As the weather gets colder, patio heaters are a crucial part of any outdoor seating area. On top of warmth, the structures can add a cozy ambiance.
However, one issue with these heaters is that they can be tricky to move and could damage the deck without proper care. So, if you’re wondering how to transport patio heaters, you’ve come to the right place.
Because many heaters contain a propane tank, you have to move patio heaters carefully. In some cases, you may find it best to disassemble the heater, and then put it back together in the new location.
Let’s take a look at how you can change your patio heater’s location safely.
A Quick Overview of Patio Heaters
There are many types of heating devices for your patio. One of the most common is the standing heater.
This gadget has a few benefits that make it so popular. That includes no naked flames, a thermocouple, and an anti-tilt function.
Most patio heaters will operate using propane or natural gas. These are both highly combustible materials that are sensitive to temperature changes.
For this reason, all of the hoses and connections are designed to be leak-proof in order to prevent these gases from escaping to the surrounding air.
Moving a heater suddenly can damage these important connections.
Patio Heater Components
Before moving a heater, it’s a good idea to know what components you’re dealing with.
There are three main parts to a patio heater:
- Outer shell, including heat reflector shield
- Inner tubing and heat controls
- Fuel tank
The outer shell is usually metallic and acts as a protective layer for the heater. This section can handle a little wear-and-tear. It’s also typically weatherproof to be able to withstand the outdoor elements.
Inside the shell, you’ll find a series of tube connections. These will feed the fuel into the burning chamber.
The innards are arguably the most sensitive parts of the device. Any minor forces can bend the pipes and lead to a leak.
Finally, the heater will have an area for the fuel tank. Luckily, this part is typically removable. So, you can transport this pressurized gas on its own to ensure safe handling.
Safety Precautions Before Transporting a Patio Heater
You have to remember that dealing with gas heaters can be dangerous. That’s why you need to take a few safety measures before you start.
Prepping the Heater
Before you touch the heater, make sure the flames are off. If the device has been running for a while, you may want to give it time to cool first.
After the flames are off, close the fuel valve to stop the gas flow inside the heater. At this point, there should be a little residual gas inside the tubes.
Moving the heater with free-flowing gas can be incredibly problematic. First off, you risk the fuel leaking into the air.
In addition, the gas can disturb the tubes, which may cause the device to stop functioning.
For this reason, give the heater a few minutes to even out and settle.
Take Caution with Propane Tanks
While propane tanks are designed to be robust, it is still important that you take care when moving them:
- Always close the valve on the cylinder, regardless if the tank is full or empty.
- Keep the cylinder upright and secure, especially if you’ll be transporting it by vehicle. It’s important to avoid having the cylinder roll around in a vehicle while driving.
- Do not leave the propane tank in a hot vehicle for a prolonged period of time.
- Allow for ventilation around the tank if transporting in a closed container, including a vehicle.
Review New Location
Before moving the heater, you’ll want to closely review its new location. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to placing the heater in a location.
Typically, the heater should be at least six feet away from any walls or heavy foot traffic. Also, ensure there are no unused fuel tanks within 20 feet of flames.
Transporting Patio Heaters
Before moving the heater, take time to plan your route. Heaters can be heavy and cumbersome, so try to ensure you have a clear path to the new location.
If stairs are involved, you’ll almost always want to have a spare set of hands from a friend or family member.
When buying heaters, you have the option of choosing portable or stationary devices.
Depending on which one you use, the transportation process will be a little different.
Moving Portable Heaters
If you opted for a portable heater, then you’re in luck. These devices are much easier to move than the stationary variety as they typically have wheels installed at the bottom.
Once you’ve shut-off the gas cylinder you can disconnect the gas hose from the heater. You’ll then want to remove the propane tank from the base of the unit.
Once the gas tank is removed, you can balance the heater on the wheels and gently push.
Gas heaters can be quite heavy, but take care not to apply too much force as it could cause damage.
It’s best if you have at least two adults transporting the heater. This way, each one can help balance one side to avoid the heater tipping over.
After you move it into its new place, reconnect the gas cylinder. You can then slowly open the supply valve from the gas cylinder.
Once the gas has been turned on, listen carefully for any hissing sounds which could indicate a leak somewhere. You can lightly apply soapy water to the connections to provide a visual of any leakage.
After you’ve confirmed no gas leaks are present, you can turn the heater gas control on and ignite. Sometimes it may take 30 seconds or longer to purge air from the lines as you attempt to light.
Moving Stationary Heaters
As you’d probably imagine, transporting stationary heaters can be more cumbersome than portable heaters. These types of heaters are often not equipped with wheels, and can often require some level of disassembly.
If the heater is fed from a fixed gas supply, such as natural gas, ensure appropriate valves are closed before proceeding. Once valves are closed, disconnect the heater from the gas supply hoses.
Depending on the size of the stationary heater, you may be able to prop it onto a wheeled platform or dolly without any disassembly. If going this route, just ensure that you have it secured with straps or bungee cords.
However, the safest way to move a stationary heater is often by disassembling it. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’ll ensure the internal structure isn’t damaged during the move.
The disassembly will vary slightly depending on the model of your heater. So, for exact instructions, you may want to consult the device’s user manual.
Generally, the first step is to disassemble the outer shell of the heater into smaller pieces. There are often a few key screws or latches that keep it in place.
Once the shell is off, you should be able to carefully coax the heater onto a platform. While you do this, ensure that you don’t damage any tubes or wires.
Once you’ve moved the heater to its new location, you can reassemble it. Then, you’ll want to reestablish the gas connection per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Figuring out how to transport patio heaters can be a little challenging. However, it doesn’t have to be.
Planning the job is generally the best starting point and will help prevent accidents during the process.
Take the necessary steps to prep your heater, which includes shutting the fuel valve off. After that, the process will depend on what type of heater you use.
With portable heaters, you should be able to move them on their wheels with a friend. As for stationary devices, you may have to disassemble them before transport.
Husband and father of three (actually, four if you include the pool). I’m an avid DIY-er and weekend warrior that enjoys taking up new projects around the house to help us maximize leisure right at home. I enjoy researching and sharing various tips, tricks and knowledge to help others make their home an oasis.