Can you Use Infrared Heating Panels in a Conservatory?

Conservatories are fantastic, light-filled and well-loved additions to a home. But thanks to their glass walls and uninsulated ceilings, significant heat can get lost. Unless it’s nice and warm outside, conservatories can get very chilly in cold weather. 

To address the challenge of heating conservatories, infrared heating panels have emerged as a promising solution to standard convection-based radiators. This is because infrared (IR) panels offer targeted heat that’s delivered in an energy-efficient manner.

This article will discuss the practicalities of using infrared heating in a conservatory, how effectively it works, cost to run and any safety concerns to bear in mind.

Are infrared heating panels good for conservatories?

Infrared heating panels offer an effective solution for heating conservatories. In our view, they are one of the best ways to maintain a comfortable temperature whilst relaxing and enjoying these peaceful spaces – even when it’s very cold outside. 

The reason infrared panels are so good for conservatories is that they work via directional heating. This differs from traditional convection radiators that heat the air. 

Instead, IR panels emit warming, longwave infrared that gets absorbed by solid objects (including your body). This is usually effective over a distance of a few metres

For a space like a conservatory or garden room, where traditional heating can be inefficient and costly thanks to rapid heat loss, infrared panels offer a much more effective heating method.

It’s why restaurants and other places with outdoor areas install infrared heaters (albeit the more powerful types than the indoor infrared panel heaters) as the heat energy travels through the air rather than being absorbed by it. 

Benefits of infrared panels for heating conservatories

There are plenty of benefits for using infrared panels to heat a conservatory. These include:

  • Warming people directly without the need to heat the air in between
  • Precise placement for maximum heat distribution
  • 100% energy efficiency conversion of electricity to heat
  • Cost effective to run
  • Easy to install and set up
  • Take up minimal space
  • Very quick heating up time 

Can you keep a conservatory warm overnight with infrared panels?

Infrared panels are perfectly safe to use overnight. However, unless you’re in the conservatory overnight, it would be a waste of energy to continuously heat the space. 

This is because none of the heat generated will be conserved or put to effective use – it will all just be lost. 

A much better and more effective way to use infrared panels is to only have them in operation when you are using the space. As IR panels heat up rapidly, this shouldn’t be a problem. It also means you’ll always benefit from the targeted heat that’s generated and no energy will be wasted.  

For even better energy efficiency, all of the best infrared panels will be integrated with smart technology. This allows you to precisely control timings and temperature from an app. 

Cost-effectiveness of heating a conservatory

Conservatories are usually used for short periods at a time. This is especially true when the weather isn’t too good and the conservatory environment is cold.

The right heating method can help you get more use out of your conservatory, keeping you warm and snug without causing a spike in your heating bills.

When it comes to cost-effective, short-term heating, infrared panels are a brilliant option to help you feel comfortable in your conservatory all year round. 

So, how much do infrared panels cost to run in a conservatory? It all depends on three main factors: 

  • Wattage – The power of the panel
  • Duration – How long it’s in operation for
  • Electricity rates – The price you’re paying for your energy

Let’s start with the wattage. 

Depending on the size and shape of your conservatory, the wattage of a panel usually ranges from 300W to 1200W. 

Next you need to know how much you’re paying for electricity. The current energy price cap for electricity is 29p per kilowatt hour (kWh). 

With the panel wattage and energy cost per kWh, we can work out the cost per hour to run an infrared panel as shown in the table below.

Infrared panel powerCost per one hour of use (based on current energy price cap figures)

Of course, you’ll have to take into account the initial upfront costs too. For a good quality panel, you’re likely to pay between £200 and £500. 

The major benefit here is that IR panels last for a very long time. When compared to other heating methods, infrared panels have one of the longest service lives and can last for 20 years and more. 

Ceiling or wall mounted infrared panels in a conservatory?

When considering the installation of infrared heating panels in your home, you generally have two options: mounting them on the ceiling or on the wall.

In most circumstances, a ceiling installation is the most effective for heat distribution. This is because there’s very little that will get in the way of the wavelengths produced from the panel until they can be absorbed by you. You can read more on the pros and cons of ceiling vs wall mounting options in our dedicated guide. 

For simplicity, installing an infrared panel on your conservatory wall is a good option. All you have to do is mount the panel in place and plug it into a mains socket. 

Remember though, careful IR panel placement is important as it heavily determines how effectively heat will be distributed. You can read more on where you should put an infrared panel to help you. 

However, with a conservatory, there’s a third option to consider – freestanding. 

A freestanding unit may be necessary if there’s limited solid wall space to fix the mounting brackets or and if the ceiling isn’t suitable for an overhead install. 

A freestanding infrared panel is the easiest option as it only needs to be plugged in and can be moved around into position. Of course, you can move this portable heater around to heat other areas of your home as needed. 

The main issue here is that it doesn’t have a permanent spot and it will take up floor space. The lower elevation of a portable unit also means the heat distribution may not be as effective as a wall or ceiling installation. 

All things considered, a wall installation or freestanding option are the most likely options for heating a conservatory. 

Is it safe to use infrared panels in a conservatory?

Yes, it’s absolutely safe to use an infrared panel in a conservatory.

As with all electrical devices, safety considerations should be taken into account when installing infrared panels in a conservatory. 

For example, all panels should be installed according to the manufacturer guidelines. They should be securely mounted, away from flammable materials and in locations that don’t obstruct passing foot traffic. If there are any cords, make sure these are tucked away as best as possible.

If you’re having an IR panel wired into your electrics rather than simply being plugged in, please make sure this is done by a qualified electrician.

It’s true that panels do get hot to the touch and can reach temperatures between 80-100oC. That said, glances past and brushes by are fine thanks to the low ‘watt density’ meaning the energy is spread out across the surface.

Even so, you don’t want prolonged contact with a fully heated panel, so it’s best to keep them out of reach of small hands and inquisitive children. All in all, infrared panels come with minimal health risks and are safe to install in a conservatory.

About the author 

Ben Hardman

Ben is a professional writer and the creator of sustainable living website
It's here where he helps people to reduce their environmental impact through simple, everyday choices. Away from the laptop, Ben loves spending time in the natural environment with his young family and Murphy the cocker spaniel.

First Class BSc Biology degree (environmental and climate change focus)
Six years of working and writing in the environmental sector, including two years working at an international sustainability consultancy
Written for Ethical Consumer magazine, My Mother Tree, Unsustainable Magazine, Happy Eco News, Emission Index,
Commented in The Independent, The Guardian, GreenMatch. Also featured on Radio 1's environmental special 'Minute of Me'

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