How to Heat a Screened-In Porch – Do it Yourself

A screened in porch added on to the front or back of your house is the perfect place to relax on a warm day or night and is an extension of the living space of your house in the spring, summer and fall. As the winter weather gets colder the porch becomes a storage area like a garage, shed or mud room. If you already have a screened in porch you realize how nice it is to have this space for relaxing, entertaining and staying out of the weather. Most screen rooms and porches are 3 sided with the back wall being the existing exterior wall, it easier to heat and access the rest of the house.

If you are looking to make your screened in porch a year round room and are planning to heat it decide as to what extent you will use this room and how much you will invest in it to use it all year long. If you are thinking to use this area just as a day room in the colder months and the appearance is not a factor, you can do it yourself with something as simple as covering the screens with heavy 6mil clear polyethylene plastic and securing it with 1×2 wood strips to the posts that the screens are fastened to. To close the gaps in wood decking floors install inexpensive carpet on the floor. If you have an electric outlet on the porch, plug in a small radiant electric heater. One step further would be to insulate the roof with fiberglass insulation. This method will not be the most comfortable room in your house but may be warm enough during the day to use as a day room. If your screened in porch is of solid construction and you want to use it all year long here are some things to consider that may need to be changed or upgraded.

1. The roof/ceiling- is it already closed up underneath or are the rafters exposed to the room. If exposed you may want to insulate it then cover with plywood or sheetrock to have a finished ceiling.

2. Skylights – adding a skylight will naturally supplement the heat in the room on sunny days.

3. Ceiling – plan on installing a ceiling fan light box in the ceiling for circulating the air in the room.

4. The sidewalls – is there screening already in place? You may want to consider removing the screening and install storm windows as they will have glass and screens to be used all year long.

5. The door – Install a storm door on the exterior of the enclosed porch.

6. The deck floor – If your porch has a wood deck floor with spacing in between that is open to outside temperatures, you may want to consider covering the deck with treated plywood to seal out drafts and insects.

7. Concrete floor – a concrete slab will be even easier to work with as it is already sealed to the ground, but may transfer outdoor cold.

8. If you install plywood on the floor consider covering it with a low pile carpet for added comfort.

9. Electric – plan to install electric outlets to accommodate a ceiling fan, lighting, outlets for portable heaters, and exterior lighting.

10. Deck sides – the sides of this existing deck should to be extended to the ground to keep animals out.

Types of Heating for a Screen Porch

1. Electric – portable electric heater, infrared, base board heat, radiant heat, floor radiant heating.

2. Natural Gas – zero clearance gas heaters, unit heater.

3. Fireplace – wood fireplace, wood burning stove, gas fireplace.

4. Skylights – Add skylights in roof for daytime solar heat.

5. Hot Water Baseboard – a more expensive system.

6. Existing Hot Air – add some vents off your existing system.

Your new porch will be an all purpose room for you to enjoy working, reading, hobby making, arts & crafts, dining and relaxing all year long.

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