Church Heating

Commercial & Industrial Heat offers a wide variety of options for discreet church heating

Churches can be difficult places to heat effectively. Commercial & Industrial Heat can provide a number of possible church heating solutions – read our guide. Where there is a hot water boiler system in place, Finned Tube Radiators can provide a stylish heating solution or for more discreet under pew heating, Gilled Tube is very effective.  Trench Heating and Baseboard are also alternative options. Where the only power supply is electric, CFS Floor Level Convector Heaters are ideal as an under pew heater, with a quick heat up time they only need to be switched on when the pew is in use. As natural convectors, with no fan, they are noiseless in operation. Contact Turnbull & Scott for more information on church heating.

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If under pew heating is not feasible CQIR Quartz Infra Red Heaters can be utilised. They heat the surfaces and persons they “illuminate” so can be selectively mounted and switched to only heat the required areas, with an instant response no pre heat period is required. Smaller churches or those with higher insulation levels can be heated with CHDA Architectural Fan Forced Wall Heaters.

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How To Heat A Church: The Essential Guide

Establishing how to heat a church effectively is an age old problem.

When choosing the right heating system, it is common to focus solely on heating the air: this is the first and most common pitfall.

Traditional heat loss calculations seek to establish how much heat energy is required to bring the air up to a certain temperature. The shape of a church however often renders this method inappropriate as so much heat is lost in the ceiling space.

For relatively active churches, a low level of background heat would be sufficient to take the edge off the chill, but insufficient to make the congregation comfortable. Churches in rural locations are often used too infrequently to provide sufficient background heat on which to rely. Having established the inefficiency of heating a church’s whole air volume, how should you heat a church?

Quartz Infrared Heater

Quartz infrared heating

  • Best positioned close and in a direct line to room occupants
  • Risk of glare

Providing direct heat onto a surface, quartz infrared heating is much like the sun. When you are in direct sunlight you can feel the heat, but when the sun goes behind a cloud there is an immediate decrease in the heat you feel – however the air temperature hasn’t actually changed. As a result quartz infrared heaters, such as the Commercial Industrial Heat’s CQIR range, offer an economical solution for certain applications.

Much like the sun, this type of heater emanates a strong glare. If low power quartz infrared heaters are used in a church they need to be positioned relatively close to the target, meaning that the glare can be significant. Therefore it is best to use high powered units, located high up, to effect sufficient heat whilst minimising the immediate glare.

Gilled and finned tube

  • Easy installation
  • Low unit cost
  • Higher running costs unless used infrequently

In existing trenches

Many churches have trenches within the floor which will generally have contained cast pipework connected to a boiler. Over time the plain pipework condition deteriorates and further limits the amount of heat available. A popular and discreet replacement or improvement to such a system is the introduction of a carbon steel gilled tube.

Gilled tubes can greatly enhance the amount of heat given out when added to existing trench systems, though they can also be efficiently located under pews or around the periphery walls. Furthermore, due to the efficiency of the finned tube compared to a plain tube, a much smaller bore tube can be used, resulting in a much lower system volume and therefore a quicker heat up time.

Finned Tube Heater

Electric finned tube heaters

Though electric heating may not be as efficient as water heating, the electric finned tube radiator requires much less infrastructure. With a little wiring you can locate electric finned tubes directly below where the heat source is required, and as such are often used directly beneath pews. The minimal installation costs, combined with the relatively low unit cost, can offset the higher running costs, particularly where only infrequent use is required.


When choosing how to heat a church, you should consider your existing infrastructure, capital expenditure budget, desired aesthetics and running costs.

Given the number of options available there is sure to be a heating system suitable, so contact our experts on 01450 372103.

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Footer Image © Copyright Michael D Beckwith via Unsplash licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

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