Dunphy joins forces with DRU for large, modern church heating project

Church heating specialists Christopher Dunphy Ecclesiastical and heating manufacturers DRU have combined to supply a complete new heating solution to a large, modern Roman Catholic Church in Chester.

St Columba’s, which is named after a Celtic saint, was built in the early 1960s and is an impressive example of church architecture from that period. The light and airy interior can accommodate up to 600 people.

Most of the structure consists of laminated timber portal frames with a vaulted timber ceiling. There is very little insulation and some of the walls are made entirely from single-glazed stained glass.

This, together with the high ceiling, presents a major challenge to the heating system, as the heat loss of the building is considerable. Prior to the new installation, the church had to frequently leave its heaters on all weekend during the winter, resulting in fuel costs that were unsustainable and unaffordable.

Following a detailed survey, Christopher Dunphy specified the replacement of the church’s ageing balanced flue heating system with 10 new DRU Kamara 16 powered flue gas heaters. This delivers 160 kW of heat to the main body of the church, with a heat up time of only 1 hour.

Kamara heaters have an efficiency rating of over 90%. They are designed for large space heating in churches, schools and other public buildings. They are room sealed appliances with a powered flue system. This draws air from outside the building for combustion and expels waste gases to the external atmosphere.

In addition to the Kamara heaters, Christopher Dunphy installed its own Churchwarden Supreme control system. This constantly monitors the internal temperature of the building, allowing for the optimum start time of the heaters. The entire project was carried out by Christopher Dunphy’s own engineers with the help of DRU technical support staff.

Commenting on the installation, Graham Leech, chair of the church buildings sub-committee said: ‘The new system has been fully tested during the exceptionally cold winter of 2010/2011 and has proved to be capable of delivering rapid and effective heating whenever required. The electronic timing system allows us to plan our heating requirements on a weekly basis for services, weddings, funerals and all other church activities. This helps to minimise fuel wastage and should ensure a reduction in our gas bills in the future.

‘Because the heaters are fan-assisted, the noise levels are greater than the old natural convection system we had previously. However, we have been able to alleviate this by making adjustments to the thermostat settings.

‘Furthermore, the installation was carried out with impressive skill by Christopher Dunphy and his team and they were always available to deal with any problems that we had during the entire process.’

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