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22 Feb 2022

Four ways to stop your conservatory getting too hot or too cold

Our expert tips will help you maintain your conservatory at the perfect temperature, from the planning stage and through later alterations and additions
a conservatory

A conservatory can be a great way to extend the space in your home, whether you use it to host guests, grow plants, or just to enjoy feeling closer to nature all year round. However, many conservatory owners complain that these glass-clad rooms can get too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter.

If the temperature is variable enough that a conservatory can get too stiflingly hot or unpleasantly chilly to spend time in, it could even leave an owner feeling it was a waste of time and money to build.

We've rounded up some tips to help resolve the problem of inconsistent conservatory temperatures. Some decisions need to be made at planning stages, so are aimed at those considering a new conservatory. But there are also plenty of changes you can make later on.


To find out everything you need to know about building and maintaining a conservatory, read our conservatories advice guides.


1. Take the conservatory's location into account

The location of your conservatory and the direction it faces will impact how hot or cold it's likely to get. In most cases, the position of your conservatory will be dictated by your property and the space you have available, but it's important to keep in mind the differences so that you can plan the design accordingly.

A north-facing conservatory is less likely to overheat, as it will not be as directly in the sun. The light will also be more consistent and cause fewer issues with glare, as you'll have shade all year round.

Meanwhile any deciduous trees nearby will provide shelter from the sun in summer, and let light through in the winter. You could always consider planting some trees to provide shade if there aren't any there already.

If you have a south-facing conservatory and no handy trees to offer shade, try adding a retractable canopy to the side of the conservatory. This can help shield the sun and regulate temperature during the brightest parts of the day. Alternatively, use blinds to block the sun (and therefore heat), even when the windows are open.

The position and direction of your conservatory may also affect the materials you use, for the roof in particular.

Find out how much a conservatory will cost, how you can save money and the costly pitfalls to avoid in our conservatory prices guide.

2. Pick the right roof and insulate it well

When deciding what materials to use for your conservatory, bear in mind that the more glass that is in the roof, the greater the chances of the room overheating. A polycarbonate roof will make it easier to regulate the temperature. If you have your heart set on seeing the sky through the roof, opt for shaded, reflective glass.

It's also worth considering the addition of roof vents around the roof panel and window area. These often cost extra, but can be worth it to keep your conservatory cool, particularly if it's south facing and will get a lot of sun.

There are also adaptations you can make to an existing conservatory. If a glass roof is contributing to your conservatory overheating, try adding translucent or opaque film to the roof panels. This will help reduce how much heat enters from sunlight. A roof fan could also help combat heat on the hottest days.

Or, if you're suffering from the reverse problem and your conservatory gets too cold in winter, consider adding insulation to the roof to keep the cold out and heat in. High density insulation surrounded by aluminium is a good option.

For more details on what to think about when planning a conservatory, such as the materials and style of building, read our guide to types of conservatory.

3. Improve the airflow

Ventilation is essential to maintain a comfortable and consistent conservatory temperature. So, when designing and using your conservatory, think about how air will flow through the room.

Obvious but easily overlooked measures included opening the door to the rest of your house to bring in warm air, or letting heat escape by opening external doors.

If it's not practical to have exterior doors open for long periods, installing outward-opening small ventilation windows at the top of each large window pane can be a very effective way to create an airflow.

4. Install (the right) heating

If you want your conservatory to be a useable room at colder times, you're likely to need some form of heating. Permanent heating options include:

  • Extending your home's existing central heating system, and installing radiators in your conservatory. This may not be the cheapest option upfront, but will be fairly efficient in the long term.
  • Underfloor heating. Depending on the size and shape of your conservatory, this could be a cheaper and more effective option than extending your central heating. At least one Which? member that responded to our 2021 underfloor heating survey told us this was the case for them. Our guide to underfloor heating has more on the pros and cons according to survey respondents, and the likely costs.

If you don't want to make these structural additions when building a conservatory, or if an existing conservatory lacks a heating system, consider a storage or portable electric heater.

  • Storage heaters store thermal energy by heating up internal ceramic bricks during the night, and releasing heat from them to keep a room warm during the day. They're designed primarily for those on a time-of-use electricity tariff, such as Economy 7 or Economy 10, who can take advantage of lower off-peak electricity prices overnight. Check our guide on storage heaters for more on the pros and cons.
  • Portable electric heaters are relatively inexpensive to buy and can boost a conservatory's heat when needed, while being easy to store away when not in use. They can be expensive to run for long periods, though.

Make sure you get a portable electric heater that's quick to warm up, is energy efficient and quiet. Find the right one with our Best Buy electric heaters.

The best plants for warm conservatories

Conservatories can also be a popular place to keep plants, adding colour and bringing the outside in. But, if your conservatory is on the hotter side, you'll need to choose plants that thrive in warmer temperatures.

The following plants are well suited to hot, dry conservatories:

  • Aeonium
  • Crassula, including the Jade plant Crassula ovata
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lachnelia
  • Manfreda
  • Massonia
  • Pelargonium
  • Tulbaghia

Conservatories vs orangeries: what's the difference? If you're thinking of adding extra space to your home, our guide to choosing an orangery explains the differences, and how you can use an orangery for gardening.