During 2 years of COVID restrictions, many of us discovered the pleasures of the patio – our own as well as those at our favourite restaurants. After spending all day working and home-schooling indoors, a little quality time outdoors has been a welcome relief. Many of us have invested in our backyard spaces, to allow us to enjoy them more often. For some, that means adding an outdoor heater to take the chill off during the cooler months, or even on a cool Summer evening.

Have you ever thought about the impact that your choice of heater will have on the environment? Wouldn’t it be ironic if your choice of outdoor heater actually had a negative impact on the planet, ultimately leading to more bad weather, and less future enjoyment of your backyard?

Gas vs. Electric Outdoor Heaters

While everyone enjoys the sounds and smells of a real campfire, an open flame in a firepit isn’t practical for those of us living in cities and suburban areas. In many municipalities, it’s not legal. For others, the risk of forest fires or air pollution makes wood fires inadvisable. Which leads us to outdoor heaters fired by propane, natural gas or electricity.

When it comes to climate change, the science tells us that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to slow the planet’s rise in temperature. Governments around the world have agreed to emission reduction targets, most recently at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. In Canada, the government recently announced the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, which calls for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050. One of the ways that we will achieve these targets is to use less oil and gas for heating, and to switch to electric heating.

If you are using an outdoor heater with a propane tank in the base, or you have a gas-fired firepit or fire table, you are burning fossil fuels. This is releasing greenhouse gases into the air, and contributing to global warming.

Fortunately, there are electric heating options for outdoors, just as there are for indoors. We particularly like ceramic glass infrared heaters from Dimplex. They look great, and can be mounted to a wall or ceiling above the sitting or dining area. The Nextrema Schott Glass is tinted black to reduce light emissions (think of your glass cooktop), and it provides even heat distribution. There are 3 heat settings – low, medium and high – as well as an 8-hour auto-shutoff feature, and a programmable timer. Sizes range from 1500 watts to 3000 watts, and the heating range is about 75 to 100 square feet per heater. Sitting under one of these heaters is like sitting in the sun – you will feel the heat on yourself and the objects around you, regardless of whether there’s a breeze. By contrast, with a gas heater, the heat is pushed in the direction of the wind.


There is a 1500-watt 120-volt plug-in version; the rest of the line is direct-wire only, and 240 volts. This requires a professional electrician to run a new electrical line for each heater. Once that’s done, you just push a button on the remote and – voila! – instant heat. It takes just 8 seconds to reach full heating power! And, you’ll never have to worry about the propane tank running out. Best of all, you’ll be doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent climate change. We call that a win-win.

Tip: These heaters may also be installed indoors. If you have an unheated sunroom or screened porch, and you need a durable source of heat, these heaters can do the trick, provided you can mount them high enough to be out of reach.

Want to learn more about eco-friendly and efficient electric fireplaces (for outdoors and indoors)? See our blog posts “Are electric fireplaces efficient?” and “How an electric fireplace can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions”.

Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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