outdoor heating options

For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s easy to understand the importance of outdoor heating options during the winter months. But with COVID concerns and restrictions on indoor gatherings, heated outdoor spaces have become an even more inviting option.

Whether you have a patio, porch, deck, or backyard, choosing the right outdoor heating option can open up your outdoor space year-round.

What Outdoor Heating Options Are There?

With hundreds of options for patio heaters, fireplace tables and pits, and outdoor fireplaces, what are the best choices? The best option for you depends on the space you are trying to heat, your budget, and how often you intend to use it.

Here are a few of the most popular options:

1. Custom Outdoor Fireplaces

A custom outdoor fireplace can be anything you want it to be. You can enjoy a state-of-the-art gas fire centerpiece for your open seating area or a classic wood-burning heat source that fits into that awkward corner on the outside of your house. Outdoor fireplaces offer a wide variety of options for almost any scenario. A custom fireplace contractor can help you create the perfect outdoor fireplace design.

Cost

A custom outdoor fireplace is an investment and can be fairly expensive upfront, depending on the required labor and fuel source. Most outdoor fireplaces start at a few thousand dollars before the installation and design costs.

In many cases, installing a gas fireplace also requires running a new line of gas plumbing. If this is the case, we recommend that homeowners also consider running piping for a BBQ at the same time. This way, your outdoor space is ready for summer gatherings, too!

Since you are not building your fireplace from a preset kit, you can customize it for your yard or patio and choose whichever surround options you like. Using more expensive materials will bring up the cost but may provide more lasting value and an unbeatable appearance that will impress guests.

Outdoor Value

A custom outdoor fireplace can add substantial value to your home, both financially and in terms of your daily lifestyle. There’s nothing quite like enjoying the company of your family or friends around outdoor flames with a stunning brick or stone surround. Depending on the type of fireplace you install, you may be able to use it for cooking as well as heat and ambiance.

Compared to other outdoor heating options, a custom fireplace adds:

  • The most visual appeal and customizability options.
  • The most fuel source options.
  • Plenty of heat.
  • An incredibly intimate setting that makes it easy to relax with loved ones or cozy up with a good book after a hectic day.
  • Additional structure for your outdoor living space. Depending on where you place the fireplace, you could create more privacy from your neighbors, block the wind, or divide your outdoor dining and living areas.

Many homeowners use their outdoor fireplace as a focal point for their outdoor living space. You may wish to surround your fireplace with seating, tables, and maybe even an outdoor kitchen or covered movie theater area. Regardless of what you do with your outdoor fireplace, it will be a stunning addition to your home and provide lasting enjoyment for your family.

Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

Modern Outdoor Fireplace

Stone Outdoor Fireplace

Brick Outdoor Fireplace

Small Outdoor Fireplace

Corner Outdoor Fireplace

2. Gas Fireplace Tables

Gas fireplace tables can be a great option for decks, patios, and covered areas. They are a bit more informal than fireplaces and can add to a campfire-like or cutting-edge modern atmosphere, depending on the style you choose. They are often used in place of an outdoor coffee table.

Cost

Gas fireplace table prices range from moderate to expensive. Small tables made from relatively low-cost materials start at under a thousand, while larger installations with higher-end materials may cost a few thousand dollars.

Outdoor Value

Gas fireplace tables are easy to use and can be a great heating option depending on the model and brand. Outdoor living spaces with fire tables often feel very casual and open. If you plan to entertain large groups in the future, a gas fireplace can create an excellent centerpiece. 

Compared to other outdoor heating options, a gas fire table adds:

  • A relatively easy and safe way to create a real fire.
  • Moderate to excellent visual appeal.
  • A centerpiece that is ideal for a casual seating area.

Fireplace Table Ideas

3. Gel or Ethanol Fire Pits

Gel and ethanol fire pits are one of the least expensive outdoor heating options, although they tend not to provide much heat. They are easy to use and come in a variety of modern styles.

Cost

Fel and ethanol fire pits are one of the smallest outdoor heating options, which is part of the reason they are often inexpensive. You can find a number of low-cost options, although larger, higher-end designs may cost $1,000 or more.

Outdoor Value

Gas and ethanol fire pits provide a relatively inexpensive, modern fire amenity that fits in small places. However, they typically do not provide as much heat as other outdoor heating options.

Compared to other outdoor heating options, gel and ethanol fire pits add:

  • Plenty of modern styling options that fit well with a modern or contemporary style home.
  • A fire amenity option that fits in smaller spaces.
  • Less maintenance and less need for open space than a wood-burning fire pit.
  • Minimal heat; a lower chance of feeling overly hot on summer afternoons, but less flexibility to use as a heat source in cooler months.
  • Some gel fire pits provide a safe way to cook marshmallows, hot dogs, and other foods; however, you should always check before purchasing.

Gas or Ethanol Fire Pit Ideas

4. Wood-burning Fire Pits

Wood-burning fire pits create a campfire-like ambiance. Keep in mind that in order to safely use a wood-burning fire pit, you generally need to have a larger, open area on the ground.

Cost

Wood-burning fire pits range from relatively inexpensive to moderately priced. Smaller and lower-end models typically range from $100-500, while larger, more stylized options with higher-quality materials may cost up to $1,500 or more.

Outdoor Value

Wood-burning fireplaces are the most casual, rustic outdoor heating option. They often work well for homeowners who enjoy camping and want to create a campfire-like space within a larger, open backyard. 

Compared to other outdoor heating options, wood-burning fire pits add:

  • The most campfire-like atmosphere, depending on the style.
  • An easy way to cook marshmallows, hot dogs, and other foods.
  • More heat than a gel or ethanol fire pit.
  • A casual centerpiece for a seating area within a larger, open yard.

Wood-burning fire pits are great for cooking and toasting marshmallows, but most styles do not provide the same aesthetic value as a fire table or fireplace. Since you need open space in the surrounding area, they may not be a good option in smaller or more structured backyards.

Wood-Burning Fire Pit Ideas

5. Standing Gas Heaters

Standing gas heaters are one of the easiest outdoor heating options to buy and use. In most cases, you can purchase a heater and move it around with minimal research and effort. However, standing gas heaters lack some of the benefits that make fireplaces, fire tables, and fire pits popular.

Cost

Standing gas heaters range from inexpensive to somewhat expensive. Most models are priced between a few hundred and a few thousand. As with other heating options, larger models with high-end materials and styling are typically more expensive than lower-end models. Keep in mind that you may need to purchase multiple standing heaters depending on the size of your seating area.

Outdoor Value

Standing gas heaters are primarily used for heating, not cooking or living space structures. Rather than being the centerpiece of a seating or eating area, standing heaters are typically placed behind or to the side of the furniture. Nicer models may provide some level of ambiance.

Compared to other outdoor heating options, standing gas heaters add:

  • A moderate to cozy level of heat.
  • Relative flexibility and ease of use, including the option to move your heater around in many cases.
  • Depending on the model, some level of ambiance when placed around a seating area.

Standing Gas Heater Ideas

Considering a custom outdoor fireplace in Western Washington?

Four Day Fireplace designs and installs fireplaces throughout the Puget Sound region. Our team can drastically reduce the installation time and costs associated with your fireplace without sacrificing quality. Whether you want a magnificent wood-burning fireplace or a contemporary gas fireplace with a colorful glass bed, we can come up with the perfect design for you. Reach out to us today to get a quote for your fireplace project.

Address

3923 88th St. NE Suite A Marysville, WA 98270

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