Q. We spend a lot of time in our backyard and we are in the process of designing an outdoor kitchen. We are also looking to add a heat source such as a fireplace or patio heater. Where we live we are not permitted to burn wood and I am wondering what your advice would be in regards to outdoor gas fireplaces. Is there a concern the metal will rust in our climate? Do they throw off a lot of heat and are they very costly to run?
A. Having an outdoor heating source is a great way to extend your time outdoors. Unlike indoor fireplaces, outdoor units are typically made of stainless steel making them resistant to rusting. While an outdoor fireplace creates great ambience they do not create a lot of warmth for an open space. However; if itís heat youíre looking for then consider an infrared natural gas patio heater. While a fireplace will only throw off enough heat for the people sitting close enough to the heat source, an infrared patio heater does a better job of heating a larger group of people. The infrared technology is designed to heat the objects beneath it, rather than the air. You will see these heaters on many restaurant patios. For more information on these units check out the Superior Radiant website at www.superiorradiant.com.