A screened-in porch or patio allows you to enjoy the outdoors without direct exposure to the elements. If you don’t have a radiant heat source to keep your porch warm during the winter, you’re not getting the most out of your investment.
Read on to learn how to heat a screened-in porch in the winter so that you can enjoy your outdoor space during all four seasons of the year.
Choosing a Radiant Heat Source for Your Outdoor Living Space
Ceiling fans and the shade provided by your screened porch allow you to enjoy a breath of fresh air during the hot summer months, but you may wish to host guests during the cold winter months as well. Transforming your screened-in porch into a warm outdoor room allows you to experience the comforts of indoor living while still enjoying the winter landscape.
There are plenty of outdoor heaters available. Before you select a heating system for your screened porch, it’s important to understand the capabilities and limitations of each type of heater.
Conventional Electric Space Heaters
Electric space heaters radiate warm heat to a confined space and are effective for smaller areas. Unless you have a smaller porch, these may not be able to provide warmth to everyone in your outdoor space. Depending on the square footage of your screened-in porch, there may be more effective methods of heating your space than conventional electric heaters.
Freestanding Electric Heaters
These traditional heaters are around six feet tall and come in electric and gas versions. They have a dome at the top to deflect warm air away from the heating element so they can heat an area surrounding a table or chairs. The gas-powered versions have much better output than their electric counterparts.
Infrared Heating Systems
Modern advances in infrared heating system technology have made these wall-mounted heaters more viable for your screened porch. They work by using infrared technology or heated quartz elements to heat the surrounding area instead of simply blowing warm air into the space. Infrared heaters are one of the most energy-efficient electrical heating options to consider.
Natural Gas Powered Heaters
If you have a large porch, gas may be a better fuel source to generate heat throughout your entire screened porch area. It’s important to consider safety when using gas heaters. Make sure your screened porch is adequately ventilated and the heater you select is right for the square footage of your space. Many gas-powered heaters primarily rely on propane and come with specific guidelines for ceiling height, placement within a room, and ventilation requirements. Failure to adhere to these recommendations can result in potential dangers such as fires or harmful emissions as propane heaters emit carbon monoxide.
If you’ve got a smaller space to heat, a gas-powered or propane heater may not be ideal, and you may want to consider a tabletop heater. These devices have heating elements built into them and even oscillate to move the warm air around. They aren’t much more effective than a regular space heater, though, so only use them if you’re looking to warm a smaller screened porch.
Fire pits allow you to enjoy the comfort of a real fire and make you feel like you’re spending a short time in the great outdoors. Problems to consider are the smoke they produce and ensuring that you’re taking fire safety measures to keep the fire under control. This requires adequate ventilation and making sure you’re only using a fire pit inside a screened porch that’s tall enough to support it.
One alternative is to install an outdoor fireplace. This helps manage the smoke and keeps the fire safely contained. Visitors on the porch are able to enjoy the sight and smell of real flames, and you can feed the fire until the party is over.
Floor Heating Systems
Floor space heaters use radiant energy from the floor to warm an area and allow you and your family to walk outside without boots or super-warm shoes. The heat coming from the floor rises into the air and provides a uniform temperature throughout the entire screen porch. These systems require professional installation and aren’t the cheapest option to consider, but a floor radiant heater is worth it to provide your family with a nice, cozy outdoor atmosphere.
Passive Heating Solutions to Consider
To keep your outdoor area at a comfortable temperature, consider ways to keep the cold out as well. You can install clear vinyl panels that roll down over your screens. These are great at keeping out rain and blocking wind so the cold air doesn’t lower the temperature on your screen porch. A cheaper option would be to purchase outdoor curtains, but these aren’t as effective as their vinyl counterparts.
Why You Should Consider Professional Installation of Heating Systems
Safety is the primary concern when choosing a heater for your outdoor living area. Before you install a fire pit or fireplace, infrared heater or floor heating system, you need to be sure it’s compatible with the dimensions of your porch. Some heat sources emit carbon monoxide and would require proper ventilation, and a professional can tell you if the system you’re considering is safe for your family.
The best place to go when looking for heat sources is a dependable screened porch builder company. The right installer can design a custom screened-in porch for you with considerations for all types of weather so that your cooling needs in the summer are met, and you remain warm during the colder months. You know when you hire a professional that the installation is done correctly and it’s safe to enjoy your outdoor living area with family and guests.
Find the Solution That Suits Your Family
Prince William Home Improvement specializes in helping people enjoy their screened porches year-round. We can help you create a space that offers ample cooling and heating solutions so you can enjoy your outdoor escape regardless of the time of year or temperature. To learn more, call us at 703-492-1294 to set up a free consultation.