Can you use a patio heater in a screened porch?

Choosing the right patio heater can be daunting because there are different types of heaters available in the market at different price points.

Patio heaters are a great choice for a screened porch as long as you follow the directions of use and take precautionary measures to stay safe and warm when using one.

Screened In Porch

What Types Of Patio Heaters Are Safe To Use In A Screened Porch?

Your main options include electric, natural gas as well as propane heaters. All heaters are not equally safe or effective and have their own pros and cons.

Gas heaters are usually considered unsafe in places without proper ventilation. So, electric patio heaters should be your go-to option for a screened porch.

There are some electric patio heaters that work with the help of an electric outlet but you can also find ones that are safer and can work with batteries.

Pros And Cons Of Electric Patio Heaters


  • Electric patio heaters work by converting electricity into thermal energy while providing an equal distribution of heat without releasing any dangerous gases, sparks, or open flames.
  • They are portable and easy to use with minimal clearance requirements. Be it your room, porch, or terrace, you can place it anywhere without any inconvenience as long as have an electrical outlet or batteries.


  • In the long-term, electric patio heaters have the disadvantage of consuming a large amount of electricity and can be a costly option. 
  • Another drawback is that an electric heater is simply not as powerful as propane and natural gas heaters. You might feel that it’s not heating the room as per your expectations.

How close can a patio heater be to the ceiling?

While looking for the right patio heater, one question that might pop up is regarding the appropriate distance between the ceiling and patio heater.

It is typically recommended for the patio heater to have a space of at least 300-500mm from the covered roof. This will result in improved circulation of hot and cold air.

Safety considerations and fire avoidance

  • Remember to always turn the heater off before moving it anywhere.
  • Avoid using gas patio heaters indoors as there can be a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • As most patio heaters work with a flame they should only be handled by adults and be kept away from children and pets.  
  • Flammable objects should never be left unsupervised. Don’t forget to turn the heater off whenever you leave the room.
  • A terrace is not the always best option for all patio heaters as they can tip over, resulting in a burn hazard.
  • Before buying a patio heater, designate a safe place for it as it emits strong heat which can be a health hazard if there are flammable objects nearby.
  • Moreover, make sure your ground is levelled before placing the patio heater, as it can be a cause of fire hazards.
  • It is advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions before lighting a gas patio heater. If the burner doesn’t ignite right away, turn the heater off and try again after 5 minutes. This helps prevent an explosion due to gas accumulation.

Considerations When Using A Patio Heater In A Screened Porch


Clearance is a critical matter when it comes to patio heaters. Make sure you check the clearance for your specific patio heater model, then make sure your porch is suitable.

It is recommended to have a space of 3 feet above the unit and 2 feet on each side.

Keep in mind, if your large patio heater is touching the roof of your patio, problems may arise, so this should be avoided.

For a more accurate answer, check the force of the radiating heat of your heater and accordingly determine the needed clearance.


One of the most important things to keep in mind is ventilation. It can be quite dangerous if your patio disrupts the airflow in any way. 

Construction Material

Depending on the material of the coverage, you may have to be more cautious. If your outdoor heater gives off smoke of any kind, you could end up seeing some stains or damage to the patio cover.


Adjustable heaters are very beneficial as they can directly heat in the direction you want and heat can be used in an efficient way.

Wooden screened porch

Benefits Of Using A Patio Heater In A Screened Porch

Due to the enclosed space in a screened-in porch or patio, less amount of heat is needed to keep you toasty. Similarly, enclosed spaces heat up faster than outdoors which is always beneficial.

After investing in a patio heater, you can make maximum use of it by keeping it in a screened porch or shed when not in use to increase its lifespan and protect it from extreme weather conditions.

Different Types Of Patio Heaters

Hanging Patio Heater:

Just like their name, these patio heaters hang from the ceiling and need proper installation. They use multiple fuel types such as propane, natural gas, or electric so you must consider how you are going to run the utility to the heater.

Wall Mounted Patio Heater:

Similar to hanging patio heaters, these require installation and are placed on a wall.

This is actually an infrared heater that warms up the room in whichever direction it is pointed at.

It uses natural gas, propane, or electricity and electric wall heaters are the safest, most popular choice.

Free-Standing Patio Heater:

You have most probably seen this heater at outdoor restaurants or open-air parties. One main advantage is that it is convenient and easily moveable. Plus, it perfectly radiates intense heat to warm up the outdoors.

Just like other patio heaters, it uses propane, natural gas, or electric fuel, with propane being the most commonly used.

Table-Top Patio Heater:

The best description for this heater is that it’s a smaller version of the free-standing patio heater.

As it’s the smallest type of patio heater, it also provides the smallest amount of heat.

Due to its aesthetic design as a lamp, it can also be used as a decoration piece in your porch.


Now that you know patio heaters can be used in a screened porch, you’re ready to start looking for what you want.

Whatever type of patio heater you choose for your covered porch, make sure you do your research and take note of all safety considerations before purchasing.