How Much Gas Does a Patio Heater Use? Possible Gas Leak?

The amount of gas a patio heater can use depends on the size of the patio heater. Still, the amount of heat a patio heater produces may also determine the size of the heater. Most manufacturers use BTUs as a measure of the heat output of a gas patio heater. Most make gas heaters with heating abilities between 30,000BTUs and 40,000BTUs. 

In this article when I say gas I mean both propane and natural gas. According to research, a 40,000BTU patio heater can use a 10kg gas tank for 10 hours if it stays on the whole time. This means that one kilogram of gas is used every hour. The table below will show you the consumption of other heater sizes. 

Tank size Heater size10kg12kg14kg16kg18kg20kg
30,000BTUs7.5hrs9hrs10.5hrs12hrs13.5hrs15hrs
35,000BTUs8.75hrs10.5hrs12.5hrs14hrs15.75hrs17.5hrs
40,000BTUs10hrs 12hrs14hrs16hrs18hrs20hrs

The table above gives you an idea of how much gas the patio heater is likely to consume. What about when you feel that the patio heater is consuming too much gas? Sometimes there might be a gas leak. Below is how you may address the issue. 

Checking for Gas Leak for the Patio Heater 

There are several methods or ways of checking if there is a gas leak on the patio heater gas system. Below are some of the methods.

  1. Check for rotten eggs/sulfur smell 

Most gas companies put mercaptan additives in the gas tanks to give it a unique smell of rotten eggs. So watch out for that odor on your patio. If your nose catches such a smell, shut down the patio heater and disconnect the gas tank from the gas line. When the heater has cooled down then connect the gas tank and investigate the source of the leak. 

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Make sure there is no flame substance like a candle while investigating the source of the leak. But many homeowners recommend you call a professional from the gas company to do the investigation of the leak. 

  1. Listen for a hissing sound 

If you hear a hissing sound or sometimes a whistling sound on your gas line then there can be a leak. Gas is colorless so when the gas particles struggle to escape through a small space a hissing sound is produced. Also, make sure you shut down the heater and disconnect the tank from the gas line. 

The hissing sound will tell you the source of the leak. So repair the leak and reconnect the tank. 

  1. Gas leak detector 

This is a device that produces some noise when it detects some type of gas in the air. Most gas detectors detect propane, natural gas, and carbon-monoxide presence. To avoid confusion, buy a specialized detector that detects only one type of gas. For example, if you have a propane patio heater buy a propane gas detector. 

Always remember to replace the batteries in the gas detector or else it will be useless on your patio.  

  1. Soap water test 

Add a tablespoon of powder soap or a teaspoon of liquid soap in a jug of clean water. Douse the solution in the area you suspect there is a leak. Watch out for bubbles to confirm your suspicions. Before you do this test, make sure the heater is off and there is no flame substance around your patio. Repair the leak immediately you find it. 

  1. Check the range top of the heater’s flame 
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The burner burns with a blue flame when you turn the heater on. But if it produces an orange or a reddish flame then this shows that there is gas in the air that is consuming the oxygen. Here also switch off the heater and use another method to locate the source of the leak. Repair the leak and reconnect the heater. 

How to Repair a Gas Leak on your Patio Heater

The procedure below will help you to repair a gas leak and save you the cost of calling a plumber. But if the leak is hard to detect or on a complicated junction, call a plumber to repair such a leak. 

What you need 

  • A face mask 
  • Gloves 
  • Acetone 
  • Epoxy 
  • Rubber tape 
  • Wrench  

Step 1

Turn off the patio heater and the gas tank valve if you suspect a gas leak. Use any of the methods above to detect the source of the leak. Open up the covers of the gas line to easily inspect the source of the leak. Wear a face mask to prevent you from inhaling the gas and wear rubber hand gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges of the pipe covers. 

Step 2 

Detach the gas line from the gas regulator because most gas leaks are as a result of high pressure inside the gas pipes. Use a wrench to open up the high-pressure line in the pipes. 

Step 3 

Clean the high-pressure line with acetone. Make sure you remove any residue gas in the pipe before you clean it. Doing this removes any impurities that can create high pressure hence another leak in a very short time. 

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Step 4 

Now is the time to reattach the gas line. Loosely attach the high-pressure line to avoid a new leak. Wrap the grip with rubber tape so that it stays firmly in place and ensures the leak is closed. Make sure the gas line is at a soft angle so that the high-pressure line does not interrupt with the low-pressure line. 

Step 5 

Now apply epoxy on the gas line and give it 12 hours to dry then tighten the high-pressure line. And reconnect the low-pressure line. Then test the leak. If there is another leak, repeat the procedure of sealing the leak. But if there is no other leak, place back the covers of the gas line and the heater is safe for use. Call a plumber if you do not locate the source of the leak.

Conclusion 

A 40,000BTU gas patio heater can consume 10kgs of gas in 10 hours if the heater stays on the whole time. The size of the patio heater determines the amount of gas a heater can use. And most gas patio heaters range between 30,000BTUs and 40,000BTUs. Use the table above to see how much gas your patio heater can use.