Unless you’ve moved into a new build home that’s been largely designed with glass, you’ll find that your conservatory contains more glass than your whole house put together. Because of this, it’s prone to heat loss, which can put a dampener on your entertainment and relaxation plans in the colder months. If draught excluders and radiators aren’t enough, don’t despair just yet. It is possible to maintain a good temperature when heating your conservatory, no matter how chilly the weather is outside!
Curtains versus blinds
Whenever I offer winter warming advice, I always mention curtains. We all know that they’re brilliant insulators but when you picture a conservatory, they’re not usually the first thing that comes to mind. The draped Aladdin’s cave may have a cosy appeal but it can stick out against many modern design schemes. If you favour the boho style, they can work to enhance it, but if not, blinds will be the better choice.
It turns out that the lack of curtains can’t just be put down to visual styling either. Holes can widen when they’re drilled into PVC-U material on your walls, which will leave you with empty holes and your curtains slumped on the floor before long. You’re only safe if you’ve opted for a brick or hardwood structure.
Ceiling and wall blinds are more common and many have been designed especially for the conservatory to hold onto heat in the winter and cool the building down in the summer. If you don’t mind the extra expense, made to measure blinds are fitted into separate frames which are then slotted into your window frames to avoid the need for drilling holes.
Zone off your area
By sectioning off your conservatory from the adjoining room, you’ll reduce the area that needs to be heated. Bi-fold doors or even just a single door will make a big difference to the inside temperature and make sure that any additional heat from radiators isn’t wasted.
Heat the floor
If you have the wall and floor space to fit a radiator, chances are you’ve done so already. If this hasn’t worked, it’s time to consider underfloor heating, which prices in at £25-30m2 (when water-based) and works best under a tiled floor. Tiles are durable and can withstand changes in temperature without warping, unlike many wood and laminate floors. On their own, they’ll be cold but combined with a heating system, they come into their own.
If you’re not ready to make the commitment to underfloor heating, carpets are an option for the less brave. Just make sure that you have a thick underlay to prevent the cold air from working its way up from underneath.
Less common is the trench heating system which operates like skirting board heating, only the water pipes or electrical elements are run underground, but can be great for heating a conservatory. Ranging between £400 and £1500, it’s taken off in shops and offices and is slowly creeping into the home. The heated pipes sit in a trench underneath the floor and heat rises up through a grille placed over the floor. There are no draughts as the room is heated evenly and when it’s used instead of a radiator peeking out at the end of a sofa, it gets rid of that annoying condensation issue.
If you’re thinking of giving the water-based system a try, make sure that your boiler is efficient enough to cope, as you’ll need 25% greater capacity than you would for a traditional radiator based system. Also, be prepared to clean both the water or electrical types regularly with a hoover as dust will collect in the gaps beneath the grille.
Whether you choose to invest in underfloor heating, or simply reconsider your choice of blinds, there are improvements to be made to make your conservatory habitable all year round. Don’t regret building that conservatory that seemed perfect for those long summer nights.
For help and advice on heating a conservatory from a qualified, vetted and recommended heating engineer, post your job on Rated People to receive quotes from recommended tradesmen in your area.