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Our old gas radiant heaters have been condemned - what can we do?

The old gas radiant wall heaters installed in some churches and heritage buildings are being condemned because they do not comply with modern gas safety regulations. Fitting new gas appliances may not be an option because of the need to include flues for ventilation. This leaves a problem as to how the building can be heated economically and, since many church and heritage organizations are on limited budgets, there is also the question of how to meet the capital cost of buying and installing new heaters.

Of the available options, electric quartz halogen infrared offers some key advantages. Quartz halogen infrared heaters are much more energy efficient per kilowatt or BTU than the old gas heaters, and because they produce short wavelength infrared, they provide a much more effective form of heat than gas radiant heaters. Furthermore they are maintenance-free and there is no annual gas safety inspection to worry about. The capital cost to buy quartz halogen infrared is comparatively low and the heaters are not expensive to install.

How many heaters do I require?

A good starting point is to find the rated output of the old gas heaters. This may be indicated in British Thermal Units (may be shown as BThU, or more commonly now BTU) in which case, convert it to kilowatts. To do this, multiply the BTU rating by 0.0002928.

If the old gas heaters were adequate, SunSwitch heaters of the same kilowatt rating will be more than adequate. If the old gas heaters were less than adequate, SunSwitch heaters of the same rating will deliver more heat and so may be adequate for your needs.

De-commissioning the old gas heaters is probably less onerous than it might sound, and you will need to organise an electrician to install the new heaters.