One of the most important challenges facing churches today is providing sufficient comfort for the many different users of the building, from worshippers to staff and visitors.
It’s every churchwarden’s worst nightmare when the church heating system packs up and congregations are subjected to a cold and uncomfortable Sunday service. Disgruntled visitors are just one of the issues that have to be dealt with. A church’s heating system can have a long lasting and damaging effect on a building’s fabric and contents.
Although there is no prescribed minimum temperature for churches in health and safety legislation, it is generally accepted that indoor workplaces should normally be at least 16°C, and places of public assembly – including churches and places of worship – at least 21°C.
Insufficient or inadequate church heating is foreseeable and preventable. In May, the Church of England’s Church Care organisation published a new guidance note entitled Choosing the Right Heating System to guide those considering upgrading an existing heating system or installing a new one through the planning and decision making processes involved.
The guide outlines the principles involved in providing heat in a church; a list of actions and questions to consider; key facts about different energy sources and heat emitters; and a comprehensive list of further reading. With so much for decision makers to consider, when it comes to heating places of worship it’s advisable to consult a church heating specialist.
Each church presents its own unique and sometimes challenging heating problems due to its large open spaces. Old stone churches and modern places of worship often share the same problems – high walls, high roofs, and in most cases, single-glazed stained glass windows. An enlightened manufacturer will be able to recommend the best solution to meet your requirements.
Companies such as Vulcana are able to conduct a full heater survey to assess and recommend the best heating system to suit your church’s heating requirements. We also provide after care, which includes a programme of heating servicing and maintenance.
Our onsite heater surveys are free of charge for enquiries from churches for powered flue fan-assisted heaters, balanced flue convector heaters and overhead heaters, whether they are fuelled by natural gas or LPG.
We will carry out a full building assessment, including a heat loss calculation to measure how much heat is needed to effectively and efficiently heat your building. We will then provide a no-obligation quote, recommending the best heater or combination of heaters to install.
As well as providing a comfortable environment, specifying the right type and size of heaters can significantly reduce your energy bills – a heater that’s too large will increase energy costs unnecessarily, but a heater that’s too small will not heat your building efficiently and will constantly be running at maximum output.
Our gas heaters also offer significant environmental benefits, helping to lower a church’s carbon footprint, as they offer up to 93.9% heating efficiency and comply with current environmental directives and building regulations.
However, selecting the right heaters for a church building is not enough on its own. It is also essential that a properly qualified, Gas Safe registered fitter installs the heaters.
Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires, and other gas appliances. It checks engineers to ensure they are competent and qualified to work safely and legally with gas.
In the last year, Gas Safe Register has investigated more than 700 cases of illegal gas fitters in the UK. Using someone who is not on the register to install and maintain your heaters could cost you thousands of pounds in remedial work, impact negatively on your church’s reputation and, most importantly, endanger the lives of worshippers, staff and visitors.
Once appropriate heaters have been installed, they must be properly maintained. Progressive manufacturers can help here too. For example, we provide fixed price heater service agreements, which are renewable every two years, across our entire product range, to help churches budget with confidence. We can also provide heater servicing contracts for other manufacturer’s products.
Vulcana has been heating churches since 1966. To book a free heater survey call us on 01444 415871 or complete our enquiry form.