Investing in a sunroom or solarium in your backyard or on your patio can extend the your outdoors enjoyment through three and often four seasons. If your winter is particularly long or severe, you can still enjoy your sunroom (but be sure to keep snow from accumulating on the roof!), but you will want to explore some techniques for keeping your sunroom warm in the winter.
There are a few ways to keep a sunroom or patio enclosure warm in the winter:
- Position toward the sun: A sunroom can use solar energy for heat in the winter depending on the positioning of the room. A sunroom that is directly south-facing with all day sun exposure will probably heat up to a comfortable temperature most winter days. It is possible, though, that during a winter in the Northeast, your sunroom does not get enough solar energy to be comfortable.
- Insulate the walls, floor, and ceiling: Block any openings to help keep the heat in. Thick rugs and blankets can help insulate the floor and make it feel warmer in the sunroom.
- Use window treatments: Keep the sunroom's windows covered with thermal curtains or blinds to help insulate the room.
- Add a space heater: A portable space heater can help warm up the sunroom on cold days. There are many to choose from, and they are compact, convenient and affordable.
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- Add an electric fireplace. Glass-roofed or metal-roofed sunrooms, such as solariums, are not compatible with traditional masonry fireplaces because of the inability to install a chimney. In the case of this type of structure, an electric fireplace may be the answer, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles.
- Add weatherstripping: Use weatherstripping around the windows and doors to help seal out drafts and keep the warm air in. You can choose a V strip tension seal along with your sliding windows or along the sides of your double-hung windows. This V strip can also act as a good seal for your door sides. Also, you can use a felt around your window and door sashes.
- For a patio enclosure positioned against your house, you can open the door to the house and let the heat warm up the sunroom.
- Keep the walkway to your sunroom or hot tub snow- and ice-free with heated walkway mats.
If you have invested a lot of money in your sunroom, you might consider other more permanent solutions.
- You could install an HVAC system, then regulate the temperature with a programmable thermostat: Set the thermostat to a lower temperature when the sunroom is not in use, and program it to turn up the heat when you will be using the room. This can help to save energy and lower your heating costs.
- Alternatively, you can install radiant flooring while planning your sunroom. Unlike other traditional heaters, these floors are energy efficient and don’t require extra space. Radiant flooring is safe and easy to install.
Have a look at some sunrooms and patio enclosures to find one that's right for your backyard.