Do you want to use your patio heater in your garage? That’s a great idea, but you need to be careful. Here are 4 common mistakes you should avoid.

Keeping your garage warm and cozy is very important. Whether you use it to work on your hobbies, do repairs, or jam with friends, it’s undeniable that none of those activities sound attractive when the room is freezing.

Patio heaters are extremely versatile and great at providing a steady heat source, so it makes sense to think that they could be used in your garage.

And while this is possible, you must go about it carefully.

Garages are full of flammable objects and other factors that could unleash a catastrophe, so, due diligence is required.

I want to help you safely transform your garage from a cold, lifeless space, into a cozy section of your home, which is why I’ve prepared the list below.

In it, you will find the most common mistakes people tend to make when trying to use their patio heaters in their garage. Hopefully, this will help you avoid repeating them.

Are you ready? Let’s get to work!

Can You Use Any Patio Heater in Your Garage?

The short answer is yes, but there are some things you must consider. As you know, there are several versions of patio heaters, such as infrared, propane, electric, oil, and many more.

Regardless of which model you own, you should be able to heat up your garage easily, but some of them require ventilation or adequate electrical connections to do the job without putting you at risk.

Here are 4 common mistakes you want to avoid making:

  1. Keeping flammable sources nearby
  2. Placing the heater next to your car
  3. Having poor ventilation
  4. Overloading your outlet

#1 Keeping Flammable Sources Nearby

As stated above, garages are usually full of flammable objects that could catch on fire if you place your heater too close to them.

Items such as cardboard boxes, curtains or gift wrapping paper can be a fire hazard, so the first thing you want to do is make sure they’re not anywhere near your heat source.

This can be especially problematic if your garage is not too spacious, or if you keep it cluttered, as it can be difficult to find a safe spot to place your appliance in.

If you own an electric or infrared model, you might think you’re off the hook, but you’re not. While the aforementioned items are much more likely to catch on fire from the flame in a propane model, you should not underestimate the high temperatures all other versions can produce.

#2 Placing the Heater Next to Your Car

two red cars in a garage
You don’t want to damage your paint job, do you?

If you own a big garage, this might not be a problem, but if you’re like most of us, there’s very little space between your car and everything else.

Under normal circumstances, this should not be very inconvenient. Worst case scenario, a couple of spiders jump from their cobwebs onto your hood, and pay you a friendly visit while on the road.

How nice of them!

On a more serious note, though, it’s normal to have a reduced garage space for your car, but if you want to place a patio heater in there, you’ll have to be very careful.

Using your patio heater too close to your car could result not only in damaging your paint job, but also in an explosion, as the petrol inside the car could react to the flame or heat coming from your appliance.

And while the former is much more likely to happen than the latter, having to repair the paint on your car sounds bad enough, no?

Moreover, in some extreme scenarios, the glass in your windshield and windows could break due to the excessive heat, which can be very dangerous as well. Please try to keep your heat source at least 10 feet away from your car to prevent any of these disastrous events from occurring.

#3 Having Poor Ventilation

motored ventilation
Maintain a steady airflow to the outside world

This is probably the most important item on this list.

Having proper ventilation is essential to running your patio heater in your garage, as failing to do so could cause serious damage to your health.

If you own an infrared or electric patio heater, you can move on to the next point. Proper ventilation is still necessary for your garage, but you won’t be exposed to propane coming from your unit any time soon.

Now, in case you own a propane heater, this interests you. As you know, your appliance uses a propane canister and a pilot to keep the flame lit and the unit functional. Gas leaks are very common in these units, as any damage to the gas line or the pilot could cause them.

Moreover, even if both parts are fine, not all the propane that reaches the pilot is burned off, and some makes its way into the surrounding air. If you have improper ventilation, you’ll be constantly breathing this gas residue, which could intoxicate you.

It is of the utmost importance that, if you want to run your propane heater in your garage, you install some ventilation or keep your door open.

Some people value the privacy in their garages greatly, so, if you’re one of them, keeping the street door open is not a possibility. In this case, you could install a fan exhaust that removes the propane, and expels it outside the house.

Please, whatever you do, address this as soon as possible, as being exposed to propane for long periods in a closed environment, can be life-threatening.

#4 Overloading Your Outlet

overloaded outlet
It can be easy to overload your outlet when the power sources are scarce

Lastly, let’s talk about circuit overload.

Most garages are equipped with little to no wall outlets. After all, it’s a space designed to store your car and a couple of old clothes in cardboard boxes. When building a house, few people think to install several power sources in this area.

If this is your case, you’ve probably overloaded your outlet more than once. This might sound like something unimportant, but trust me, it’s not.

Wall outlets are designed to tolerate a certain amount of voltage. When this limit is exceeded, your breakers can trip, and your devices can sustain permanent damage.

A lot of people use the single outlet in their garage to plug in their power tools, their phone, a computer, and maybe a couple of lights, which is a recipe for disaster. If this is your case, make sure to buy some extensions, so you can distribute the electrical load more evenly around your home.

This is crucial, as, in some extreme cases, circuit overload could even cause the outlet to catch on fire.

Safety Recommendations

I hope the information provided here has been useful to you. I want to make sure you’re clear on the dos and don’ts, so here’s a quick recap on some safety recommendations:

  • Maintain proper ventilation at all times
  • Do not overload your circuit
  • Keep your car far from the patio heater
  • Keep anything flammable away from the heat source
  • Check whether your heater’s tilt switch is functional

Incorporating these good practices while using your patio heater in your garage will ensure that you’re always safe and warm.

Which One Should You Use?

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to that question. The best heater model for you will be determined by several personal factors, such as:

  • The cost of electricity in your area
  • Your ventilation options
  • Your willingness to maintain and clean your heater’s internal parts
  • The space in your garage

If you keep a lot of flammable objects, such as paper or cardboard boxes in your garage, a propane heater might not be the best way to go. Especially if you currently have no ventilation solutions and no plans to install one any time soon.

Infrared heaters are great, as they use no fire. But if the Kilowatt per hour cost in your area is very high, you’ll end up paying a fortune to run it.

You could also try oil radiators as they do not use fire, but they’ve been known to cost more to run than infrared models, as the energy source (oil) is more expensive than electricity.

Moreover, if your garage is small, there might be no way of keeping your heater away from your car, which would put you in a very difficult position.


Using a patio heater safely in a garage can be challenging. There are so many things that could go wrong, that it’s important to keep track of all of them and take action to prevent them from occurring.

Luckily, as I hope you’ve learned in this piece, it is possible to run your heater in that secluded space as long as you keep some things in mind. Remember to always consider the space you have to work with, and whether you have proper ventilation solutions in place.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article helpful, why not become an expert in the subject through our other incredible resources below?

Stay safe, and warm!