When the heat is on

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Entertaining in the colder months can be a pleasure when you have a source of warmth to create ambiance and comfort.

Al fresco areas can be easily adapted for winter entertaining with the addition of a gas or electric heater, fit pit or chiminea.

Outdoor heaters are a great way to keep snug and warm when entertaining outdoors.

Gas heaters are ideal for decks and patios. They are portable, cheap to run and come in a range of sizes, from free standing options to table top heaters. They give out a radiant heat which is easy to control. They are also clean burning and odourless.

Some gas heaters can been incorporated into natural gas line, but portable heaters need a propane gas bottle. Gas bottles typically last for 8-9 hours.

ELECTRIC HEATERS

Heatstrips are stylish and favoured for their attractive design. Mounted in the ceiling, they also provide radiant heat making them energy-efficient, with running costs starting from just 30 cents per hour. A small space may only require one Heatstrip but multiple units can be installed to heat larger areas.

Timers can be used with some models so spaces can be preheated before guests arrive.

FIRE PITS

Fire pits are right on-trend at the moment and are great at providing 360 degree heat. It is hard to beat the flicker of a natural flame for creating ambiance and a cosy glow. Ethanol fire pits are portable so you can easily move them around your garden or deck.

Fire pits come in a variety of bowl shapes and sizes and make a great focal point in a garden. Make sure you have access to a steady supply of wood and remember fire pits can be a bit smoky.

Fire pits need to be positioned on a flat, level surface on a non-combustible surface such as a concrete paver well away from the house.

Ethanol fire pits are also available and have the added advantage of being portable.

CHIMINEAS

Traditional clay chimineas are front loading fireplaces with the advantage of retaining heat and their chimney and flu direct smoke upwards away from food and guests.

Historically chimineas have been made out of fired clay and used for heating and cooking. These traditional designs can be traced to Spain and Mexico. Fire wood is most commonly used for fuel, though charcoal and ethanol can be used in some types of chimineas.

There are a few things to remember when deciding on outdoor heating options:

1 – Always ensure there is a safe distance between the roof, walls, any outdoor furniture and your heating appliance.

2 – Install a bed of sand or gravel beneath a fire pit to create a level surface and allow water to drain freely. Fire pits placed directly on pavers can cause soot and ash to discolour the pavers.

3 – When thinking about seating around a fire pit of chimeneas consider timber or stone furniture that can be moved closer or further away from the heating source. Once a fire gets going it can give off quite a lot of heat and guests may want to move further away.

4 – Think about what style will suit your home. Is your home modern, rustic or heritage in style? Choose an outdoor heating source that fits with the overall look of your home.

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