Can Outdoor Heaters Be Left Out In The Rain? (Practical Advice And Solutions)

  • By: August Ferra
  • Date: July 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Outdoor heaters are a great way to extend the time you can spend in your backyard. A common question new owners have is can outdoor heaters be left out in the rain.

Can outdoor heaters be left out in the rain?

Outdoor heaters can be left in the rain and snow. their design is such that the burner assembly is unlikely to receive any amount of rain or snow though it may get some moisture from the environment. 

When you try to fire it up after the rain or snow, it may ignite and fire up without any trouble as long as the gas or propane supply is normal.

However, you should not risk leaving any electric heaters outside, especially when rain or snow is expected. Electricity and water do not pair well, and it can damage your heater. 

If you have to leave an electric heater outside, you should cover it well with a waterproof material such as tarp and seal it properly to ensure there is no entry of water, snow, or moisture inside the heater.

Having said that, you could leave gas and propane-based outdoor heater heaters outside exposed to rain and snow. We want to advise against it. 

If you can’t put or store them in a protected environment, you should purchase covers for the outdoor heaters and place them on the heaters before leaving them exposed to the elements. This is the best solution for your outdoor heaters to protect them from the sun, rain, or snow.

Outdoor Heaters

Making use of outdoor space during the cool winter season can be tempting, but it calls for outdoor heaters’ installation. In such open spaces, an electrical outlet or a gas connection is hard to find, leaving us with the choice of propane outdoor heaters. 

In covered patios, you may also use electric heaters or natural gas heaters. These devices are a convenient alternative to setting up a fire pit. But can outdoor heaters be left out in the rain?

The answer to this question is while you can leave gas and propane outdoor heaters exposed to rain, it is not recommended. The outdoor heaters are designed in such a manner that they can withstand occasional drizzle. 

But if you leave them in the rain for an extended period, it can set off a process of deterioration that can finally damage your outdoor heater.

If you are planning to purchase outdoor heaters, you can keep this factor in your mind about how you are going to protect them from sun, rain, and snow. There are different kinds of outdoor heaters, and you can compare how they fare under different environmental conditions, including the rain. Some precautions can extend the lifespan of your outdoor heaters.

Broadly speaking, there are 3 types of outdoor heaters on the market.

Fixed Gas-Based Outdoor Heaters

Fixed gas-based outdoor heaters are located at a particular spot where a gas connection is nearby. This kind of heater can be moved around easily. 

The manufacturers of this kind of heaters take this factor into account and design the products with features that enable them to stay safe in moderate rain, sun, or snow. 

There are also some good quality covers available in the market that you can use to give your fixed outdoor heaters the necessary protection from the rain. You should use the cover once the heater is fully cooled down. The regular use of the cover will increase the lifespan of your outdoor heaters.

Portable Gas-Based Outdoor Heaters

Portable outdoor heaters also use gas, but it does not come from a fixed connection. 10 lbs propane cans are a popular fuel for portable outdoor heaters. 

Like the fixed outdoor heaters, the portable version can also withstand moderate rain. 

But the good thing about this outdoor heater is that it can be moved around. So, when rain is expected, you can move it to a safer place where rain can’t get to it.

However, when it comes to moving around these devices, kindly bear in mind these are slightly heavy devices. So, don’t leave the task for the last minute. You need to bear in mind that you should not attempt to move it immediately after turning it off. 

It can still be scorching. It is better to anticipate the rain and turn it off and let it cool down. Move it to a safe place as soon as it starts to drizzle.

Infrared Electric Outdoor Heaters

Any electric outdoor heater should not be left exposed to rain. As we have said earlier in the article, the coming together of electricity and water is dangerous. 

Electric heaters are usually not as heavy as other kinds of outdoor heaters. So, it shouldn’t be too difficult to move them around.

Outdoor Heaters For Covered Patios

We have not considered this option so far. If you have a covered patio, you can install your outdoor heater in the patio. This will save you from moving the heater to a safer place when there is rain. 

Some people may think it is not safe to use outdoor heaters in a covered patio. This is not true. If you take all the precautions, it can be both a safe and pleasant experience.

In particular, you need a safe, clear space around the heaters. It is at least two feet on the sides and three feet above the heater. This is not much to demand from a patio, which is usually large. 

Another important thing to bear in mind is that all combustible materials such as wood, umbrellas, etc. should be kept at least 6 feet away from the outdoor heaters.


Getting a Heater Cover

If you want to protect your outdoor heater from rain, getting a heater cover for them is the best solution. These covers would help extend your outdoor heaters’ lifespan that is typically heavy and not easy to move around.

If you leave the outdoor heaters exposed to rain, it can cause decay and damage to their parts, and the whole system would get degraded sooner than their expected lifespan.

The outdoor heater covers are made of tough fabric, and they have water-resistant backing that protects your heater against sun, dirt, rain, snow.

Final thoughts

While your outdoor heaters can withstand moderate rains, it is not recommended to leave them out in the rain. It is better to buy and use outdoor heater covers for safety and a longer lifespan.