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Radiant Church Temperatures

ScottSecor
ScottSecor Member Posts: 386
About twenty years ago I seem to recall Dan wrote and article or told us at a seminar about a very large church (cathedral I think) with radiant heat. What I recall about the story is the temperatures of the building were closely monitored scientifically throughout the heating season, along with the temperature of the floor surface. I believe the temperatures were recorded at one foot off the floor, five feet off the floor, ten feet off the floor, thirty feet, etc.

I'm working on a project at a church with a peak that is roughly sixty feet above the floor. The pastor has an engineering background and is considering switching to radiant heat. I mentioned this article (or seminar topic) and the pastor was very interested.

Dan or anyone else, can you show me a link to the article I'm referring to? If it in one of Dan's books, I probably have it, just not sure which one. Finally, I seem to recall this was a big, very popular church, something like St. Patrick's in NYC, or Notre Dame in Montreal, then again it may have been in Europe.

Thanks,
Scott Secor

Comments

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Whenever I'm asked about the adequacy of radiant heat, my reply is that the sun heats our planet via radiant energy from 92,960,000 miles away. That's some powerful heat'n!
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,758
    What system does the church have now?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,377
    Hi, Scott. That would be Liverpool, England's cathedral, where there is only 1-1/2 degrees of air-temperature difference over more than 90 vertical feet of interior space. I wrote about it in my book, Hydronic Radiant Heating.
    Retired and loving it.
    ChrisJ
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 386
    Wow, that was fast, thank you Dan!

    The entire complex consists of the Sanctuary, Narthex, Parish Hall, Offices, Classrooms, Daycare Center. A single Weil McLain 978 oil fired steam boiler is responsible for heating the complex. Each area is fitted with a dedicated steam zone valve and a thermostat. The Sanctuary is heated with two large blowers that are fitted with steam coils (two pipe). The rest of the complex is heated with single pipe cast free standing radiators.

    I have only visited the site once, but it appears that almost every component of the system has failed or needs serious attention. Some examples, boiler has five of nine sections that are leaking, boiler feed tank has a hole in it the size of a baseball, not one of the zone valves works (four of six) were bypassed), remote condensate tank failed, vents on radiators appear to be more than thirty years old, you get the picture.

    What I found most troubling was this past winter they could not get the Sanctuary above 58 degrees on Sundays. I noticed the two steam coils and duct-work looked less than ten years old (the Sanctuary was erected in the late 1800's.) The steam coils were piped with 1.5" steel pipe on the supply and return, the coils are roughly three feet by two feet and the duct-work was roughly two feet by two feet. The air conditioning coils appear to be the size of the two fifteen year old air handlers, roughly seven feet by four feet. There are a total of six floor mounted registers that are placed throughout the Sanctuary.

    It appears that most of the heating system has gotten very little attention over the years. While the church is not in a affluent area, they have some funds available and want to consider all of their options. They are convinced switching to natural gas will save them roughly sixty percent on their fuel bill. They are also strongly against a hot air system(s).

    Thanks for the help.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,377
    I think they are in very good and capable hands.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,758
    Scott, those blowers were probably designed to provide fresh air as well as heat. You'll probably still need them for that.

    Still running the company your dad started?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 386
    Thanks Frank, I'll do a little more investigating when I re-visit the site. Yes I'm still running the business Dad started back in the 1970's.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,758
    Good to hear. Hope he is doing well. I miss him.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,659
    I installed a radiant panel system (1 1/2" over pour) in a church about 15 years ago, roughly 40 feet high. Still working great.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]