Effects of shutting off heating for winter

Q. We are thinking about shutting the heat off completely in the church auditorium for the winter. Would the below-freezing cold affect our old leaded stained-glass windows as well as the rubber tile which covers the floor? Pat Vacante Weehawken, N.J.

A. Our consultant says that if there is a prolonged period of below-normal temperature, the molecular structure of the glass could be affected. In other words, the structural life of the glass may be shortened to the point where each glass light could become brittle before its time.

The consultant, who was brought up in Philadelphia, says that historically the weather should not pose that serious a problem. He says he believes that a sudden and drastic change in the temperature could very easily do more damage to the glass than a prolonged low-temperature atmosphere.

As to the cold damaging the rubber tile, that is not too likely.

We do, however, question the advisability of turning the heat off entirely in any dwelling in a cold climate. We would think it better to keep the heat on at a minimum temperature so as to generally preserve the integrity of the building and all of its components.

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