up and running at St Columba’s

The wood panelling that boxes in the radiators is now off, and our instrumentation is now up and running, ready to try to answer the question “how much better is it, and will we be comfortable”? The science of that is genuinely tricky because the weather and building conditions are never the same twice, but we’ll see what we can do!

Part of the goal is just to check that the system is operating as it should – all radiators getting warm throughout, and the heat output getting out of the boiler room, and (now that the panelling is off) also away from the radiators. The former, we can check when the heating is on using anemometry and a thermal imaging camera. Since all the radiators have the same surface and therefore the same emissivity, comparison between them ought to be straightforward, even if we won’t know the exact temperature readings (unless we calibrate it carefully). The latter, we’ve placed our temperature sensors to test. And we’re also set up reading the electricity meter, and taking photos of the gas meter, plus we’ve set out some air temperature sensors (including outdoors). I think that’s pretty much our whole bag of tricks!

We don’t plan to leave stuff up long, but while it’s there, here’s some reassurance that some of the kit is working. Here are the feeds from sensors placed at the bottom of four radiators in the nave – usually at the midpoint, but for the one furthest southeast, at the return end of the radiator. The radiators are labelled with 1 at the back (west), counting towards the altar, on the north and south sides.  North 4 is roughly half the size of the others – 3 kW instead of 6.

And here are the ones for the tops, with again, the feed end of the top of the same radiator.

At least, we’re assuming we have top and bottom the right way round!  We can test that when we take them down as long as we remember to put stickers on the sensors that were on the top; all it takes is dumping that set in a nice hot cup of tea.  Without a temperature difference, there’s no easy way of knowing on this equipment; we just chose at top whichever was reading higher when we happened to label them as preparation for making graphs.

For completeness, here’s the temperature readings across one radiator.

These graphs will look very boring until Sunday, and then they should perk up considerably. Until then…

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