Conservatory

How To Choose A Heater For Your Conservatory

When heating your conservatory, there are two heating categories to consider;

  • Electric conservatory heating; which comes with high running costs but ensures cleanliness even without ventilation and quick temperature adjustment
  • Gas conservatory heating; which has low running costs but needs ventilation

Heaters can either be fixed (designed for dwarf wall mounting) or standard (portable e.g. panel, convection and radiant types)
Examples of conservatory heaters include; Igenix IG9200 2kw low level panel heat, Ambientair 2kw thermostatic convector panel heater, Dimplex PLX3000tTI 3kw thermostatic convector panel heater, Consort Claudgen Chelsea WMH3.
The conservatory heaters work by;

  • Radiation (radiating heat with the help of a reflective glass)
  • Convection (providing heat by producing hot air currents that fill the room or through thermal conduction)
  • Fan(an electric fan forces warm air into the cold room)
  • Heat pumps (an electric compressor extracts heat from outdoor air raises its temperature then pumps it back to the cold building)
  • Storage (storing heat in clay, water or bricks to release it later)
  • Heat exchange(radiator passes heat through a conductor)

People have different reasons for regulating conservatory temperatures. The following are some of the reasons;

  • To maintain plants (if any) that cannot withstand very high or low temperatures
  • To use it throughout the day therefore important to maintain its temperature at a favorable constant level
  • To use it as a meals room, therefore keeping it warm becomes necessary

Before deciding on the type of heater to use, ensure your conservatory is well conditioned. An air conditioning unit can be used since it can again act as a heater though not sufficiently especially during winter. Air circulation should also be enhanced via the use of roof vents ceiling fans and well placed windows
With the help of a conservatory designer, the level of heating will be determined by measuring the internal volume of the conservatory, expected heat loss via dwarf walls and glazing while taking into consideration the direction which the conservatory is facing.
The following are some factors to consider when choosing a heater for your conservatory

I. Cost of the heater

What is your budget? Is the price affordable? Is the price VAT inclusive?Are there after sale services e.g. delivery and installation to cut on additional costs? These are some of the important questions that may influence the type of heater to purchase.

II. Ionization filtration

This is an advanced feature in heaters that enable it to not only give warm air but also fresh clean air. Most of them also have compressors controlled by inverters that enable them to obtain the highest level of energy efficiency when heating or cooling.

III. Remote control enabled

This gives you the power of control from wherever you are at the touch of a button. Some remote controllers have a ‘dehumidify option’ that allows removal of excess moisture from the air. With the dehumidifier, condensation on glass can easily be controlled from your relaxed position.
Consequently, through remote control, conservatory heater can be set to ‘fan only mode’. This ensures fresh and pleasant air movement throughout the conservatory.

IV. Coefficient of performance (COP)

Coefficient of performance allows heaters to quickly and easily balance the cold and warm air output. Almost immediately on switching on, a noticeable difference should be felt. Good heaters have a coefficient of performance of around four. I.e. whatever the input, the output should be four times more.

V. Space Utilization

As an investment, another important factor to consider before purchase and installation of conservatory heater is the amount of space it will take. This is solely for convenience purposes.
A spacious conservatory is more comfortable to be in as it offers sufficient room for movement. If your conservatory is small, you don’t want the remaining space to be ‘consumed’ further by the heater.

VI. Type of heating

Different types of conservatory heating include;

  • Electric panel heating; are cost friendly, easy to install and heat up quickly. The only downside is that they have high running costs.
  • Under floor heating; with this method of heating, pipes are run underneath floor tiles. Even though they are costly in terms of purchase and installation, they don’t take up conservatory space, require low running costs and a very comfortable way of keeping a room warm
  • Oil filled radiator heating; are very cheap to obtain although heavy to move
  • Night storage heating; though expensive to install and difficult to regulate, they are fairly cheap and economical.
  • Central heating; this system is cheap to run and of high efficiency although it has higher installation costs.
  • Tubular heating; usually used outside rooms to prevent temperatures going below zero for survival of plants and other items. It’s only used for frost protection and is tailored for damper conditions e.g. garden shed and glass house, it’s also not very costly.
  • Gas fire heating; depending on the conservatory design, butane or propane gas heater can be used. It is portable and requires no installation costs. Its downside is that it can cause condensation, sometimes produces some funny smell and although portable, it’s heavy and bulky.
  • Heat pumps; are of two types; air source and ground source. Though expensive, they require low running costs and can be used as a means of cooling.
  • Fan heating; fairly noisy with irritating airflow and high running costs but portable

The heating method desired will influence the type of heater to be purchased. Whichever it is, it should be cost effective, efficient and tailored to suit personal needs.
Other factors include;

VII. Running or operational costs

Goodconservatory heaters should be tailored to suit your needs in a comfortable way. Their running costs should suit your budget.

VIII. Environmental effects

Some heaters produce noise and irritating airflow e.g.fan heaters. Gas heaters also produce some funny smell due to burning of butane or propane. Continuous inhalation of these gases may cause healthy concerns in the long run. Also, they create a not very comfortable conservatory environment.
In most cases, the higher the price of the heater, the lower the running cost. Conversely, the lower the price the higher the running cost. Therefore proper consideration on other factors (as explained above) apart from purchase price and running cost should be taken into consideration before purchase.