Sunroom Heating and Cooling

Because sunrooms typically have large windows, proper heating and cooling are essential for comfortable, year round use. There are two techniques for regulating temperature in a sunroom; active and passive. Active techniques use mechanical systems for heating and cooling such as fireplaces and air conditioners. Passive techniques use ventilation and shading from trees.

One of the first sources of heating for your sunroom should be your existing home heating and cooling system. If you have a sunroom addition, determine if you can utilize the current system to warm up or cool down your sunroom. If your sunroom is small or less than 500 square feet, it is fairy easy to control the temperature of the sunroom with your existing HVAC cooling system.

If you need to heat or cool your sunroom separately from your existing home HVAC system, below are some appliances you can consider:

Ceiling Fan

One of the most simple and convenient devices for cooling your sunroom is the ceiling fan. The ceiling fan circulates the air inside the sunroom by either blowing downward or sucking air up. Make sure that your sunroom has enough headroom to operate a ceiling fan.

Portable or Window Air Conditioner

If you choose a portable window air conditioner, make sure to put it in a lower window panel where it will not be as noticeable. Sometimes these air conditioners can be quite noisy so test it out before you buy. If the portable air conditioner is not connected to a window, you will need to connect the exhaust line to the outside.


A fireplace not only creates warmth for your sunroom during those long, cold winter evenings but also creates an inviting ambiance for the family to gather around. There are several options of fireplaces to choose from. Vent free gas fireplaces are popular for sunrooms as they do not need require ventilation. However, make sure your sunroom is properly sized as they do deplete oxygen and also generate water vapor. Make sure to consult your licensed contractor and check with your local building department before installing one of these. Another option is an electric fireplace. These are actually standard electric space heaters that display imitation flames that flicker like a real fire.

Wall and Baseboard Heaters

These electric heaters need to be installed either in the wall or baseboard. Wall heaters can be installed between studs and uses built in fans to circulate warm air. Baseboard heaters are quiet and easy to conceal. Both of these types of heaters should be installed by a licensed electrician for safety.

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating systems are very popular for sunrooms as they warm the floor and transfer the heat directly to your body when you walk. Generally, a combination of radiant heating and some type of room heating contributes to a very comfortable and warm sunroom for winter months. There are two types of radiant heating. Hydronic systems uses hot water carried through tubes that run below the floor. New technological advances in tubing materials make this system a viable and reliable solution for heating your sunroom. The second type of radiant heating uses electrical elements installed below the floor. Both of these radiant heating systems require planning and quite a bit of work to build properly. However, once in place, the feeling of walking on a warm floor is one of the most enjoyable experiences.

Now that we have discussed mechanical heating and cooling systems, let us look at passive ventilation and shading. By establishing vents at both the top and lower portions of the sunroom, you can utilize natural convection to cool your sunroom. The principle is simple. Warm air rises and moves out through the vents at the top while cool air comes in from the lower vents. You can also use curtains, shades and blinds to control heat in the sunroom. By layering the window coverings that are different in translucency and thickness, you control how much sunlight you want to block.

Another popular way to moderate heat during different seasons is to plant a deciduous tree next to the sunroom. During warm summer months, the leaves from the tree offer some shade for the sunroom. During winter months, the leaves fall and the sunroom gets access to more sunlight.

As you can see, there are many options for heating and cooling your sunroom. Just make sure that you do your research and consult a licensed contractor or electrician before making any HVAC purchase decisions.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website are opinions of and do not reflect advice from retail professionals. You should always do your own research and consult retailers prior to any purchase decisions.