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  • Space heating in a church can be very expensive.  Space heating is the approach we generally use in our homes or offices i.e. we use heaters to create and maintain a body of warm air within a confined space.  Space heating in a church tends to be expensive for a combination of reasons. 

    Churches have poor thermal properties with little or no insulation and often large expanses of single-glazed windows.

    Churches tend to be tall buildings containing a correspondingly large volume of air that requires heating.

    Churches are used intermittently – often only one a week.  This means that a heating cycle will often have to start from a very low temperature when raising the air temperature to a comfortable level for a service.  This issue is not a concern in more regularly used buildings such as homes or offices.

    The solution to this problem is to use direct acting heating systems such as pew heaters or quartz halogen heaters.  These systems heat people directly without a requirement to build up and maintain a body of warm air.

  • When using a conventional boiler and radiators, we have known churches that have required several days of heating to reach an acceptable temperature.  These were no doubt extreme examples but, again in our experience, warm up periods of 24 hours are common.

    BN Thermic recommends direct heating systems such as pew heaters or quartz halogen heaters.  These systems heat people directly rather than the surrounding air, reducing the warm-up period to as little as ten to fifteen minutes.  The resulting reduction in running costs is obvious.

  • A typical church pew is let’s say 2m long and is divided centrally by a seat support.  This pew would require two 450W pew heaters.  Assuming an electricity tariff of 15p/kWh, the running cost per pew, per hour would be 13.5p.  To estimate the running cost for the entire church, simply multiply this number by the total number of pews.  Please remember that only occupied pews need to be heated.  So, for services with a more limited congregation size, the running costs can be very much lower.

    We are aware that there are a wide variety of pews both in style and size.  If you would like BN Thermic to assist with pew heater selection and to calculate the running cost, please do not hesitate to call our experienced and friendly engineers.

  • The answer to this question is fairly straightforward if we are installing quartz halogen heaters.  A typical church nave 15m x 4m would require six 3kW quartz halogen heaters.  Assuming an electricity tariff of 15p/kWh, the running costs to heat the nave would be £2.70 per hour.

    It is our opinion that other forms of infrared heating such as longwave radiant heaters (sometimes known as far-infrared heaters) are rarely suitable for church heating. 

    For a successful installation the correct selection and positioning of quartz halogen heaters is vital.  If you would like BN Thermic to assist with heater selection and to calculate the running cost, please do not hesitate to call our experienced and friendly engineers

  • Pew heaters are direct acting in that they heat people directly rather than heating the surrounding air.  This feature reduces pre-heating to a few minutes and significantly reduces running costs

    Pew heaters are installed directly under a pew’s seat and are therefore the most visually unobtrusive of any church heating system.

    Pew heaters are silent and do not produce draughts or light output.

    A simple switch will allow the heaters installed in individual pews to be switched on and off.  As only occupied pews require heating, economy can be improved still further by switching off the heaters in unoccupied pews.

  • Our answer relates to quartz halogen heaters.  It is our opinion that other forms of infrared heating such as longwave radiant heaters (sometimes known as far-infrared heaters) are rarely suitable for church heating.

    Infrared Quartz halogen heaters are direct acting in that they heat people directly rather than heating the surrounding air.  This feature reduces pre-heating to a few minutes and significantly reduces running costs.

    Quartz heaters are ideally suited to heating the open areas of a church such as the chancel, or churches that do not have fixed pews.

    BN Thermic quartz halogen heaters have a smart compact design and are available in black or ivory.  Selecting a heater colour best suited to its mounting position keeps visual impact to a minimum.

    With direct-acting quartz halogen heaters, only occupied areas of the church need to be heated.  So, for example, there may be circumstances when there is a need to heat the chancel but not the nave.  Taking this approach will reduce heating costs still further.

    Traditional quartz halogen heaters have a significant red glow which is generally unwelcome on churches.  BN Thermic ‘Magic Lamp’ heaters tend to be preferred as they emit a soft pink glow with zero glare.

  • Far infrared or longwave radiant heaters are an excellent choice for many applications but, in our opinion, are rarely suitable for church heating.

    This style of heating should be considered as an alternative to fan heating as a means of producing and maintaining a body of warm air.  This space heating approach is unsuited to an application where heat losses are very high and building use is intermittent.

    Claims are made that far-infrared heaters ‘heat people not air’ and can therefore be used as an alternative to quartz halogen heaters.  However it is our experience that the radiant effect from a longwave or far-infrared is not intense enough or focussed enough to provide direct heat in the way that a quartz halogen heater can.

    BN Thermic supplies both longwave (far-infrared) heaters and shortwave quartz halogen heaters.  Both have their place, but it is our opinion that when installing infrared heating in a church, quartz halogen heaters are the best choice.

  • For some space heating applications, there may be a running cost saving to be gained by using gas heating systems.  However gas heating can realistically only provide conventional space heating. In an intermittently used and in intermittently used and thermally inefficient church, the result would be long warm up periods and high running costs.

    Electric heating can provide a dramatic reduction in running costs.  Pew heaters or infrared quartz halogen heaters heat people directly keeping the warm up time to an absolute minimum.

  • To enjoy the direct acting effect and associated economy of a quartz halogen heater, some light output in unavoidable.  However whereas traditional quartz halogen heaters emit a significant red glow, BN Thermic ‘Magic Lamp’ heaters emit a soft pink glow with zero glare.  For church heating we recommend quartz halogen heaters from our Magic Lamp range.

  • Generally speaking, we do not recommend underfloor heating in church.  This style of heating works best in a domestic context where it is relatively easy for a floor to be heated to around 25°C and, having reached that temperature to raise the air temperature to, say 20°C. 

    Both these objectives are difficult to achieve in a church.

    Church floors typically consist of thick flagstones or tiles and are not normally insulated.  They therefore represent a huge thermal mass that will absorb energy from the underfloor heating extending warm-up time significantly. 

    If and when the floor reaches the desired temperature, it is highly unlikely that the kW output from the floor would be sufficient to maintain an acceptable air temperature or that the radiant effect from the floor would be sufficiently intense to provide adequate direct heating.

  • The use of portable heaters is not recommended as a permanent church heating solution.  There are two types of portable heaters that might be considered.

    Portable fan heaters are sometimes used in an attempt to heat up the air within a church.  This approach is likely to result in very high running costs as the heaters will have to produce sufficient kW output to offset heat losses from an inherently thermally inefficient building with a high percentage of their output being absorbed by the fabric of the building.  It should also be noted that fan heaters are noisy and generally have to be switched off during a service.

    Correctly selected and positioned portable quartz halogen heaters are more likely to be successful as they can provide direct targeted heat for specific areas.  However please be aware that a quartz halogen heater’s lamp operates at a very high temperature and represent a genuine safety risk when a heater has trailing power cables and questionable stability

    BN Thermic always recommends fixed and hard-wired heaters.