Why is my Conservatory so Hot?May 20, 2019
A conservatory is an excellent way to add value and enjoyment to your property. It will allow you to sit out in the garden during summer, even when the temperature outdoors isn’t quite as high you’d like it to be. You’ll get a place to unwind, with plenty of natural light and all of the same comforts of the interior.
But in some cases, a conservatory can run into difficulty. Among the worst of these problems is that of overheating: often, your big glass home-extension will end up functioning like a greenhouse. This is especially irksome, given that most of us invest in a conservatory with a view to enjoying the sunshine.
This is a pretty common complaint, but one which we can do something about! Let’s take a look.
Here’s Why it’s Overheating
Conservatories overheat for a variety of different reasons. Here are a few of them.
Lack of Insulation
In the UK, we tend to associate insufficient insulation with higher energy bills during bouts of cold weather. But poor insulation can also result in excessive heat, as that hot weather outdoors can slowly seep through the sides of the structure.
For the most part, conservatories are made from glass or polycarbonate. The latter is cheaper, but it’s also thinner. Moreover, it’s not strong enough to be made into double-glazed panels, which must be able to contain a layer of argon. As such, the thermal performance of a polycarbonate roof tends to be far worse than that of a glass one. This difference is especially noticeable when the weather is warmer.
If you’re reading this in the UK, then you’ll be receiving your sunlight from the south. As such, if your conservatory is on the southern side of your house, it’ll receive more direct sunlight than it would on the northern side. Now, there’s not a great deal we can do about this once the conservatory’s built. But if you’re still in the planning stages, then it’s worth thinking about.
How to Stop my Conservatory Overheating
Now that we’ve determined the cause of the heat, we’re left with the question of what to do about it. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to modify an existing conservatory to stop it overheating – and to make it that little bit warmer during winter, too. You don’t need to knock the whole thing down and start again!
Let’s run through a few of your options.
If your conservatory is in the shade, then it’ll receive less sunlight. And a reliable way of putting it in the shade is to install blinds throughout. These come in a range of styles, ranging from roller-blinds to Venetian ones to vertical ones.
Blinds, however, are not without their disadvantages. They tend to attract dust and dead flies, and they’re difficult to clean (or, at least, more so than a flat glass panel). Moreover, they tend to exclude a little bit of sunlight even when they’re fully open.
With all of that said, blinds are a flexible way of controlling the amount of light entering the building, and, if they’re chosen carefully, they can be an aesthetic boon, too.
This is a very thin layer of transparent plastic which sits over the top of your window and limits the amount of glare and UV light that comes through. The film incorporates a layer of metal designed to bounce sunlight back, so that the heat isn’t absorbed by your conservatory. Many modern windows incorporate the very same technology.
It’s applied to the interior of your windows, and, if installed competently, it’s just about invisible. You can carry out the installation yourself – though the task isn’t entirely straightforward, and if it’s not done competently, you’ll end up with bubbles in the middle of it, which can look amateurish.
Window film comes in a range of different levels of tint, with the darkest being the most heat-excluding. You might therefore think of window film as akin to sunglasses for your conservatory – you’ll compromise a little on visibility, and there’s no way ‘opening’ the film in the same way as you might a set of blinds. Nevertheless, applying cooling film to a conservatory roof is a great way to keep it cool during summer; it’s a great alternative to conservatory roof blinds!
In some cases, it might be worth taking off the entire roof and replacing it. If the roof is made from flimsy, heat-conductive polycarbonate, then doing so is likely to make a substantial difference to the conservatory’s heat-retaining ability.
You can either upgrade to a proper glass roof, or you can install a non-transparent ‘warm’ roof. The latter, being made from tiles and mortar, will entirely prevent sunlight from coming through the roof. This modification will require substantial reconstruction, as the sides of the conservatory will need to be strong enough to support the new roof. But the results can often justify the expense.
If you’re looking to make things cooler but don’t want to rebuild the entire conservatory, then it’s worth considering a few small gadgets. An air-conditioning system will be expensive to run if the structure isn’t thermally efficient – but a few small fans might make all the difference, particularly if you’re only suffering from excess heat for a few days out of the year. Alternatively, you might take things a stage further and invest in a ceiling fan.
Every cooling option will make a noise of some sort, and so it’s worth balancing your need for a comfortable temperature with your need for peace and quiet. After all, you don’t want to solve one problem and in the process create another!
An overheating conservatory is a common problem, but one that can be solved with the help of a few simple modifications (and a few more extensive ones). The option that’s best for your circumstances will depend on how you’re using the conservatory, and how much time you want to spend cleaning and maintaining it. If you’d prefer an easy life, and you don’t want to spend too much money, then film is a good option; if you’d rather invest in the long-term, then replacing the roof will almost always repay the investment.