24 Mar How Does A Conservatory Trap Heat?
The ability to trap heat is one of the most well-known advantages of a well-designed conservatory, and one of the main ways they make such a worthy addition to your home. But how exactly do they do it? Well, to sum it up in a phrase: it’s the Greenhouse Effect.
The Greenhouse Effect
Right off the bat, there’s an important distinction we have to make. We’re not talking about the same process associated with global warming; so trust us when we say that trapping heat in your conservatory won’t cause the polar ice caps to melt. Having said that, the process we’re talking about is actually a broadly similar concept, just on a much smaller scale. Basically, like the Earth, the conservatory absorbs light (and therefore heat), but doesn’t let it out again. In the Earth’s case, this barrier is the ozone layer, whereas in the case of the conservatory we’re talking about humble double glazing. What’s more, the angle of the sun’s rays means that a lot more radiant energy enters the conservatory than might do otherwise, allowing it to be even warmer.
So How Exactly Do Conservatories Trap Heat?
Dare we say it, but historically conservatories weren’t all that good at trapping heat. Single-glazed windows could mean that heat could leave just as easily as it entered, so the warming effects were often temporary. However, the invention of double-glazing has solved this; double-glazed windows reflect trapped heat back into the room, making them far more effective at keeping the conservatory warm. So effective, in fact, that modern conservatories almost cannot function without good ventilation to balance things out. Without ventilation, conservatories become overly humid, making them uncomfortable to use and defeating their purpose as an extra living space. South-facing conservatories are exceptionally good at trapping heat from sunlight, given their increased sun exposure. While this makes them fantastically warm in the winter months, it also means that ventilation is even more vital.
How You Can Keep Your Conservatory Warm
There are a number of ways for you to increase the heat-trapping capacity of your conservatory. One way, as we mentioned above, is to position it in a place where it gets the most sunlight. However, even little things can help, like putting throws and blankets over sofas and furniture (this is especially true for things like leather sofas). Thermal blinds are also a handy investment, as they can not only block incoming sunlight when you feel you’re warm enough, but also help keep trapped heat in during the winter months.
And having a look at your flooring isn’t a bad idea either. In the case of brick or slate floors, they absorb heat when the floor is at a lower temperature than the air, and release it when the reverse is true. On the other hand, you can go for a more direct solution by installing underfloor heating. It might be expensive, but you may well deem it a worthy investment on those colder evenings!
It’s All Up To You!
Of course, all of this might depend on what you want to use your conservatory for. In the case of a living space like an extra living room, temperature is indeed all important. However, if you’re using it as something like a rec room, you might decide the occasional temperature fluctuation is worth it as long as you can still play pool comfortably enough. You can click here to read our blog on how conservatories can add space to your home, or alternatively feel free to simply pop into our Blackburn showroom, where our friendly members of staff will be happy to discuss your options. If you’re short on time, you can always call us on 01254 873002, and we’ll help any way we can.
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