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Ways to stay warm outside while visiting friends, family

Posted January 8, 2021 4:57 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2021 7:29 p.m. EST

We all missing see our friends and family, but the good thing about living in North Carolina is, usually, you can do that outdoors much of the year.

There are ways to warm up your outdoor gathering even more.

One solution for a lot of heat is a fire pit, but if you're bothered by the smoke, a chiminea, a free-standing front-loading fireplace with a round body and vertical smoke vent, might be a better option. They’re designed to funnel that excess smoke up.

Whichever type of fire pit you use, be smart. Keep them at least 10 feet, but ideally 25 feet, away from any structures and keep the overhead area clear for smoke to rise.

"Never use a fire pit or chiminea on a deck," said Paul Hope, with Consumer Reports. "Instead, look for a propane fire pit table that’s designed for use on a deck or patio."

If you want even more flexibility, consider patio heaters that burn gas or use electricity.

Hope said if you have outdoor outlets, consider a few strategically placed space heaters.

"Never use a space heater outdoors with an extension cord. It poses a fire risk, just like it would inside. Instead plug them in directly and look for a model with a safety tip over switch," said Hope.

The Comfort Zone CZ499R Space Heater for $55 performed excellent in Consumer Reports tests for spot heating.

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