Why does Somersham Church need a new Heating System?
The heating system in the church is over 20 years old and by modern standards it is very inefficient, it has become costly to maintain, especially the replacement of boiler parts. In 2016 we had to spend over £2000 to get the boiler serviced and operational for the following winter. It is housed in a submerged pit which is very damp at some times of the year and the boiler has become very rusty, both on the outside and internally. There is concern that when it is serviced it may be condemned.
Replacing the boiler and heating system in a Grade One listed building is not a straightforward process which is why the PCC have been planning for some time now to install a new heating system in the church which will provide improved and comfortable heating for people and organisations using the building. We have been working with an Energy Consultant who is highly experienced in dealing with heating systems in churches. The plans were approved last year and the faculty to do the work was issued. The installation will include twin boilers, pipework and radiators. The boilers and associated equipment will be housed in the North Porch.
There will also be a need to upgrade the gas supply and the gas meter, because the existing gas meter is the type that you have probably got in your house and the current boiler is only working at between 70% and 80% efficiency.
Although the new boilers will still use gas they will be far more efficient than the present boiler. Currently in cold weather we have to run the boiler for up to four hours or more before a service or event takes place and this only takes the chill off the air in the building.
The new system will be a mixture of modern radiators and fan convector radiators which will direct hot air towards people rather than just let heat drift slowly up to the roof. There will also be radiators in the sanctuary where there is currently no heating and it is very cold, because without them, heat is being drawn away from the nave.
The cost of all of this work will be almost £70,000 (£66,050), of which over £50,000 is the installation cost (i.e. boilers, radiators, pipework and labour). We will be using £20,000 that is the remains of a very generous legacy that the church received several years ago and the rest will be made up of grants from a number of different organisations – The Friends, The Rigby Trust and the largest amount £25,000 coming from WREN. Although we have been promised the money from WREN we have had to provide them with a considerable amount of information in recent weeks to enable to the contract with them to be issued. We anticipate that this will happen in the next 2 weeks. The work of installing the new system is to be carried out by a firm that is very experienced in doing such work in churches and the work is due to start on 30th April and it is anticipated that it will take 5 weeks. The existing heating system will be turned off on that date. There will obviously be some disruption to the building but the contractors will make the building available for normal services. However, we have been advised that for health and safety reasons there may well be occasions when the church is closed to the general public and a notice will be placed on the door if this becomes necessary.
It is also important that a Grade One listed building such as our church has a reasonable heating system to protect the internal fabric.