Problems with Conventional Church Heating

Many churches are only heated occasionally because of the expense. Usually, when churches are heated the warm air rises into the roof or cupola and the pews remain cold. Conventional church heating systems produce warm air flows that carry a lot of dust and dirt, and also create temperature fluctuations that cause humidity and condensation. This results in damage to church ceilings and paintings.

The concept of KovoSchmidt pew heating:

  • The heat accumulates in a closed system.
    (top image)
  • When a person sits on the seat the insulating material is pushed down and heat is released.
    (bottom image)

         * the pictures are basic overviews. The actual system consists of 7 layers and a thermoregulator.

Why is pew heating effective?

The different kinds of pew heating systems are all based on the same principle of helping to maintain a constant body temperature. How is this best achieved?

When a person is sitting in a cold place he starts to radiate his own body heat into the surrounding air. The human body produces about 120 watts of heat but when we are in a cold place we need extra heat from other sources to compensate our body for the lost heat. If this does not happen the brain sends signals to our muscles and we start to shiver to generate extra heat, which then acts as a protective layer to keep us warm. But if instead we supply our body with heat from an external source to compensate, then our body temperature rebalances and we start to feel comfortable again.

Why is it most effective to heat the seat itself?

The heat in our body is transmitted through the circulation of the blood. The most efficient area for the heat intake is that part of the body where the most blood vessels are - in the bottom. The heat from the cushions radiates straight into the body and the whole body is warmed via the blood circulation. This is the reason why heated seats are better than heated back rests or foot heating. (N.B. We are able to fulfil requirements for heated foot and back rests but we do consider them less efficient than our seat heating.)

Case study:

The beauty of this church heating solution can be seen in one of our existing installations – The National Basilica of Slovakia. The church is situated in Central Europe where winter conditions are much harsher than in the UK. The problem they encountered here was that the sub-zero temperatures  stay below minus 10°C for weeks. The other problem was the basilica’s high ceilings and different heating solutions were tried over the years to cope with the heat loss (the most recent was an under-pew heating system which we removed). The eventual solution which now meets all the Basilica’s requirements has been provided by our heating system, and this is now the only heating source in the Basilica.