Winterize Your Church

Photo:Rob Park
 on December 11, 2019

by  Ian Chadwick

Maybe it will be different this winter… And maybe it won’t.  So, in the very little time you have before the temperatures drop below freezing and ice and snow turn parking lots and access ramps into skid-pads and ski-jumps; best be doing something.

Think snow-plow and salting contracts; and review them to make sure you’re not paying for extra, mid-week salt applications on days when it doesn’t snow. Keep a good supply of small-grain rock salt for emergency use, right before an ice storm or snowfall.(imagine a sandwich: snow/salt/pavement).

And just as the diocese has requested, keep a record of every snow removal and ice treatment event. If people know you always do a good job of clearing the parking lot and steps on a Sunday morning, they are more likely to “risk” being there.  Likewise, it is worth using and regularly changing those temporary door mats to collect the salt-slush in the narthex, before it stains the church carpet. Have some trays for boots as well.

Love those heating bills? You may not believe me but I can show you stained-glass windows with holes you can put your fingers through, and single pane basement windows with gaps that would make you gasp; and it’s there that you can make the easiest savings on your heating bill (simply using sticky-tape and plastic sheets from the dollar store).

Are there any churches not using programmable thermostats? Are there any churches still burning fuel oil? Talk to Mr. Propane. Are there any churches which forget to change the furnace filters? Are there any churches where the furnace service company telephone number is not carved into the rector’s desk top?

Think — what could possibly go wrong? Think ice-induced flips, twisted ankles, bruised backsides, broken wrists, insurance claims, loss of face and loss of revenue.

Enjoy the season!

Canon Ian Chadwick is Chair of the Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Church Buildings.  

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