A comfortable patio is a profitable patio; plain and simple. If customers are complaining about too much heat or a lack thereof, it will be the difference between guests returning to your patio or taking their business elsewhere. A well laid-out patio that relies on heaters will need to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the entire space to contribute to the overall atmosphere, instead of hinder it. To create a welcoming space that contributes to the success of your business, you need to understand the customers’ needs, the climate in which you live, how your patio has been constructed, and the capabilities of the products you are using.
Let’s start with one of the most critical components- the customer’s needs. Each customer has their own expectation of how the atmosphere of a patio should feel, how long it should be open based on the season, and the overall comfort level of the area itself. While some customers are satisfied with heaters being used to create a comfortable atmosphere on chilly summer nights; others set the expectation that they would like the space to be fully functional all year round. It is crucial to determine this from the start, as it could mean the difference between a patio that features eight heaters, or a patio that features twelve. The last thing any business owner wants, other than an uncomfortable patio, is to have to pay an installation team double the cost to add more heaters. Just as frustrating, is the possibility of reducing the use of heaters that have already been installed, because patio-goers find the space to be overheated and uncomfortable, depending on their expectations.
In addition to maintaining a certain standard of comfort, customers take into consideration the style and visual appeal of the space and the heaters that are used. Therefore, we ensure that we offer all styles and sizes of gas heaters, to accommodate the customers’ needs.
The second part of the comfort equation is the climate in which the space resides. The climate of a particular area can impact the overall design of the patio and the recommended layout of the heaters that are required. Which category does your location fall under?
- Coastal versus inland: What is your proximity to large bodies of water?
- Geographic location: North, South, East, West
- Humidity levels: Arizona versus Florida
- Wind exposure
To accommodate these variations, our gas heaters are approved for use in various BTU/Hr Hi/Lo input ranges. We also de-rate our heaters, per order, based on the elevation. As an example, our evenTUBE ETS Models at 17 feet in length have 3 Hi/Lo input ranges to choose from – 45,000 Lo / 60,000 Hi, 60,000 Lo / 80,000 Hi and 75,000 Lo / 100,000 Hi. It is not uncommon to use each model for the same patio layout in three different climates.
Every Space is Unique
The third part of the equation is the patio space itself, and the specific area that is to be heated. In our years of experience, we have quickly realized that each patio space is different and many factors have to be considered, such as:
- Open floor space with no overhangs
- Exposure to the elements. Is the space fully-exposed, semi-enclosed or fully-enclosed?
- Covered areas
- Retractable awnings
- Wall and ceiling structures such as lights, fans, misters, plants, vines and TV’s
- Closest availability of natural gas or propane
- Beams and pillars
These factors, in some form, always come into play and can present difficulties in laying out a patio effectively. It is common to use different product collections and/or models in the same space due to the factors that are present. With IR Energy having all types of models to accommodate installation and use on the floor, wall, and ceiling, it gives the customer confidence that we will be able to meet their specific requirements.
Know Your Heater
Finally, knowing the capabilities of the products specified for the space is invaluable. If you believe your product can heat an area greater or less than what it has been designed for, you are sure to create an uncomfortable environment for guests and staff. By understanding the product and the ideal heat footprint it can achieve in various scenarios, you can be confident that you will satisfy your customers.
It can be a game of inches when comfort is on the line. A change in design as small as a bar top table being used instead of a standard sit-down table can mean the difference of a hanging height distance of 9 feet instead of 8 ½ feet. At IR Energy we use radiant footprint testing at multiple heights to understand the appropriate coverage of each heater and the intensity of that coverage, considering all factors previously mentioned. Our state of the art Research and Development lab, outdoor testing facility, and years of experience give us the edge for creating comfortable environments that will help you and your customers continue to enjoy the outdoors, longer than the competition.
At IR Energy, we provide free layout consultations, which will help you to understand further the space in which you are working, and the best heaters to purchase for that space. Please feel free to reach out to us with as much detail as you can provide, and our team will be happy to assist you.
Thank you and stay warm!