Options For Conservatory Heating
One of the favourite complaints about conservatories would probably be that they are “too hot in the summer & too cold in the winter”. This could still, unfortunately, be the case if you have not given some though about keeping your room warm or cool as needed.
Conservatory heating is often, done as an afterthought, with portable heating devices used post-construction with possibly electric or gas heaters which can be both inefficient & in some cases dangerous.
A modern and convenient option is to use underfloor heating. Don’t worry if your conservatory is already built as it can be installed afterwards. However, if you are just about to get a new room then it would be best to install it during the construction process.
There are generally 2 types of underfloor heating, wet & dry. As you would guess, a wet system is one that uses hot water circulating in pies to provide heat, whereas a dry system uses electrical coils.
It makes very good use of the fact that warm air rises and added to that it offers an even spread of heating. As the system is spread to cover the entire floor area it eliminates cold spots– you don’t have to site close by a radiator to keep warm. This means that the whole room is warm, not just a few places. The floor is warm too, so no cold feet! Perfect for your conservatory or orangery.
Using “dry” electrical underfloor heating is good value for money if you are fortunate enough to have some kind of renewable energy system in your home such as solar panels, as these can supply the power to the coils. Staying with using renewable energy, a wet system can be “powered” by something like a heat pump.
Using solar or heat pumps can not only provide the “power” both can help reduce running costs as these renewable energy sources allow the owner to benefit from what is known as feed in tariff payments for solar and The renewable heat incentive for heat pumps. Both of these incentives allow payment of tax free income to the homeowner from the UK government.
Pro’s & Con’s of underfloor heating
There is always some kind of balance to be taken into consideration when opting for underfloor over any other type of heating, here are a few pointers.
- evenly spread heat across the whole room
- can be used alongside solar PV, solar thermal or heat pumps to save running costs
- does not take up space in the room like radiators
- not cold spots
- helps eliminate condensation
- wet systems run on quite low water temperatures
- dry systems are relatively less costly to install
- works really well with stone, concrete or tiled floors
- you can heat an individual room
- cost of installation – retro fit of a wet system can cost 100 pounds per square metre
- wet systems are best fitted during construction
- not all wooden laminate flooring will work well with underfloor ( expansion, contraction, heat durability)
- does not work efficiently when covered with heavy carpet & underlay
- running costs if your utility rates are already high
- heating & cooling times (2 to 4 hours)
- retro fitting a wet underfloor heating system will raise your floor height
Whilst, underfloor heating has many advantages, it is not something you should rush into without fully considering the pro’s & con’s for your personal situation.