How to Heat Your Marquees at Outdoor Events

Three Parts:Choosing a HeaterUsing Heaters According to Seasonal NeedsEvent Types

When you're heating a marquee or an outdoor event, it's important to get the temperature just right to ensure that your guests are comfortable and able to enjoy the function. The effectiveness of providing outdoor heating will depend on the location, the type of heater chosen and the placement of the heating.

Part 1
Choosing a Heater

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    Know which heaters will not be suitable. Heating the outdoors requires a lot of power and the heater must have a powerful fan to be able to spread the warmth evenly and consistently across a wide area. The marquee has no insulation at all, so providing an even temperature across the marquee is dependent on the fans constantly working at a high rate. As such, the types of heaters that are not suitable include halogen heaters, patio heaters, cabinet heaters and table heaters, because none of these have internal fans.
    • Do not use anything that runs cords across where people will be sitting, standing and walking in the marquee. That's a tripping hazard waiting to happen.
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    Choose fans that can operate from the outside, directing the heat inward. The best type of heaters for marquees are indirect heaters that are placed outside the marquee, and are powered either by gas or diesel, with ducting that sends the warm air inside.
    • Do not try to buy these heaters––this type of heater can be prohibitively expensive to buy. Instead, find a company that specializes in these heaters and hire them. The benefit of doing this is that you'll have the company's experts set it up and take care of it, and you won't have to worry about the heating during the event.
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    Consider hiring several smaller heaters rather than one large one. This will be helpful for evenly distributing the air at all sides of the marquee but you will need to pay particular attention to where you position these heaters:
    • The heaters will need to be relatively close to the main seating or gathering areas.
    • The heaters must be pointed towards any entrances where heat will be lost.
    Both of these positions will help to maintain a more even temperature throughout the marquee.

Part 2
Using Heaters According to Seasonal Needs

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    Try to keep the heating to the minimum amount needed according to the season. That will save on costs and avoid overheating or over-drying the air in the marquee. Obviously, for the deep cold of winter, you won't be turning the heaters off but you may find it optimal in other seasons to vary the usage of the heaters. Consider the following as good ways to provide heating in the marquee as per the season:
    • In cold seasons: You will need heaters on throughout the event, and perhaps for a period before guests arrive, to warm the marquee sufficiently.
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    • In the late spring, summer and early autumn: You may be able to heat the marquee at the beginning of the event, turn it off for a while, and then if the event runs into the evening, you can switch it back on again later in the day when the temperatures drop.
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    Test the heating before the event. Test it at a similar time of day to when the function is taking place, so that you can work out how long the space takes to heat up to a comfortable temperature. Or, ask for the recommendation of the hire company as to how long the heating is required to warm the marquee sufficiently.

Part 3
Event Types

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    Consider the size and location of the event. If you are heating an outdoor space, again an indirect heater may be a suitable solution. If, however, you are only hosting a small summer event, such as a patio barbecue, you may find that several small outdoor gas patio heaters offer enough heating for seated guests, which will cost you less and provide sufficient comfort for the guests.
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  • If you contact a heating hire supplier and provide them with information about the type of event, the outdoor space and the number of guests, they should be able to advise you on the most suitable heating solution.


  • When heat is being distributed within a confined space, do not use any form of heating that could produce toxic fumes or gases.

  • Take care when using heaters. This may seem obvious, but it's always worth remembering – for safety reasons make sure you keep all heaters away from any objects or surfaces.

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Categories: Outdoor Recreation