Modern garden offices are highly insulated which means they are naturally comfortable to use all year round, but you should consider adding a source of heat for the coldest days of the year. Some garden offices come with heating, others don’t and you should be aware of this when comparing specifications and prices. You have quite a lot of choice when it comes to the types of heating you can use in a garden office.
Radiant –v- Convection Heat
There are two types of heating radiant heating and convection heating. Radiant heating warms people and objects whilst convection heating heats the air in the room.
Slim line electric heaters that can be free standing or wall mounted, they heat the air in the room quickly. Although not noisy they do have a slight hum which can become monotonous and they can dry out the air in the room. Convector heaters are fairly cheap to buy and can be retro fitted in a garden office with ease, there needs to be clear space around and above a convector heater so can limit where you position furniture. Better models come with timers and thermostats so you can programme when they come on or set them to kick in when the temperature falls to a certain level. Some of the more expensive models look very slick, almost like works of art on the wall.
Oil Filled Radiators
Finned oiled filled radiators are normally free standing and moveable as they are mounted on casters although they can be a little cumbersome in small spaces. Although they heat up quickly they don’t provide instant heat like fan heaters. Oil filled radiators are convector heaters in that they heat the air in the room. They come in several sizes with different outputs, with more sophisticated models you can programme when they come on or set them to kick in when the temperature falls to a certain level. Oil filled radiators are ideal for retro fitting in a garden office as they simply plug in and are relatively inexpensive to buy.
Infrared heating is a form of radiant heat; it heats people and objects in the room rather than the air. Infrared heating comes in different forms from portable heaters to ceiling mounted panels which are quite slim and unobtrusive. Infrared heating is a fast heating source and energy efficient because it heats people and objects rather than all the air in the room, the downside of this type of heating is that it can be less efficient if people and objects are not directly in line with the heater. Infrared heaters can be retro fitted although ceiling mounted panels will need to be wired into the garden offices electrical system.
Some garden office companies offer central heating in their larger buildings, this is just as you would find in a house and can be run off electric, gas and oil. The installation costs of this type of heating make it an unrealistic option for most garden offices.
Underfloor heating has become very popular in garden offices, most systems used in garden offices consist of a heated mat system which can be controlled with thermostats and timers giving you control over when the heating is on. As heat rises underfloor heating creates a comfortably heated room. Underfloor heating is more expensive to install than other types of wall mounted heating so is normally an optional upgrade on garden office specifications. Walls are kept free so there are no restrictions where furniture can be placed. Because the heat source is literally under the floor, undrefloor heating is not a realistic option for retro fitting in a garden office, so consider it carefully when buying your garden office.
Although air conditioning is controversial particularly in an eco friendly construction form like garden offices it’s worth considering as it can produce a year round solution to heating and cooling a garden office. Air conditioning works by taking warm air from within the building and replacing it with cool air, you can set the desired temperature for your garden office and an air conditioning unit will maintain it all year round. Air conditioning also offers health benefits as it filters the air removing pollen and pollution making it an ideal system for asthma and hay fever sufferers. Free standing air conditioning units are available but they are rather cumbersome and have ducting that has to go out of a window, most units used in garden offices consist of a unit positioned high on the wall that is linked to a condenser unit situated outside. Air conditioning units use considerable energy and coolants which aren’t great for the environment, to ensure efficiency of the unit doors and windows need to be closed – this takes away one of the delights of a garden office, that of connecting the indoor outdoor space by having the doors open!
It is possible to install a wood burner in a garden office and it would make a wonderful focal point in the room, the installation of a wood burner needs to be undertaken by professionals and comply with building regulations. Whilst a wood burner would look great, compared to other forms of heating a wood burner is expensive to install in a garden office and it could be difficult to control the heat given off in smaller garden offices. Wood burners are not instant heat sources and you have the work involved in cleaning the stove.
How many watts do I need?
A common question is how many watts it will take to heat your garden office, the team at www.multiheat-energysystems.co.uk have advised us on a rule of thumb of 50w per square meter of floor space so for example a 3m x 3m garden office has a floor space of 9sqm so would require a heating output of 450 watts, it should be noted that this figure will vary depending on the quantity of doors and windows your garden office has, but it’s a useful formula to make sure you have enough heating.
However well insulated your garden office is you do need to consider a heat source, as you can see there’s plenty of choice.
In the next chapter of this guide we look at garden office communications.