While there is little scientific research on the topic, there are literally generations of anecdotal “data” that support the benefits of spending time outside. It usually started with an exasperated parent saying, “you kids need to go outside and play, NOW!” This was a clear signal that it was time to head to the park, the secret fort, the basketball court, anywhere, so long as it was outdoors. In the process, this “take it outside” admonition became hardwired in our collective psyche. 

Then came COVID.

The health and emotional stress brought about by the pandemic, which made almost everyone “stir crazy,” further amplified the “call of the wild,” at least as far as the backyard can be considered “the wild.” People all over the world, and especially those in America, have discovered the simple sublimity of spending time at home, in their own backyard, in every season. Recent research on the spending patterns of Americans on outdoor entertainment spaces and landscaping tell an interesting tale. 

Has the cold weather of winter stopped you from enjoying your outdoor fun? It doesn’t have to. Talk to Acme Brick about the Bromic outdoor heaters. They’re the hottest thing for every backyard.

Homeowners Investing in Outdoor Spaces

Americans are moving outside with a vengeance. A recent study found three-quarters of U.S. homeowners say their outdoor space was crucial to their mental health during COVID-19.
 
According to this article, “The poll of 2,000 homeowners with some sort of outdoor space analyzed how people have been finding solace during the pandemic. Results show respondents are spending 14 hours a week outside – an increase of three hours over pre-pandemic days. Seventy-three percent of homeowners said spending more time outdoors has been therapeutic for them. Seven in 10 added that improving their spaces has become a new hobby of theirs.”

The “One Poll,” conducted on behalf of lawn care company TruGreen added that “respondents have spent an average of $1,910.99 on their outdoor spaces during the pandemic. Specifically, the average homeowner has invested $414.67 on new outdoor furniture and $377.49 on outdoor entertaining equipment like barbeque grills. Four in 10 have also purchased a fire pit or outdoor fireplace and new lawn care products.”

Outdoor grilling

 
With this amount of investment, it is safe to assume that these homeowners expect to use this outdoor equipment even when the weather turns chilly. This has led many to consider purchasing another critical accoutrement to outdoor living - a patio heater.

The Challenge of Heating the Great Outdoors

Often, the designers and architects who create outdoor entertainment spaces lean toward the aesthetic rather than the practical. This has led some to specify old-fashion fire pits or fire rings to be used when the season is colder. While they may look good, they can’t efficiently warm an outdoor space. Better technology is needed. The use of engineered outdoor heaters are necessary to keep the outdoor entertainment space usable all year long. 

“The best way to heat an outdoor area is through radiant heat,” said Britt Stokes of Acme Brick. “Radiant heat warms objects, not the air, like the experience of the sun warming your skin. This is fundamentally different from traditional outdoor fire sources.

“Because of this focus on objects and not air, radiant heaters are wind resistant and can still warm people even in mild wind conditions. This method involves projecting infrared heat radiation onto people rather than moving warm air into the outdoor patio.  

“Radiant heating is the foundation for all Bromic heaters. When properly specified, Bromic can heat any outdoor space more effectively than many competitors because of this principle.”

Outdoor Bromic heater

The 8 Step Planning Guide for Outdoor Heating

Whether the outdoor space to heat is a residential backyard or commercial space such as a restaurant, engineered outdoor heaters are necessary to keep the outdoor entertainment space usable all year long. One of the best of this type of heater is Bromic. 

This article notes, “Since an outdoor area is not a confined space by walls and roof structure, forced air systems are not effective in controlling the ambient temperature. In an outdoor environment, hot air rises and quickly dissipates. Even the slightest breeze will diminish the effect of the heating system, making a forced air heating system impossible to use effectively for outdoor spaces.  

According to this guide, there are eight steps in preparing an outdoor space for Bromic heaters.

#1 Define the Outdoor Space

Outdoor areas are defined as being at least 30% open (front, back or side walls). If a patio is partially covered, then it can capture heat inside the structure, also known as a heat cloud, creating a convectional heating effect. Understanding the structure in design and engineering helps dictate the type and amount of heating required. 

#2 Understand the Types of Heat

Manipulating direction of heat is a critical factor in designing your outdoor heating solution. The most effective heaters use directional heating elements for efficient energy usage and to avoid overheating guests. 

Outdoor Bromic heater

#3 Choose the Power Source

There are three traditional types of fuels: natural gas, liquid propane , and electric. Bromic heaters operate with either gas or electric power. While each fuel has its respective pros & cons, here are three main factors to consider: 

  1. Space confinement and design 
  2. Availability of utilities 
  3. Cost of operations 

#4 Choose a Heat Wave

This chart shows the differences in the types of heat waves.

Types of heat waves

Long Wave Low (unit produces 572˚F) Least Efficient: 40% radiant heat and 60% convective bi-product Susceptible to wind dispersal Average 5 Minutes 

Medium Wave Moderate (unit produces 1652˚F) 60% radiant heat and 40% convective bi-product Limited susceptibility to wind Average 30 Seconds 

Short Wave High (unit produces 3992˚F) Most Efficient: 90% radiant heat and 10% convective bi-product Warms people and objects directly Instantaneous

#5 Determine Long Term Needs

ESTIMATED COST TO RUN 200 FOOT COVERAGE FOR OUTDOOR PATIO 

Natural Gas Propane Electric
$0.40 per hour  $8.00 per hour  $0.88 per hour

These figures are a basic reference guide and will change depending on your geography and application. Different geographies will have different ambient temperatures and may require more or less heaters, depending on the ambient variances. Properly incorporating geography, application and seasonality in the specification is critical for long term effectiveness and cost efficiency.

#6 Comply With Building Codes

It is a requirement by law to have heaters that match the standards and regulations set out by the US Building Code. These standards cover topics such as: where heaters can and cannot be installed, the requirements of different power supplies, air flow, ventilation needs, and the required clearance from combustibles.

#7 Consider Mounting and Installation Costs

How a heater is mounted is just as critical to the aesthetic design as it is to the functional output of the heater. Bromic has created a variety of different mounting options for seamless integration with the outdoor space and heat deflection to maximize heat output. 

#8 Choose Controllers and Accessories

Bromic heaters can be matched with several optional accessories and controllers. For example, 
these home automation systems can be used with Bromic heaters:

  • Lutron 
  • Crestron 
  • Control 4  
  • Nomad 
  • BCS

In conjunction with the design specialists at Bromic, Acme Brick offers complimentary design support for these heating products. Our design specialists can help evaluate your design and application to recommend the most suitable heating configuration including product selection, placement and provide you with technical coverage drawings. Click here for more information.