Sanctuary AC Update: 2/23/24

Healing Chapel Access During Lent

While the sanctuary will be closed daily throughout the hole cutting process, which is expected to end by March 15, the Healing Chapel will remain opened during normal business hours for those who wish to sit in prayer during Lent. To access the Healing Chapel please enter through the single red door, up the back steps adjacent to the sanctuary, located off the driveway. Once inside, the door straight ahead at the end of the hallway will take you directly into the Chapel. If you need assistance locating the Chapel entrance or need assistance with stairs, please call the main office number, 215-242-2055 ext. 25.

One of the freshly-cut holes in the sanctuary floor where A/C vents will be placed.

Sanctuary AC Update: FAQs

  1. Why is there blue tape on the sanctuary floor? The tape locates the floor penetrations for supply and return air. The contractor uses these as guidelines for the saw cutting
  2. Will the sanctuary be open during the week? Starting Monday 19 February the sanctuary will be closed during the day EXCEPT for the Wednesday noon service in the chapel. All work will stop during Holy Week. The sanctuary will be open from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday.
  3. How will dust be contained while the floor openings are created? Pews will be moved so that a tented scaffold can enclose the work area for each opening. Air from the tent will be filtered. At the end of the day the work area will be vacuumed and mopped. Each opening will take approximately one full day to complete.
  4. How much will it cost to operate the system? The current estimate is that the system will add an additional $3K – $4K in utility costs per year. That of course is dependent on the specifics of the weather in any year. Money has been set aside from the capital campaign to cover several years of utility costs.
  5. Will the system be noisy? No, the air handlers are below the chancel separated from the space by a very thick concrete slab which mitigates sound transmission. The units are also mounted on vibration isolators to further limit sound transfer. The ductwork will be internally insulated for both acoustical and thermal reasons. The acoustical performance will be similar to the parish hall.
  6. Why is the air coming from the floor instead of higher in the space? Fun fact, the church was originally air conditioned and some of the equipment is still in place in the crypt. At that time supply ducts were run in the crawl space and up through the walls of the sanctuary on either side of the stained-glass windows. To use the same system today would entail removing portions of the wall – both stone and wood – and removing the old ductwork to install new. The cost and disruption are both prohibitive. Fortunately for us, tremendous advances in mechanical engineering and technology over the last hundred years make it possible for us to deliver the air at floor level and provide cooling for the entire space.
  7. Will the air conditioning affect the organ? The design has been reviewed by Steve Russell our organ builder and he has approved the approach. A more consistently conditioned space throughout the year is a benefit for the instrument.