If you’re looking for an efficient, effective and unobtrusive way to heat your conservatory, underfloor heating could be just what you need. It’s a real treat for cold toes on a wintry morning, and is one of the most cost effective ways to provide heating in any type of conservatory. Here’s what you need to know about underfloor heating, and how it could be a great solution for your new conservatory.
How does underfloor heating work?
Underfloor heating can be either a ‘wet’ system or a ‘dry’ one. Wet underfloor heating uses water pipes running under the floor which are supplied with hot water from a boiler. A dry system uses electrical coils under the floor covering which get warm.
The pipes or coils get warm once switched on, and heat is transferred to the floor covering and into the room. This heat is radiant, so it warms the people and objects in the room more than it does the air. This means that a conservatory heated with underfloor heating will feel nice and warm and cosy, without the whole room having to be hot.
Wet or dry underfloor heating?
Underfloor heating is cheapest to use when you couple it with your central heating as a wet system. However, building regulations state that you should not extend your central heating system into the conservatory, and that there should be a standalone heating solution in place with its own on/off switch.
If you are able to separately control your underfloor heating, you could potentially work around this issue, but it’s best to take professional advice before making a decision. The alternative is to have an electrically supplied dry underfloor system, which will be costlier to run than a gas fired system, but still more efficient than other electric heating solutions.
If you do choose a dry underfloor system, it comes with the added benefit of zero ongoing maintenance or servicing requirements. Wet systems have been known to leak, which can cause costly damage to your conservatory floor if not spotted in time. Whichever system you go for, it is important that you understand how to use your underfloor heating efficiently to get the most from this type of heating solution.
The benefits of underfloor heating for your conservatory
Underfloor heating is the epitome of luxury. Nothing feels more lavish than having nice warm feet on a chilly winters day, and when it comes to conservatories, it can be the perfect finishing touch. Some of the benefits of underfloor heating include:
Clean, beautiful lines
With underfloor heating, all your heating equipment is tucked away under the floor. This means no ugly radiators or pipework to spoil the look of your room.
Energy efficiency: Wet underfloor heating in particular is highly energy efficient, and even dry underfloor heating performs better than other electric based heaters.
Even, comfortable heat
The heat is spread evenly throughout the room, eliminating cold spots and creating a warm, cosy environment.
Less waste heat
Because underfloor heating uses radiant heat, it does not rely on all the air in a room being warmed in the way that convection heaters do. The heat is concentrated in the lower part of the room, making it less wasteful than some types of heat.
Less dust and allergens
Radiators and convection heaters create air currents that circulate heat around the room. This can mobilise dust and other allergens, causing problems for people with asthma or respiratory diseases. Underfloor heating creates no air currents, keeping dust and allergens at bay.
Underfloor heating is a highly popular choice in conservatories, and for good reason. When fitted at the point of construction, it is affordable to install, cheaper to run than many other heating options, and the end result is a warm, cosy space that you can enjoy all year around.
The drawbacks of underfloor heating in conservatories
As much as underfloor heating can be a great solution for your conservatory heating, it also comes with some drawbacks worth being aware of. None of these are complete deal breakers, but you should go into it with your eyes wide open so you’re aware of what the end result will be.
Warm up time
Underfloor heating is highly efficient once it’s up and running, but actually it can take some time to warm up after being switched on. For this reason, you may need to put it on to warm up some time before you actually want to be in the conservatory, limiting spontaneous use somewhat.
Cool down time
Conversely, underfloor heating can take a long time to cool down, which can lead to overheating. This may encourage window opening, leading to wasted heat and energy inefficiency.
Underfloor heating works using radiant heat, which is delivered at a lower temperature. It works best in well insulated rooms, so it’s important to consider Pilkington K Glass and insulating window blinds as well as effective draught proofing if you intend to use underfloor heating.
Best installed during construction
The best time to install underfloor heating is during the construction of your conservatory. If you have already had the room built and floor laid, you may find it too disruptive and costly to consider an underfloor heating retrofit.
Limited choice of floor covering
You can only use certain floor coverings with underfloor heating. Laminate and tile for instance work very well, but solid wood floors could warp over time, and carpets will not let the heat through to the room.
Being aware of the limitations of underfloor heating will ensure you are not disappointed with the end result. In most cases, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and householders still love their underfloor heating.
There is lots more information available on heating your conservatory at: http://www.almostimpartialguide.co.uk/conservatories/heatq.htm