Heating Your Shed or Summer House

Among the questions we are asked most frequently is ‘how best to heat a garden room’

The answer depends on its size, how you will use it, the power sources you have and your budget. Before you decide on the form of heating you need, it’s important to also take a moment to evaluate the building you’re planning to heat, including its level of insulation. Once you’ve assessed these elements, you can decide how much you need to spend and how complex a task it needs to be to suit your requirements. It’s certainly an important choice, because in our climate, you need to ensure that for whatever purpose you use your shed or summer house, it’s going to be welcoming and comfortable all year round.

Summerhouses have without a doubt gained popularity this year with more of us spending time at home and needing extra space. Garden buildings serve a wide variety of uses such as studios for writing, painting or crafting, an office, gym, gardening hub, a permanently inhabited extension of the living space, storage space, workshop or simply a place for fun, relaxation and enjoying leisure time in the garden.

Coming in many shapes from rectangular to octagonal with a terrace or without and with a broad variety of roof shapes, garden summerhouses often provide a picturesque focal point tucked away at the end of your lawn and give your garden this perfect country look, that you enjoy with every view out the window.

However, with the evolution of usages comes the need to make this space functional throughout the seasons. To help you decide how best to heat your space we’ve put together some of the options available for this below.

WOOD BURNERS

Style-wise there’s no contest: wood burners look fantastic in a timber cabin. Be it a small pot-belly stove or a stove with a glass door through which you can watch the flames, burning wood creates a great ambiance, smell, and atmosphere in any summerhouse. Whether you select a traditional or contemporary stove, they certainly perform well, maybe even too well! If you decide on a wood burning stove, be aware that a summerhouse is a confined space. A stove with a capacity of around 2 kW is probably enough for a medium spaced summerhouse. 

Wood burners warm quickly, retain heat and are carbon-neutral if you can use a sustainable local fuel source. 

As with all fires however, there are safety aspects to be considered, particularly in a wooden construction:

  • Check if you live in a smoke control area. In this case, you will need an approved ‘clean burn’ stove.
  • Be aware of the height of your flue, the main wind direction, and your neighbour’s houses. They cannot be expected to breathe in the smoke from your burner all the time.
  • It is advisable to install a carbon monoxide alarm
  • The stove should be HETAS registered and please remember they must be professionally installed by a HETAS engineer to ensure your safety.

ELECTRIC FIRES

Installing and electric fire is a very popular option for summerhouses because it does not require any changes in the building itself. There is no smoke, no need for oxygen or burning material supply, no additional safety precautions you just need an electrical socket. Additionally, for workshops with lots of saw dust and alike, it might be an advantage that they have no exposed flammable heating elements.

Electric fireplaces combine the ease and safe handling of heating with the added bonus of resembling a real fireplace. This helps transform the space into a home away from home and an attractive room to spend time in during the colder months. 

GAS FIRES

A gas fire could be a good option for your summerhouse if your main property runs on gas or a bottled gas fire could be a good idea for a summerhouse with no electricity. Do take in to consideration the bulk and look of a gas bottle when contemplating the latter option.

With no flue, you will not only need some degree of ventilation to ensure oxygen supply, but also because these burners can cause a build-up of water vapour as a result of the burning process. Take this into account when planning your installation.

As with an electric fire, a gas fire can create a great focal point and come in many designs with the ability to be used as an aesthetic accessory and a heater.

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