How To Heat A Church
The Essential Guide

Choosing How To Heat A Church

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. However 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

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. In a church environment, if low power quartz infrared heaters are used 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 Tube 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 for your exact needs. To chat about your needs in more detail please contact our Commercial Industrial Heat experts on 01450 372103. We are on hand to help you make the right decision.


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