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If you’re thinking of getting a conservatory built, you should take a moment to think about where the conservatory will go and which direction it will face. If you live in the northern hemisphere (which we will assume you do for the purposes of this guide), then you will find that north-facing conservatories will be fairly cool, while south-facing conservatories will get quite warm in the summer. The opposite is true for people who live in the southern hemisphere.
As a general rule, north-facing conservatories will be cold during the winter
South-facing conservatories will become quite hot in the summer as they are exposed to the sun for most of the day.
A conservatory that faces to the east will enjoy the sun in the morning
West-facing conservatories will get the sun during the afternoon and the evenings.
The ideal scenario is to have your conservatory facing to the south-east or the south-west, so it gets exposure to the sun for a portion of the day, but will also get some time to cool off.
Of course, it’s not always possible to build a conservatory facing the ideal direction, but the good news is that whatever direction it faces, there are ways to ensure your conservatory is comfortable – all year round.
The first thing you should consider is the quality of the conservatory itself and the building materials used. A hi-spec, modern conservatory will go a long way to achieving the required ambience. Cut corners and you will significantly cut how much your conservatory can be used comfortably.
If you have a north-facing conservatory, then it will need insulation and good quality heating to keep it warm in the winter. During the summer, you should find that a north-facing conservatory is very comfortable – they are warm enough to be enjoyed during summer mornings, and won’t overheat in the afternoons.
If you purchase heat-reflective glass, fit quality window blinds, and opt for double glazing, the conservatory should retain a lot of heat during the winter. You will still need a way to heat it, however. Look into infrared heaters because these are safer than gas or element-based heaters, and can warm up open spaces quite quickly.
If you want to use the conservatory as extra living space all year round, underfloor heating could be a good option. You can purchase underfloor heating mats that can be laid out under your rugs or carpets, or you can use a water-based system that is embedded into the floor. The temperature of the system is controlled by a room thermostat.
If you have a south-facing conservatory, then you’ll still need to fit blinds, but you’ll mostly be using them to block out the sun.
Good ventilation is important, too. Roof vents and windows will provide some ventilation, but they may not be enough for a south-facing conservatory by themselves.
The best way to make a south-facing conservatory comfortable during the day is to use roof blinds to stop the overhead sun turning the space into a greenhouse. Solar-reflecting glass will also help to keep the heat out and keep the temperature in the conservatory stable. Opt for double doors or sliding doors so that you can open the conservatory up and let the summer breeze in.
Solar reflective roofing has more benefits than just keeping the heat in, too – the glass filters UV rays, meaning that it will stop furniture and artwork from fading with prolonged exposure to the sun.
A quality air conditioning system could be a good choice for year-round climate control. Many modern air conditioners have built-in dehumidifiers, and these can be a great choice since humid rooms tend to feel hotter than they actually are during the summer months. Look for a wall-mounted unit, since free-standing dehumidifiers and air conditioners can be rather bulky, and may take up more space than you would like them to.
Think carefully when you decorate the conservatory. Remember that soft furnishings make temperature changes less noticeable, and that throws, rugs and blinds can help with temperature control.
A conservatory is a great investment, and if you plan ahead you should find that you can keep it comfortable throughout the year so that you and your family can enjoy the space, no matter what the weather is like.
Considering improving your home with a conservatory? If you’re in the East Midlands, we can help. Talk to us today about arranging a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our talented design team.