How to Prepare Your Church for Winter Weather

How to Prepare Your Church for Winter Weather

a dog with its tongue out


Facility managers and church councils in Atlanta face unique challenges to heat churches and other multi-use properties during the winter. The building’s age and construction pose issues as well as the design, materials and frequency of use. Preparing a church for winter requires special care to protect important infrastructure.

To heat churches and multi-use spaces, conventional commercial HVAC solutions may not offer efficient or sufficient comfort control.

Estes Commercial works with commercial building owners and facility managers to find the right solutions to heat churches and commercial spaces. We want to keep users comfortable with efficient energy consumption.

Best Way to Heat Atlanta Churches

When it comes time to prepare a church for winter, there’s no one right answer. At Estes Services, our commercial heating professionals consider many factors to determine a heating solution for winter comfort. Our goal is to keep your church’s operating costs low while maintaining indoor comfort.

Consider the age of the church, especially when it’s time to prepare for cold weather. Many places of worship were built long ago and have additions of different ages and materials. Insulation levels likely vary throughout the building.

It’s common, for instance, for older areas to significantly lack the insulation of more modern construction. Another example is stone – when used in construction, stone can cause the building to become very cold in the winter.

While beautiful, it makes it difficult to adequately heat all areas. Age and construction pose a challenge to keeping spaces properly heated.

Another common challenge in these buildings is open spaces. Gymnasiums, sanctuaries, foyers, atriums and auditoriums are examples of such spaces commonly found in churches.

These spaces are often relatively empty on weekdays but host large groups of people on weekends. Occupancy changes make it difficult to get a church ready for winter heating. Keep guests comfortable with the right heating solutions.

Heat Churches with the Right HVAC Solutions

Historically, boilers are commonly used to heat churches. These systems use piping and radiators to deliver heat via hot water or steam throughout the building. As boiler systems age or fuel pricing strains the budget, other heating technology poses options that offer better performance, comfort and energy efficiency.

Ductless systems are being used to heat churches and multipurpose spaces with zoned heating. Control heat for specific spaces individually with a ductless system.

The ductless system is used as needed depending on the use of the room or zone. A single outdoor unit can support multiple indoor air handlers, allowing one system to deliver zoned heating in multiple areas.

This is often an ideal solution for heating additions, offices and classrooms. There’s no need to expand the building’s original or main heating system with ductless. This cuts costs significantly.

As technology evolves, controls such as programmable thermostats and building automation control systems help these facilities tackle the challenge of heating spaces where usage varies.

Programmable thermostats, combined with zoning systems, allow for individual heating control in the space. Program temperature schedules around the room’s use while maintaining adequate heat to protect the building’s infrastructure. Effectively control temperatures around the schedule of the space and conserve energy.

More Tips for Heating Churches During Winter Months

In addition to the right HVAC solutions, there are additional steps you can take to keep the church and its visitors warm while reducing heating costs.

  • Close exterior doors to help the facility retain heat and prevent cold air infiltration.
  • Cover cold floors with rugs and carpets to prevent cold air infiltration and drafts through gaps in floorboards.
  • Seal air leaks around door and window frames to prevent heat loss and stop cold air from entering through these spaces.
  • Use ceiling fans rotating clockwise during occupied periods to move the warm air that has pooled at the ceiling back down where occupants sit.
  • Consider covering pews and seating with liners to create warmer, more comfortable seating options for guests.
  • Supply kneeling cushions to keep guests comfortable when kneeling on cold floors.
  • Encourage guests to fill the front of the meeting space first and sit closely together, which generates more warmth.
  • Meet in smaller spaces rather than wide-open areas when appropriate for the size of the gathering or activity.
  • Rearrange the facility schedule to group activities on the same day rather than over multiple days to lessen the heating demand of the building.

Prepare a Church for Winter by Protecting Plumbing Infrastructure

Frozen plumbing pipes pose a real risk to Atlanta area churches during the winter months. Freezing water in pipes causes leaks and even pipe bursts, which result in extensive water damage that can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

Adequate heating is the best way to prepare a church for cold temperatures and protect its plumbing. Interiors need to be kept at 55 degrees or more at all times. Use programmable thermostats to maintain low setpoints at 55 degrees during unoccupied periods, and adjust heating to a more comfortable temperature when activities and services are scheduled.

Make sure your church is ready for winter by adding insulation to protect plumbing lines. Add insulation to attics, basements, crawlspaces and other unconditioned areas where plumbing pipes run. Wrap exposed plumbing with pipe insulation to prevent freezing.

A church’s plumbing needs to be inspected regularly to stop frozen pipes and resulting damage. Churches are unused sometimes for days on end, which leaves them vulnerable should a pipe burst during unoccupied periods. Facility managers need to inspect plumbing frequently during extreme cold periods and also verify heating systems are working.

Get a Consultation and Free Estimate from Estes Air

Estes Commercial works to heat churches and multipurpose spaces with the right solutions to offer optimal comfort, while controlling operational costs. Learn the right solutions when preparing a church for winter when you work with our NATE-certified commercial heating and cooling professionals.

Contact Estes Commercial today to schedule your consultation and free estimate. Our professionals assist commercial HVAC customers in Atlanta communities such as Buckhead, Peachtree City, Marietta, Fayetteville, Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Midtown and Roswell. We also serve Druid Hills, Decatur, Sandy Springs, Virginia Highland and Kennesaw.