Outdoor Heating keeps patronage
The colder months are just about upon us and if you haven’t already sorted out your outdoor heating it’s time to snap to it. What’s a little nip in the air when a variety of heating products can take away the chill? Keeping customers warm in outdoor areas is a critical factor in keeping patronage and continuing to run a successful hotel business.
In this special feature, we look at what heating options are available, how to select the best product for your area, and how some venues have installed heating solutions that have not only held existing business, but have attracted new customers wanting to stay warm while socialising in outdoor areas.
When considering outdoor heating options, both effectiveness and energy efficiency are key. By selecting infrared radiant heaters, you are choosing heaters that directly warm people and objects only. In principle, they work just like the sun, no energy is wasted trying to heat the impossible, the air which blows away, meaning its both effective and efficient.
There are two types of infrared radiant heaters available, (1) Gas-fired, and (2) Electrically powered. Both have their benefits and to know which to select depends on the area requiring heating;
Totally open outdoor courtyards
Forget the mushroom style patio heaters, these are inefficient and a huge cost to run. Instead there are infrared portable heaters available that still run on LPG but at about a quarter of the running cost. Additionally, architectural grade umbrella systems with integrated electric heaters provide both heating and coverage from rain and the sun, a great year round solution.
No overhead coverage but walls spaced fairly closely
Where there is no protection from the rain, and the space is not large enough for umbrellas, waterproof heaters are the best option. Many electric heaters have an IP65 rating for protection from water, allowing them to be installed in outdoor areas where they will get wet. Open faced gas-fired heaters are not suitable in this application as they can get water logged and damaged.
Very high overhead coverage: 4m+ high
For outdoor spaces with some very high overhead coverage, gas heaters such as large tube heaters suspended from the ceiling will cover a huge floor space, between 35m2 – 180m2 per unit.
High overhead coverage: Up to 4m high
Outdoor spaces with moderately high coverage benefit from both gas-fired and electrically powered high intensity heaters mounted from the walls or suspended from the ceiling. Wall mounted/ceiling suspended gas-fired units are available in a range of sizes with varying floor areas coverage ranging from 3m2 – 10m2. Electrically powered heaters such as the glowing quartz and electric infrared heaters also cover a similar floor area with various kilowatt (kW) models.
Low overhead coverage: Up to 3m high
Spaces with low ceilings cannot house gas-fired heaters and high intensity electric units can be overpowering when mounted low. Instead, mid-intensity electric heaters are the most suitable, such as non-glowing panel heaters. Additionally with these units there is no light interference in the space as the units do not glow like the quartz element heaters.
For ease of installation both gas and electric heaters often come equipped with a variety of brackets and fixing options to ensure they can accommodate as many different installation variants as possible. Further in some cases, reflectors are available, to ensure thermal efficiency, however these are only required for heaters with a flame or glowing element.
Controlling the operation of your heaters is key to ensuring optimal power/gas consumption and running costs. For both forms of heating, zone control allows units to be controlled in groups, using only those units required in an area. Electronic start gas-fired heaters and electrically powered heaters are both suitable for zone control. Timers can also be added for further control, however, there is the risk they will be operational when no one is using the area, so they are best installed only in busier locations.
Remote controls, and Passive infrared (PIR) switches which detect movement in an area, are good alternatives to timers. These are best suited with units that provide instant heat, such as electric infrared heaters, to ensure equipment is operational only when required.
The range of outdoor heaters is now quite comprehensive with attractive and cost-effective options with all the bells and whistles. This range of options means there is a heating system to suit any outdoor area and help your business keep customers coming back.