Conservatory Heating: Top Tips & Advice
You will likely want to spend as much quality time as possible in your conservatory. You will want to enjoy the beautiful view of the outdoors with your loved ones during lovely days and evenings, even in the cold temperatures of British weather.
So this brings you here to find conservatory heating solutions. After all, a lot of people tire of their conservatory feeling cold and they want to install an energy-efficient heating solution that will change all of that.
While in this article we discuss tips for heating your conservatory, installing heaters is the primary way out when the room is predominately made of glass.
And as you will know, glass is not a good insulator. Even when crafted using modern triple-glazed glass, this material can’t compare to brick and other regular building materials in this regard. So a conservatory will always exchange heat in the form of cold or hot air with its environment through its glass doors, windows, roof, and floor.
Although this is one of the top features that make conservatories unique and desirable. You get a better view and a steady flow of warm air on a summer afternoon. But it also means that you will get a steady flow of cold air during cold weather. Unfortunately, we have more cold air and less warm in Britain.
Taking this all into account you need to find a way to maintain a comfortable temperature in your conservatory if you want to enjoy it all year round. Before discussing conservatory heating options, let’s first discuss why your conservatory is cold.
Why Is My Conservatory Always Cold?
Quite simply, your conservatory is similar to a glasshouse and therefore it loses heat rapidly. Of course, it does not help that the roofs are situated high and often made from poor insulator tools. With these attributes, the average conservatory will always be cold for the following reasons:
The British weather will not keep your conservatory warm. Due to the frequency of rainfall in the UK, even the house made from traditional building materials will become cold without a heating solution, hence why we have home heating. In comparison to the main house, a conservatory has higher heating requirements.
Poorly insulated building materials
This applies to both the glass and roofing material. These days, we have glazing and solar control film to improve insulation for glass. So if the glass in your conservatory doesn’t have either of these features, it will have relatively higher heat loss and will be colder than the average modern conservatory. Also, the roof may be a poor insulator.
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so a conservatory facing either of these directions will get more sunlight during the day, from morning to afternoon.
A conservatory facing the north or south will not have as much direct sunlight. But a north-facing conservatory will enjoy a better supply of natural light in the morning, while the south-facing conservatory will enjoy it from afternoon to early evening.
You don’t have a functional or efficient conservatory heating system
With one of these in place, you will be able to maintain a comfortable temperature in your conservatory, irrespective of the weather.
Heating solutions for a conservatory
We will look at six different conservatory heating options, discussing the pros and cons of each one. Hopefully, with this information at hand, you will be able to choose a heating solution that suits your needs and preferences.
Central heating with standard radiators
The first option is to integrate the conservatory with your gas central heating system if you already have one in place. For central heating, all you have to do is extend existing heating pipework and add a radiator or two.
Thankfully, you will not have to worry about wall space because modern radiators are much more compact. The small size also doesn’t affect heat output so I recommend looking at small, standing modern options.
- It is fast so the conservatory will warm up quickly
- It can work uninterrupted for several hours
- Energy efficient
- Installation costs are usually low if you are integrating it into an existing central heating system
- Requires extensive plumbing work
- During installation, heating will be down for the entire house
- Unless you install it as an independent heating system, you will need to pass building regulations.
Electric radiators (and low-level convection heaters)
With electric radiators, you don’t need to change your house’s existing pipework. However, you will have to worry about high electricity bills. Electric radiators come in all shapes, sizes and features such as the ability to change heat settings.
When choosing an electric radiator, I suggest compact, low-level convection and oil-filled electric wall heaters.
- They warm up the conservatory quickly
- Energy-efficient; electric radiators convert nearly 100% of electrical energy input to heat.
- Expensive to install
- High electricity bills
As the name suggests, underfloor heating goes under the floor of the room. Because it is installed all around the room, underfloor heating ensures steady and even heating.
