Church to get new pew heating system

St Denys' Churchwarden Anne Smillie-Pearson and Vicar of Sleaford Rev Philip Johnson beside one of the 1860's cast iron radiators. EMN-150317-115605001
St Denys' Churchwarden Anne Smillie-Pearson and Vicar of Sleaford Rev Philip Johnson beside one of the 1860's cast iron radiators. EMN-150317-115605001

The days of shivering in the pews at Sleaford’s Parish Church should soon be over - and not just because spring and summer are on their way.

St Denys’ Church is soon to have new, electric heaters to keep parishioners’ feet toasty throughout the chilly months - all run by their own solar power.

Vicar of Sleaford Rev Philip Johnson explained in recent years there have been increasing problems with the aging heating systems which has deterred visitors in winter months from services and concerts.

There are two current heating systems: noisy 1960s fan heaters and a series of cast iron radiators installed around the edges of the church in the 1860s. Rev Johnson said: “The heating system is old and on its last legs. In my first winter in 2013 the gas bill for the two systems was £19,000 and it was still cold.

“Then last summer one of the four inch cast iron pipes under the floor of St Hugh’s Chapel burst. It is virtually beyond repair. We needed to find a new way of heating the church that was effective, economically sustainable and environmentally friendly to suit a Grade 1 listed building.”

After much research, over the next few weeks a specialist company will begin installing 56 electric convection heaters designed to be fitted in the pews in the central blocks of the nave. The aim is to provide heat directly to where it is needed, especially around people’s feet. The old fan heaters will be serviced and provide a basic level of heating in winter.

The new heaters can be almost completely powered by the solar panels installed on the church a few years ago, which had mainly supplied surplus energy to the National Grid, but will now reduce the energy bill.

Installation costs will be about £9,000 and so far churchgoers have raised £6,000 and are confident in reaching the target in the next few months. Any donations welcome.

Rev Johnson added: “The new heating system that we are installing will greatly improve Sleaford Parish Church for the benefit of all the community.”