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Heating your conservatory: The most efficient options

Conservatories are an inexpensive and attractive way to acquire more living space, but they must be comfortable in the summer and winter to be of real use. There are no building regulations for the heating of conservatories, if they have a separate heating system from the main house. The power control must be in the conservatory. There are several options for efficient heating of a conservatory.

Central heating from the main house is a good option, but you will need permission from a building regulation body for this. It could be a little more costly, but with double glazing and low-e missive glass the heat can be conserved.

Under-floor heating is a practical option and makes the conservatory very cosy. It is silent and invisible and only takes a 13 amp socket. There is no need to hang radiators or take up floor space with a floor heater. It is easy to install and does not need access to plumbing. It distributes the heat throughout the room and can be used with stone, tile or wooden floors. The temperature is changed with a thermostat.

Hot water under-floor heating has been used since Roman times and is a good way to heat a conservatory. The hot water passes through plastic pipes. It needs plumbing, and the central heating unit needs to be turned on when you want the floor heated. You will need to have the right boiler capacity for this option.

Radiators can be separate, electric units or work on your central heating system. The best choice is the electric system that is separate from your central system, because it is less expensive and does not require building regulations. They are easy to install and quickly heat the room, however, they should be incorporated in the conservatory plan from the beginning so they don’t look unsightly.

Tubular radiators are cylinders that have the heating strip wound inside. They are installed low to the ground and can be hidden with furniture. They are small in size but give a lot of heat and are an alternative to conventional wall radiators.

Electric heaters will heat the conservatory nicely and have another advantage. They can be stored away during the warmer months. They may look unattractive depending on the interior decoration and where they are placed. Portable electric heaters are not considered a permanent solution, and they use a lot of electricity.

Wood burning stoves can be used to heat a conservatory, and they have a nice ambiance during the cold months. A professional should be consulted for the installation, because there are several special considerations. The flue will need to be double insulated where it meets the roof, and the roof must be a fire resistant glazing material. Wood burning stoves need to be kept clean to be nice-looking, but there is definitely an attractive quality about a natural fire.

Trench heating gives an even distribution of heat along the glass. This prevents cold spots and draughts as well as condensation. The heating is in a trench in the floor with a small grill showing. This is the best way to save space. It works on natural convection as the cold air from the windows drops into the trench and is warmed by the tube inside the trench which is carrying hot water. When the air heats up from the hot tube, it naturally rises into the room.

Full climate control with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is the ultimate way to cool and heat your conservatory. There are very small units that can be incorporated into the design of the room that are almost completely noiseless. You will never have to wonder if it would be comfortable to relax, work or dine in your conservatory.

The material you use to construct your conservatory can go a long way to keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Low-e coated glass allows in sunlight and reflects heat upwards into the conservatory so it becomes trapped. Argon is used as insulation between two panes of glass. This, combined with Low-e glass, is extremely effective and gives more insulation than many brick extensions.

Building a good quality conservatory is important if you want it to add value to the resale price of your home. This is true of the heating, cooling and ventilation aspect of the room. After all, what good is investing in a beautiful glass room that has a spectacular view of the garden or countryside if you can’t use it no matter what the weather?

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