However, there are some things to consider if you go with this option. Since underfloor heating needs to be laid under the floor, the existing floor will need to be removed. So, if using this kind of heating solution, it is better to install it before flooring.
Also, some flooring materials may be problematic. For example, a thick carpet may reduce heat flow and wood flooring may also get damaged over time.
- It doesn’t take up too much floor space
- Even heating in the room
- It is slow, so the conservatory warms up slowly
- It is also slow to cool down
- Installation costs could be high if necessary to rip out existing flooring
Trench heating solutions involve installing radiators under the floor which saves floor and wall space. The radiator is then covered with grills. As a result, there is an even heat distribution with little air disturbance.
In a way, trench heating is an underfloor heating solution that uses radiators.
- It is hidden so doesn’t take up more room
- It is better for people with breathing difficulties
- Slow to warm up the conservatory
- Both installation and maintenance can be costly
If you don’t want to use electricity or gas, wood-burning is still a legitimate heating option with powerful heat output. It is also highly appealing and could be better for the environment if you use the right fuel. Most wood burners use logs, pellets, and biomass.
- No energy bill
- Cheap and easy installation
- It can serve as a focal point for the conservatory
- Only specific kinds of wood have relatively low carbon output
- Some wood types contain poisonous chemicals that escape with smoke
- May need permits if burning unauthorised fuel
While the other conservatory heating solutions on this list heat the air, infrared radiation heats objects i.e. people, chairs, tables etc. As a result, it is probably the most energy-efficient conservatory heater on the list.
To use infrared heating, you simply warm up an object, which in turn warms up other objects, instead of warming up the air and losing heat when hot air escapes from the conservatory.
- It warms up the object quickly
- Quiet operation
- High cost and energy efficiency
- The radiation can be too intense and hot
- Potential hazard for pets and kids
Tips For Heating A Conservatory
Even if you install any of the six types of conservatory heaters discussed, it is still possible for your conservatory to be occasionally cold. To maintain a good room temperature all year round at minimal costs, take note of why conservatories get cold, and how to heat a conservatory. We will now discuss how to improve insulation for a conservatory. After all, limiting heat loss is nearly as important as installing a new conservatory heating system, so here are some tips to do just that and limit heat loss:
Reduce draught, especially in the evenings
As the outdoors get cooler in the evening, you need to reduce airflow as much as possible between the inside and outside of your conservatory. This will trap the heat and keep out the cold. It is all about conservatory windows and doors. You can close them, install thick blinds or draught-proofing them. During the day when it is hotter, you can open up the conservatory again to let in the hot fresh air.
If your conservatory windows are not glazed, it’s time to change this. You don’t have to replace the glass entirely. Instead, you can apply glaze or solar control firm to them as this will improve insulation and keep the heat.
Insulate the roof or replace the roofing material entirely
The roof is a big culprit of heat loss. So if you can use a good insulator like polycarbonate, you will cut out heat loss significantly. Additionally, it also blocks harmful ultraviolet sun rays. Roof drapes and coats are also viable alternatives.
Insulate or replace the flooring
Tiles are generally cold, so you should cover them with a rug, deep-pile carpet, or thermal wadding. You could replace tiles with wood or laminate flooring.
Why Should I Install Conservatory Heaters?
The main reason is so that you can enjoy the conservatory all year round, whether there is rain or snow.
So, even though the cost of installation and maintenance may be high in some cases, heating a conservatory is worth it. It is a great investment for anyone and essential with this country’s variable weather.
Which Size Of Radiator Is Best Suited For Heating A Conservatory?
Go for compact standing radiators.
They are great for limited space, highly effective and are appealing.
What Is The Cheapest Method For Heating A Conservatory?
The cheapest way is to integrate the conservatory into your existing heating system.
With this approach, all you will need is some additional pipework and a couple of radiators. However, it only works if there is an existing heating system.
Do I Need Planning Permission To Put Central Heating In a Conservatory?
As long as the heating system is independent of the main house, you don’t need planning permissions or building regulations approval.