Is your conservatory too hot? Cool it down with aircon
Glass houses get hot – very hot – in the summer, so why shouldn’t a conservatory? You can try blinds or fans but air conditioning is the most likely solution to your overheating problems. They may also help the problem of the room being too cold in the winter.
Do I need air conditioning?
Well that depends on whether you want to use your room all year round. A properly rated and installed system will keep your conservatory cool in the summer heat. A bonus is that many systems can also be used as heaters meaning your conservatory can be a fantastic room to use on the dull winter days when you want to get as much sunlight as possible.
How air conditioners work?
They use electrical energy to move thermal energy (heat) from inside to outside. Operating like a fridge they draw warm air out of the conservatory and vent it to the outside environment. Some air conditioning systems can also be used to heat the room.
Types of air conditioner
Split air conditioning units
A split air conditioning unit has compressor section outside the conservatory and the quieter ‘working end’ inside. This means you can usually have a much more powerful (and hence can suck more heat of the room) air conditioning unit without being deafened through noise. These units usually require a professional to fit them due to the pipe work from the compressor to the air vent and typically cost between £1,500 – £2,000.
Window air conditioning units
These are placed in hole in the conservatory window or sometimes wall. The compressor and air ducts are all contained within one compact unit which can be convenient These types of air conditioner mostly need a professional to fit them due to the work required to put a hole through either the dwarf wall or window. Typical prices are between £1,000-£1,500 depending on their power (proportional to how much heat per second they can remove) – plus fitting where required.
Portable air conditioning units
These units can be bought and installed by anyone – although they are heavy. They can be quite large and require situating near a window with an opening so that the warm air can be vented through a pipe to the outside. Typical prices are between £300-£1,000 depending on the heat removal capacity and quietness.
What size air conditioning do I need?
This depends on the size of your conservatory and how much direct sunlight it receives. If it is not south facing (northern hemisphere) you will need between an 8-12btu unit. If your conservatory is south facing then you will need between 10-18btu again depending on the size of the conservatory. However, you should if there is any doubt consult an expert on this as buying too small an air conditioning unit for your conservatory will mean it will not cool the room sufficiently on very hot days.
3414btu = 1KW (many split systems are rated in KW rather than btu)
Will it be noisy?
Some of the portable units can be very noisy, so much so that when they are on full you would be hard pushed to have a conversation in the room at the same time. Split units only tend to be noisy on full power which is fairly rare as they’re often powerful enough to be running at a lower fan speed to maintain a comfortable temperature, as the compressor unit is outside the conservatory it’s not usually an issue. It is advisable to try and get a demo of the unit before you buy to evaluate exactly how much noise it will make on a really hot day when the fans are on full.
Conclusions: Conservatory Air Conditioning
If you wish your conservatory to be (as the American call them) a Four Season Room then installing an air conditioning system that is right for you and your room can achieve that, It can be cool enough to sit in comfortably on a hot summers day in direct sunlight and warm enough on even the coldest of winters nights. One final alternative you could consider is replacing the conservatory roof to reduce the amount of glass and therefore solar gain, this would be considerably more expensive but is an increasingly popular upgrade.