Free standing radiators
There are numerous types and styles of radiators that just plug into any wall outlet, as shown in Figures 5 & 6 and can be easily used to provide supplemental heat to your sunroom.
There are three major problems with most of these types of heaters.
- The heat that emanates from these types of radiators is not evenly distributed throughout the room, so that there will be cold and hot spots.
- They generally do not fit in with the basic décor of the room.
- The electrical cord running from the wall outlet to the radiator can be a safety issue if the radiator is placed away from the wall towards the center of the room.
The biggest advantage of these types of radiators is their relative cost. Even the best free standing radiators are less than $100.
Figure 5 – Oil filled radiator
Figure 6 – Infrared Quartz Radiant Heater
Selection of electric radiators
Electric baseboard heaters
Electric baseboard heaters, as shown in Figure 7 are a good alternative to free standing radiators. The wiring to the baseboard heaters is hidden in the walls so that it is not a safety hazard. The electric baseboard heaters can be controlled from a wall mounted thermostat, as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 7 – Baseboard heater
Figure 8 – Baseboard heater thermostat
They may not be the most aesthetically pleasing method of heating but from a cost stand point they are relatively inexpensive at around $12 a linear foot, including the thermostat.
They would generally be installed below all of the windows.
Selection of electric baseboard heaters.
Figure 9 – Electric fireplace
Installing a fireplace can be another method of supplying heat to the sunroom.
You can install a wood burning fireplace, gas or electric. Inserts are now available that make the addition of a fireplace a relatively easy installation.
The major problems with fireplaces are that although they are generally aesthetically pleasing they may not suit the décor of a sunroom. As well, the heat generated by fireplaces is not easy to control nor is it even heating throughout the room.
Selection of electric fireplaces
Additional information on electric fireplaces.
Figure 10 – Mini split air conditioner
Cooling your sunroom
Cooling your sunroom can be a much more complex and expensive exercise than heating.
If you currently have a forced air, air conditioning system you can try to extend the duct work into the sunroom. Of course, your current air conditioning system must be able to handle the additional load created by the sunroom. One negative with central air conditioning is that it is not zoned, so in order to cool your sunroom you must also cool the rest of the house whether or not it requires it.
The alternative is to install a ductless mini split air-conditioning unit, as shown in Figure 10. Mini split air conditioners are similar to central air-conditioning systems the units have two main components. One is the outdoor condenser/compressor and the other is the indoor evaporator or cooling unit. Both the indoor and outdoor units are connected through a conduit, which houses the refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, a condensate drain and the power cable.
These units are a good choice for a sunroom because it allows for the control of the air conditioning within the sunroom without affecting other rooms in the home. It is relatively small and not to obtrusive in the room. Most units almost noise free.
You can install a window or wall mounted air conditioner, however most of these units are not overly aesthetically pleasing, but they are extremely cost effective.
Selection of mini split air conditioners.
Figure 11 – Mini split air conditioner and heater
Combination heating and cooling systems
If your sunroom requires both heating and cooling you can install mini-split units, as shown in Figure 11, that provides both heating and cooling functions.
This gives you room control, many have remote controls, over the heating and cooling and they are easy to install as they do not require any duct work.
The mini split heaters and coolers are not inexpensive, but what you will save on installation compared to some of the other alternatives will still make the combo mini split heater and air conditioner cost effective.
Selection of mini split air conditioners and heaters.