We love conservatories. The way natural light floods in, and how they link the house with the garden beyond, often makes them our favourite place to relax. But only if they have efficient conservatory heating.
Without exception, they are hard to heat. This blog looks at the different ways you can add conservatory heating and use your conservatory more this year – starting now!
Building Regulations now demand that conservatory heating should be independent of the house’s central heating.
So, what are the options for an independent system?
Electric floor heating – in-floor, or on-floor
It’s probably no surprise that I’m a fan of electric floor heating. Here are the reasons why:
- You get warmth where you need it – from under your feet
- The heaters are hidden, freeing up wall space and avoiding clutter in the room
- Modern electric floor heating is quick to heat up – and cool down when the sun comes out!
- It is silent in operation and doesn’t stir up air currents and draughts
The question is, do you go for an ‘in-floor’ or an ‘on-floor’ conservatory heating solution?
‘In-floor’ heating is a DIY option if you are planning a new floor finish – tiles, laminate or wood are all ideal – but this is an unrealistic prospect in time for Easter! See TileWarm DIY Under Tile Heating, WoodBWarmer DIY Under Wood Heating, or WoodBWarmer DIY Under Laminate Heating for more details.
You lay the under-rug heater out on an underlay and cover with a rug. Simply plug in (it comes fitted with the standard 3-pin plug) and start enjoying floor heating.
Modern electric radiators can be quite stylish and are worth considering if you have the wall space. They heat the air through convection just as central heating radiators in the house do.
Of course, there are pitfalls with wall mounted radiators:
- Warm air rises so you can be sure that the warmest air is up by the roof! Worse, the resulting convection currents soon make their presence felt with a cold draught at floor level
- It takes time for the warm air to warm the surfaces in the conservatory, so, if you have a particularly cold floor it will likely remain cold unless you run the radiator continuously
Wall mounted radiant panels
Radiant warmth is what you experience from a good floor heating system, so we know this can be a comfortable way to provide heating.
If you’ve got the wall space, wall mounted radiant panels are well worth investigating but they won’t warm a cold floor, and most of us feel the cold through our feet first….
Also, with a fixed radiant panel, you might find it difficult to find the ‘sweet spot’ distance from the panel where you are most comfortable. And, if you are in the ‘sweet spot’, what about everyone else in the conservatory? At least with floor heating everyone gets the same benefit.
Freestanding electric heaters – fan heaters, oil filled radiators
Plugging in a fan heater is the traditional quick fix.
They can be powerful (but expensive to run) and can quickly warm the air in the conservatory. This is fine so long as you don’t mind the noise, air movement, and the risk of tripping over the darn thing!
Because of heat loss you will probably need to keep the fan heater running while you are sitting in the conservatory. As with an electric radiator, it takes a fan heater a long time to take the chill off a cold floor.
Oil filled radiators are a better option if you need something running continuously in the background.
They are cheaper to run than fan heaters and are silent in operation. They just don’t have much oomph, but I know many people quite like them.
So there you have it – time to put some heating in the conservatory and get more use out of it this year.
I hope these tips go some way to helping you make a choice of the best portable electric heater so you benefit from a nice and cosy space whatever the weather and time of year.