number of cases where one unit in a fairly defined outdoor location will suffice. When addressing multiple and larger locations, of course, we install more heaters. It’s always up to the homeowner to make the final call.

When installing more than two units, it’s typical that two new dedicated electrical circuits from the home’s service panel will be needed in order to safely and properly accommodate the rated electrical needs of the heaters.

As far as how much area one DSS heater can cover, it depends on the specific nature of the space/s you are wanting to heat. Consider the difference in your heating needs if you’re sitting outside in a relatively open area, with more direct contact with the outdoors, versus an enclosed porch area. Our team is very experienced at advising homeowners of what configuration of heaters we feel will best meet their needs.

radiant heater - Detroit Radiant rect. unit (not DSS Series)

Infrared Radiant Patio Heater Expertise in Denver-Boulder

Homeowners in the Boulder-Denver metro area turn to our team at Save Home Heat Company for experience and expertise they can rely on for their home comfort needs. Please reach out to us today to schedule a highly informative, low-pressure, free install quote for a radiant patio heater or heaters to help make your outdoor spaces more useful and more comfortable for years to come.

Please contact me to schedule a radiant patio heater install quote!