Garden office heating – What’s the best option?26.04.2021
One of the most common questions we hear is, whether they are warm in winter? And what’s the best garden office heating?
Naturally, it is important to have a thermally efficient insulated garden office – that’s another question to ask – so when you heat your room it is not just going to escape into the cold winters air! But what are the heating options, and what are some of the key factors to consider?
Heating a garden room – factors to consider
Sure, “What’s the best type of heating?” is one of the most common questions we hear. But there are firstly a few other factors which will influence our answer:
How big is your garden room?
- Naturally, a small garden office will require less heating than a large garden room.
Is your garden office insulated (and thermally efficient?)
- Not only are there a range of construction techniques for garden rooms & offices, the type of insulation, thickness and U-values can differ significantly. And of course, air gaps, thermal bridging or inefficient glazing can ruin a building energy efficiency.
What is it going to be used for?
- What level of heating do you really need? Exercising in a garden gym is very different to sitting still at a desk all day.
How often will you use the garden room?
- Will you use your garden office most days, or a bit more ad hoc? Being able to remotely control your heating will be very convenient for ad hoc use, or perhaps a simple timer would suffice if working the 9-to-5.
What is the aspect of the building?
- The amount of glazing and how much solar energy your garden room absorbs can greatly influence the internal temperature. And remember, efficient insulation keeps the summer heat out, as well as the winter warm in!
The common types of garden office heating
Electric convector heaters
Electric convector heaters, or panel heaters are a popular choice, usually wall-mounted with an internal heating element to warm the air which convects around the room. Available with 24hr timers, or Wi-Fi remote programming, for convenient control.
Pros: Inexpensive. Heats up quickly, making convector heaters ideal for occasional, or ad hoc heating of your garden office. Low cost and highly convenient.
Cons: More expensive to run. Can dry the air. Can pose a fire risk if clothing is left on top of the heater (for example).
Price: £ – ££
Running costs: ££
Oil-filled radiators are typically freestanding, which means you can easily reposition them if you change the layout of your garden room (or pack them away during summer months).
As the name suggest, oil is warmed by a heating element which radiates heat to warm the room.
Pros: Inexpensive. Provides even warming, with excellent heat retention for efficient and sustained use, as any household radiator would do.
Cons: Takes some time to heat up, so less well suited for short, intermittent use. Many oil-filled radiators are visually unimpressive.
Price: £ – ££
Running costs: ££
Like a conventional wall-mounted household radiator, except with an electric heating element and (usually) filled with a gel-like synthetic thermal fluid for superior thermal conductivity and heat retention.
Available in a very wide range of sizes & styles, electric radiators may be slower to heat up than convector heaters but are stylish and provide an even radiated heat. Wi-Fi remote programming provides ultimate convenience.
Pros: Exceptional choice, with a wide range of control options. Provides even warming, with excellent heat retention for efficient and sustained use.
Cons: Takes some time to heat up, so less well suited for short, intermittent use. More expensive than other options.
Price: ££ – £££
Running costs: ££
Many people love the idea of underfloor heating, providing a gentle warm underfoot comfort. But the truth is that while ‘wet’ underfloor heating (warm water pipes within a concrete screed) is a great option for the home, where practicalities allow, electric underfloor heating should not be relied upon as a primary heat source.
While simple to install, consisting of wired heating mats, electric underfloor heating cannot produce the required heat output to efficiently warm a garden room, plus is also more expensive to run.
Pros: Simple to install. Well suited to small rooms, or occasional use as a secondary heat source.
Cons: Can be expensive to run.
Running costs: £££
Can both heat and cool the garden room to help maintain the desired temperature. Air conditioning can be desirable if the garden room receives full sunlight during periods of the day, or additional cooling is required or desired, e.g. in a garden gym, air cooling of IT equipment etc.
New generation air conditioning units are available which do not require external refrigeration units, are low noise, slimline and relatively inexpensive to run.
Pros: Adaptable to changing heating/cooling requirements.
Cons: Many units require installation by an approved F-Gas engineer, while requiring periodic maintenance.
Running costs: ££
Wood-burning stoves – Available in a range of tradition and contemporary styles, wood-burning stoves bring an unbeatable character to any garden room. The required professional installation and cost of the flue can bump up the total cost.
Bottled gas heating – Well-suited for off-grid installations, or garden rooms without mains electricity. Very important to note that gas heating requires adequate ventilation to prevent the build-up of toxic fumes, or water vapour.
Infrared heating – Infrared heat sources deliver warmth via radiation, warming people and objects directly, rather than the air. Can be efficient & effective, so long as you are in line with the heater.
Solar heating – Although initial set-up costs can be high, solar heating provides low running costs and is environmentally friendly, consisting of a series of tubes mounted on the roof, which are then used to warm water which feeds the internal radiator.
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