Increasingly popular and fashionable in the UK, conservatories add value to your home. Gorgeous, sunny and warm in the summer months, it is easy to understand their appeal. Glass conservatories in the UK are extremely pleasant in summer, because glass is a good conductor of warmth and summer sun is absorbed into the room. However, in the winter months, the properties of glass means that warmth is driven out of the conservatory, leaving it chilly and unpleasant read more.
In order to ensure that a conservatory is a worthwhile investment in the long term, it needs to be a room that can be enjoyed all year round, as a breakfast room, a venue for an evening of entertaining or the place to put your feet up with a cup of tea and a good book. In the winter months, this can be a challenge, and it is important to plan in advance mechanisms that can be put in place to keep your conservatory cosy in the chillier weather.
A variety of options exist for heating your conservatory. When calculating the cost of your conservatory, it is important to take into account the additional costs of keeping it warm in winter. Trying to maintain a pleasant temperature in a large space has the potential to send your electricity bill through the roof. It is for this reason that it is important to consider your alternatives before installing your conservatory, because those relating to the selection of the correct building materials are likely to be much more cost effective in the long term.
Central heating is an extremely effective mechanism for keeping your conservatory warm. It is however one that should only be considered if cost is not an issue, because maintaining the room’s warmth with this system is not energy efficient and will have an enormous impact on your monthly electricity expenditure, unless the correct low emissivity glass is installed in a double glazing unit.
Installing central heating should be relatively simple, and with the assistance of a reputable company, should not impact on your existing central heating system. It is important to remember though, that because central heating does not warm a room instantly, it needs to be turned on well in advance if you want to enjoy a pleasant temperature in your conservatory, throughout the winter months.
Choice of Materials
Central heating is all very well, and is ideal for those who have already built conservatories. A little advance planning though can save you a lot of money in the long term. This planning relates to the choice of materials used in the construction of the conservatory. Ensuring that your conservatory is insulated and ventilated effectively will guarantee that it is a pleasant room all year round. Of course, because it is a structure largely built out of glass, it is crucial that the right type of glass is chosen to facilitate this:
o Low-E coated glass: such as Pilkington K Glass(TM) incorporates a coating, which is hardly distinguishable from normal glass, and is an effective way of trapping heat in your conservatory. The concept behind it is relatively simple. Short wave radiation in the form of sunlight, is allowed through the glass, while long wave radiation reflecting upwards from the inside, is trapped in the conservatory. This assists in keeping it warmer. Because a Low-E glass makes a tangible difference to the surface temperature of the glass, condensation (often a problem in conservatories) is reduced.
o Glass roofs are an attractive and classy addition to a conservatory. They are however a pricier option and will probably require shading. Installing Low-E glass in your roof and vertical walls of the conservatory, and it may also be useful to explore alternative such as tinted glass as protection from the sun.
o 25mm Polycarbonate: If a glass roof is not your bag or puts too much strain on your budget, it is best to consider polycarbonate. While most conservatories come standard with 16mm polycarbonate, upgrading to 25mm will provide effective insulation for your conservatory. This polycarbonate has 6 skins and reinforcing webbing. It also affords the choice of various colour alternatives, offering clear, bronze tinted and opal options.
o Argon filled units: When combined with Low-E glass, these units provide the best alternative for insulation, offering more warmth than most brick extensions.