"OutdoorBarren is supported by its readers. Please assume all links are affiliate links. If you purchase something from one of our links we make a small commission from Amazon."

Do Outdoor Patio Heaters Need to Be Covered?

Do Outdoor Patio Heaters Need to Be Covered

You don’t need to cover your outdoor heater, but it’s recommended. Patio heaters can be covered to protect them and prolong their life, but you definitely want to be careful depending on a number of factors.

Whether or not you choose to cover your outdoor heater is entirely up to you, though. A cover will keep your heater safe from the elements, but it can also be responsible for your heater getting pulled down by the wind.

If you don’t use a cover and choose to build or use a covered patio instead, there are a few things to be aware of for your safety.

Protection From the Elements

One of the biggest reasons to cover your outdoor heater is to protect it from the elements and insects when not in use. This will keep the components safe and prevent bugs or moisture from damaging your heater.


One of the quickest ways to wear down your heater is to expose it to constant weather. Rain can ruin the heating components or rust the metal, heavy winds can blow debris into it, or the cold can freeze the heating coils.

Over time, this will effectively kill the lifespan of your outdoor heater so an easy way to avoid this is to purchase a cover. This will protect the exterior of your heater from the weather, even if it’s just the sun beating down all the time in the summer.


This is especially important if you live in a more humid environment like Florida or Louisiana, but one of the most damaging elements that can affect your heater is moisture. This can happen after a heavy rain or just by having constant humidity in the air, but it will destroy your heater.

Placing a cover around your heater will keep moisture out and preserve the components from rusting. It’s important to note that a cover can actually build up moisture inside if you don’t turn your heater on or let it air dry once in a while, though, so make sure you do one of those.


Anyone who spends time on a patio at night knows how annoying bugs can be, from swatting away mosquitoes to being terrified of spiders. Unfortunately, bugs are drawn to warmth and an outdoor heater can be a great place for them to call home.

Not only can this lead to some startling surprises, but bugs can actually cause your heater to malfunction or simply not work. For this reason alone, you should consider covering your heater when not in use.

Blown Away

One important thing that any owner of an outdoor heater should know is that a cover can also be the cause of a broken machine. That’s because the fabric can catch a heavy enough breeze and pull the whole thing over.

If you notice that it’s a particularly windy day or just whenever you cover your heater, it’s good to get in the habit of either pulling it closer to your home or tying it to something sturdy.

We recommend this weatherproof outdoor patio heater. Its universal design will fit most outdoor patio heaters and is made to withstand water. It comes with a zipper and drawstring which makes installation and removal an easy process that can be performed by one person.

Types of Outdoor Heaters

You don’t necessarily need to have a cover to keep your outdoor heater protected from the elements, because a covered patio will accomplish the same result. However, there are some things to keep in mind before you use your heater under a roof.

There are 5 main types of outdoor heaters that you can own: Electric, propane, wood, gas, and infrared. Which one you choose is up to you, but keep in mind safety concerns and your location before you buy one.


Electric and infrared heaters are the safest types of heaters to use under a covered patio. They both require an outlet to plug into, but neither one produces an open flame. Electric heaters can take a little longer to heat up and their components can be more damaged by the elements.

Infrared heaters, like electric, don’t produce an open flame. They heat a small area by heating up their bulb and disperse infrared rays that are completely safe. They’re the latest technology in outdoor heating, but there are cheaper options for a budget.


The propane heater is the most-sold for its low price and how fast they get hot. However, the danger with these is that you need to have your patio roof high enough and have proper air ventilation.


Wood heaters are also pretty cheap, but the wood produces a lot of smoke. Without the right structure and ventilation, this can make it hard to breathe or become dangerous for anyone sitting underneath.

Natural Gas

Natural gas heaters are the least common because they require your home to have access to the titular source of heat, which most homes don’t readily have access to. If you do have natural gas nearby, though, these heaters aren’t as expensive as some other options.

Watch Your Headspace

As mentioned above with the propane heater, 2 things to pay attention to if you decide to use an outdoor heater under your patio roof are clearance and ventilation. Clearance is the amount of space between the top of your heater and the roof.

This space is generally filled with an open flame if your heater uses one and without enough clearance your heater can cause burns on the roof. Of course, it could also catch your roof on fire. 

Even with enough clearance you might consider investing in a heat shield, especially if you use a heater with an open flame. Electric and infrared heaters obviously would be the exception.

Ventilation is the other issue with open flames, especially if you have a wood heater. If your patio is open on the sides, then the ventilation is natural and you won’t need to do as much. However, you’ll need some form of air blower if your patio is enclosed.

Trust the Manufacturer

Of course, at the end of the day the safest thing you can do is read through the manufacturer’s guide that comes with your heater. They’ll usually recommend a minimum height for clearance or give recommendations for proper ventilation.

Whether or not you cover your heater, make sure to turn it off when you’re done using it. Failure to unplug or shut off the power to your heater can result in starting a fire, which is an unnecessarily high statistic that you don’t want to join.

Final Thoughts

Again, you don’t need to cover your outdoor heater but it’s advisable if you want to keep your heater working and safe from the weather. One last important thing to do is pay attention to size when it comes to your cover.

While all cover materials are designed to withstand the elements and keep your heater protected, the cover needs to be able to fully wrap around your heater.

Otherwise, it defeats the purpose and can let in whatever you’re trying to prevent.

Outdoor Barren

All of us at Outdoor Barren love the outdoors. We all specialize in different areas to give you the best possible information on each topic. Land, sea, or air, we've got it handled.

Recent Posts