Outdoor gas heaters and fire places

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Outdoor gas heaters and fire places

Outdoor gas heaters are a good way to warm up outdoor spaces. An advantage of these fires is they can be moved around to suit your need.

You don’t need a fire permit to use your gas heater or fire place. Follow the guidance below to safely use your gas heater.

Before you light your fire

Check - Gas bottle, hoses and connections wear out over time. Always check these before you use your gas heater.

Soap bubble test – After assembling your heater or changing gas cylinders use the soap bubble test to make sure gas cylinders are secure and not leaking. Do this by turning the gas cylinder on and pouring a little soapy solution (1/4 cup of water and a squirt of liquid soap) over the valve. If bubbles form, you may have a gas leak. Turn the valve off and replace the cylinder O-ring. Install cylinders in an upright position.

Weather - Check the latest weather and wind speed and direction. It’s best to only light your heater in calm weather conditions or light winds. If you’re concerned about wind, before lighting your heater move it to a sheltered place but not too close to houses, trees or anything combustible. If a change to the wind direction or speed makes your heater unsafe, turn it off.

Safety zone – Place your gas heater on a flat, stable surface that can’t burn, e.g. a metal tray. Make sure it is more than three metres away from any part of a building, or anything else that could catch alight and burn, e.g. plants, grasses, or branches.

Extinguish - Have a way to put out any unplanned fire. This could include a garden hose that is turned on and ready to go, buckets of water or a fire extinguisher. These must be within five metres of your gas heater.

When your fire is lit

Supervise - Ensure someone stays with the gas heater until it’s put out. Have a ‘no go zone’ to keep children and pets safe.

Weather -  If a change to the wind direction or speed makes your gas heater unsafe — turn it off.

Be responsible - You need to be able to take charge if there’s an emergency, and should not be impaired.

Location – Only use your gas heater outside in a well-ventilated area. Never use a gas heater inside or in an enclosed area. The gas from your heater burns and produces poisonous gases that can be harmful to your health or lethal. 

After your fire

Cool down - Allow the heater to cool completely before moving it or putting the cover on.

Gas - Turn off the tap at the gas bottle first. This allows gas to clear from the hose. Store the gas bottle upright and connected to the heater.

Maintenance - Get your gas heater serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Dial 111 immediately in an emergency. Anything that could cause loss of life, serious injury or loss of property is a fire emergency.