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Four Smart Tips for Outdoor Living Upgrades

Outdoor Living Tips

Propane appliances such as grills, patio heaters, fire pits, and lights are great ways to help you maximize enjoyment of  your outdoor living area while providing a safe source of warmth, ambience, and — of course — burgers!  Because many of these appliances are portable and available in a range of sizes and prices, you can customize your outdoor space to fit your style, needs, and budget. If you're budget-minded and handy with tools, you may want to take on your outdoor room redo as a do-it-yourself project. Just be sure to have a qualified service technician install your gas appliances, refill your propane tanks, and inspect your equipment.  (Find a local propane retailer.)

Here are a few tips for smart outdoor living upgrades:

1. Create a budget. Before you start any project, it's important to decide how much money you're willing to spend. And it's a good idea to build in a 10 percent cushion for unexpected expenses.

2. Consider placement. When determining where to place your new propane grill or outdoor heater, follow the manufacturer's guidelines to determine a place that optimizes performance. Keep outdoor appliances away from furniture, deck rails, trees, and buildings. Keep grills at least 10 feet from any structure, and make sure fire pits and patio heaters have at least three feet of clearance on all sides. Make sure the surface area is level, well-ventilated, and away from strong winds.

3. Keep the outdoors out. Use outdoor propane appliances outdoors — and indoor propane appliances indoors. Don't keep a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, a garage, a shed, or a tent.

4. Know when to go pro. When your home already operates on propane, a qualified service technician must install appliances that are connected to an existing gas source. You should also schedule a qualified service technician inspect your outdoor appliances annually. (Find a local propane retailer.)

And the most important tip of all: Enjoy your new outdoor living space!