Conservatories often have unique heating needs. In our latest blog post we look at the solutions on offer to maximise comfort without increasing costs.
How do I heat my conservatory efficiently? What options are available?
Conservatories originated in the 16th century when wealthy landowners sought to cultivate citrus fruits that began to appear on dinner tables, brought by traders from warmer regions of the Mediterranean. Urban conservatories became popular in the early 19th century for social uses such as parties and sunrooms. By the end of 2014 experts estimated this market was now worth around £620m.
In real estate, additions to your property like conservatories can increase the value of your home alongside increasing space. A correctly designed conservatory has the potential to increase your home value by 5% or around £15,000.
In the UK, the cost of building a conservatory can vary between £6,000 and £20,000, depending on the size, chosen design, and location.
According to national statistics, over 200,000 households in the UK apply for conservatory planning yearly. Many homeowners use their conservatories as a relaxing space to read, watch the stars or other social events like tea parties or dinners. A conservatory can be a great sun trap in the summer months as over 50% of the structure will be glass. However, what about the cooler months such as autumn and winter?
Why heat my conservatory?
There are many reasons why you would want to heat your conservatory. Perhaps it is used as your breakfast room, so it needs to be warm enough in the morning. Or maybe you use it as your sitting room all year round? If you intend to use your conservatory throughout the cooler months, it makes great sense to install an efficient heating solution that can be managed easily.
Some conservatories are used as greenhouses for tropical plants, which cannot withstand typical freezing winter temperatures. In this case, you will need to ensure the temperature does not drop below a certain level, ideally around 21ºC.
When the temperature falls outside, your conservatory needs to be warm and comfortable when in use.
What are the heating options?
Conservatories come with unique heating requirements. In particular, heating your conservatory during the winter can be challenging.
For example, central heating may not be the best option as it may not meet the requirements of the UK Part L building regulations with regards to heat loss. Because of their glass structure, high ceilings and a bigger number of exterior walls, heat tends to escape quickly.
In fact, experts estimate that heat escapes 8-times faster through a conservatory’s double glazed windows than is lost through a standard cavity wall. This means that selecting an energy efficient heating solution for your conservatory is important.
During winter, or even autumn and spring, many conservatories are left empty or unused for long periods. This means potentially useful space isn’t utilised because of the cold.
For the general comfort of your conservatory, heating is a very critical consideration. The temperature can fluctuate quickly, primarily due to the glass structure.
Considering how much it cost you to build, you should be able to make use of your conservatory all year round. So what are the options for heating your conservatory?
If your home already has a central heating system, it is possible to link it up to your conservatory. All that will be required to get the most out of it, is to install a thermostatically controlled radiator.
This will ensure that your conservatory is controlled independently from the rest of your home.
In the United Kingdom, however, you will have to ensure the heating system for both the main house and the conservatory adhere to the local building regulations.
Building regulations compliance is obviously an extra headache, which you will not have to face, were you to install electric radiators for your conservatory.
In addition, if the main house and the conservatory heating are not separated, you will have no control over the fluctuating temperatures between the conservatory and the main home.
For example, the living room may be situated on the north facing side of the property and the conservatory on the south. When the suns out your conservatory will get warmth from the sun and your central heating, pushing the temperature too high and increasing your energy consumption and costs. However, your living room will be colder in the absence of the sun, so you will want to increase the temperature of the heating, which in turn will increase in the conservatory where it is not needed.
Generally associated with tiled or stone floors, underfloor heating can also be fitted in a carpeted or wood floored conservatory. It can run on a pumped water system or a dry electric system.
The downside of having an underfloor heating system is that compared to most other methods, it could turn out to be a little more expensive to install. It also means digging up and installing pipes below your conservatory floor.
Underfloor heating would be a good option if you’re thinking of having a conservatory built and this solution would be included as part of the build.
We have 3 energy efficient underfloor heating solutions available.
This method comes with double benefits: during summer it can be used to keep your conservatory cool, and in winter it can be used to heat.
The main drawback of this method is that for a place where peace and silence are greatly valued, it can be quite noisy especially when running at full speed. It can also cost more to install. Whilst cooling is great from air conditioning, generally, the heating side is not as efficient.
Air conditioning can create unstable air turbulence, lifting particles and dust into the air. This leaves occupants more vulnerable to pneumonia, fever & colds, as well as other airborne illnesses.
Electric heating makes for a better solution as the latest developments include effective components, innovative thermal elements and state-of-the-art programming. With 64.7% of the energy used in EU households going towards heating, it is important to ensure your heating solution is efficient.
Electric heating solutions are easier and cheaper to install than gas that requires pipes and flues. They don’t need planning permissions as central heating does, and there are no restrictions on layout or design.
With almost all electric radiators (like ours), a template and installation kit is provided, so it’s easy to install with minimal disruption.
Electric heaters are generally safer than gas as they do not burn fuel to generate heat. This eliminates risks such as carbon monoxide emissions and explosions. In addition, there are no water-filled pipes, so there is less risk of damage to the property from leaking or burst pipework. It is also clean and respectful to the environment as it does not emit polluting gases or use heavy metals.
Electric heating is cheaper to install than gas, has no maintenance costs and lasts for up to 50% longer than the average gas boiler. It is also 100% efficient, meaning all the electricity you use and pay for converts into heat.
Which Rointe products are suitable for my conservatory?
Our Kyros short radiator is specifically designed for under windows and low levels walls, including an optimised design for natural air convection. With superior energy-saving technology, easy to use visual menus and smart programming, the improved Kyros range makes your life easier. Available in 3 sizes and a classic white finish, this electric radiator was created for your conservatory.
High purity aluminium, exclusive mineral thermal oil and armoured steel heating elements ensure maximum comfort but low consumption. It also includes patented technology – Fuzzy Logic Energy Control. This improves the energy management required to maintain a stable temperature within a variation of only +/- 0.25ºc. The technology will also predict the amount of energy needed to reach the set temperature, maximising cost savings.
The Kyros short radiator also has incredible control features. This new generation of product includes 4 editable pre-installed programs that include the most common lifestyle timetables. Therefore, you can select the one that best suits your needs and the radiator will automatically heat according to the program.
We have also incorporated a wide range of energy saving functions to help you increase your efficiency and reduce costs. The Open Windows function moves the product into the anti-frost mode (7-8ºC), if it detects a drop in temperature due to an open window. This prevents excessive consumption from heating a room where the warm air is escaping.
There is also an Efficiency indicator included on the 1.77” TFT screen so you can keep an eye on your consumption.
The electric digital Kyros short radiator is the best option for heating your conservatory, providing maximum thermal comfort with reduced costs and low energy consumption. It’s also Lot20 compliant and includes 20 years guarantee on the aluminium body and 3 years on the electrical components.