Conservatory Design – Thinking of Winter

When planning and designing your conservatory it’s easy for your imagination to dwell in the summer months. Long days of sunshine where the only consideration is how you will keep the conservatory cool. But conservatories are not only for the summer they’re for Christmas and the rest of the year too.

This article will take a brief look at your options for keeping your conservatory warm in the winter months, so you can enjoy it all year round. As energy costs continue to rise it’s really important to think through these options before the build starts, because after your conservatory is finished you will be limited in your choice of heating.

Installing pipe work to connect your conservatory to your existing central heating system is one option that is best chosen at the initial design stage. Conservatories are usually made with walls that are made up largely of glass. The location of the radiator/s will need careful consideration and a reputable builder will be able to talk you through the possibilities. But the most critical factor here is the capacity of your boiler – can it efficiently take on more radiators?

Like a car engine, boilers are built to carry a certain load and some smaller boilers are only able to effectively heat the number of rooms in the existing home. If you have an old boiler, it’s worth considering installing a new one before the conservatory build starts. This will be costly, but in the long term, modern heat-efficient boilers will cost less than older ones to run. What you must avoid is adding a load to a low-capacity boiler that might result in the whole house never really being warm.

A relatively new option is to install an air-conditioning unit. This will of course keep your conservatory cool in the summer, but many modern units have a heating capacity too. If you plan to only use your conservatory occasionally in the colder months, this can be a good option, because the space can be heated quickly just when you need it to be.

Again, this installation really should be discussed with the conservatory designer at the earliest stage so they can talk you through the possibilities of where to locate the air-conditioning units.

Underfloor Heating
There are different types of heating that will run under your floor. Some connect to the central heating system and you would need to make the same considerations as mentioned above concerning radiators. There are also electric-powered systems, which would provide an independent heating source for the conservatory alone. Costs vary according to the system you choose and your floor area. It is essential, though, that your conservatory builder is qualified to answer your questions if you decide on underfloor heating, as the build specifications must be precise if the system is work efficiently.

Plinth heaters
One last option that not many people would consider is to borrow an idea from kitchen design – plinth heaters. These are small fan heaters that would normally sit under a kitchen unit. They can be connected to your central heating system and are very cost-effective. You would need to incorporate them into the design of your conservatory, though. But again, an experienced conservatory builder would not be put off by this question.

The main thing is to look at all your options at the design phase and have a good think about whether you want your conservatory just for the good weather?