Keeping the conservatory cool

Here are some tips on keeping a conservatory cool this summer. Sharon Dale reports.

There are many benefits to having a conservatory. They are an easy way of adding extra square footage to your home, they're light and bright and they usually have great views of the garden. The biggest drawback is that many of them are unusable in hot, sunny weather.

Here, window styling company Thomas Sanderson, , gives some useful advivce on how to keep your conservatory cool in summer: Blinds: Most conservatories are encased in glass so when sunlight shines in it causes a greenhouse effect; that is, the heat from the sun gets reflected within the conservatory and effectively gets trapped inside. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to install blinds, shutters or

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curtains. Blinds work best because of their versatility. By adjusting the blinds throughout the day you can prevent sunlight from heating up the conservatory, whilst still allowing natural light in. You can also get specialist roof blinds.

Create an air flow: As the conservatory becomes warm because of the hot air trapped inside, it is important to create an air flow to help cool the room down. The best way to do this is simply by opening the windows, Just opening a single window will let hot air in and prevent circulation, so the best way to avoid this is to either open multiple windows, or open them at opposite ends of the room, as this will create an air flow, acting as a wind tunnel and allowing a breeze to pass through.

Air conditioning: This is the most effective way to cool down a conservatory, but is also likely to be the most expensive. An installed unit will be a pricey option, but will blow cold air into the room while remaining relatively quiet and unnoticeable. A portable unit willl be cheaper but noisier and less effective.

Fans: These aren't as immediately effective as air conditioning units but if used correctly they can be really useful in cooling down the room. Whilst air conditioning actively blows cold air into the room, fans work by circulating the air and preventing it from becoming still and warm. By placing them near open windows they will help create the air flow through the conservatory, generating a breeze that will cool the place down. For a quick fix, place the fan behind a bowl of ice as it will then blow icy cool air through the room.

Plants: Houseplants can help cool a room down. They do this because plants need hot air to assist with their natural processes, so they consume it from the room. In addition, plants release moisture into the air and increase the humidity in the room, which lowers temperature.

*Rather than buy a fully-glazed conservatory off-the-peg, consider a bespoke garden room inside. Scientists believe that our summers will become hotter so think about having a conventional, tiled, rather than a glazed one. This will minimise the impact of bright sunlight.

Think about the type of glass you use. Pilkington Activ Blue is a good option. It combines dual-action, self-cleaning properties with medium solar control performance. The latter helps to to create coooler interiors.