Stay Cozy At Church Without Burning It Down
Churches in the Northeast are chilly. Not the people, just the buildings. Time to turn up the heat. But beware, every year churches experience fires specifically due to heating systems. And especially as systems get turned back on after the summer and fall. Fire is the costliest property claim for churches with an average loss of over $250,000.
Even when insurance pays for the fire claim, a point that is often overlooked is that there is still a huge burden placed on the ministry. From finding new venues to worship in, to working with contractors to re-build, the church shoulders significant burdens after a fire. As risk advisors, we want to help churches focus as much on Pre-Hab as on Re-Hab and assist you in fulfilling your mission.
Here are 5 things you can do to reduce the risk of fire before you crank up the thermostat in the sanctuary.
- Change filters. There are many types of heating systems and they have replaceable filters of various types in the heating system. Check all filters and replace each year. The system cannot breathe when filters are clogged, and heat can build up due to lack of flow.
- Check all vents and registers. That burning smell that a system gives off in the initial turn on is usually dust that has built up. Clean up excessive dust at vents and registers. Also, check to make sure vents and registers are open and clear as sometimes items may be blocking their ability to provide heat.
- Clean out the furnace/boiler room. This may seem too simple, but many fires start because items are too close to the furnace or boiler. Churches tend to use these rooms for storage and over time things pile up. Christmas decorations and even gas cans have found their way into these spaces. (True story on the gas cans.) Utilize another space in the church for storage to help reduce risk.
- Check safety detectors. This includes smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors. If people are feeling sick after heat is turned on, check the carbon monoxide levels. Smoke and heat detectors help everyone identify the problem quickly. Make sure connections, batteries, or monitoring is all working properly.
- Have a licensed contractor conduct an inspection of your heating system. Yes, there is a cost to this one. But the expert eyes of a licensed heating contractor can provide insight into areas your system may need help and where maintenance is required. A check up each year saves in the long run.
Your church can be known as a warm welcoming place, without the flames. Work through the short list above to make sure you are prepared to turn up the heat. Check out more ideas from one of our insurance partners on how to prepare for winter. https://www.guideone.com/blog/prep-your-facility-winter-weather