Readers of Grange Notes will know that know that we’ve gotten the help of a very experienced HVAC technician, Bill Chidsey, who showed up at a Grange meeting at just the right time. He has proven a fount of good information and carefully considered ideas. He has now replaced the burner on the furnace , instead of us having to replace the entire furnace. He’s also installed a digital, programmable thermostat, which will warm up the building in the winter before a rental, and then turn down the heat afterward, instead of relying on our fallible memories. And we can even monitor the furnace and heat via the Wi-Fi connection! Total cost of the work was under $1,000, and should save us fuel-bills through improved burner efficiency, and better, more reliable controls.
Now that we’ve had our summer hiatus, we’ll begin our usual 1st Saturday meetings on Sept. 6th. We’ll be reviewing the busy summer of sign and furnace work, and looking ahead to the Friends basement projects, recent recipients of a grant. We’ll also be welcoming a new member with a short “initiation” ceremony.
At a special Grange meeting on Aug. 2nd, we got a report from a new member of our Grange community, Bill Chidsey, on his investigations into our heating system. Bill has 40 years of experience in HVAC (heating/ventilating/air conditioning), with a specialization in increasing energy efficiency. He has surveyed the existing furnace and burner, the ductwork and heating distribution system, and the construction and insulation levels of our Grange Hall.
We have lots of things to do to improve our heating efficiency, but we don’t have to start with a new furnace. Bill has a couple of immediate recommendations for making improvements: replace the burner (not the whole furnace) with a more modern, more efficient one (85 % compared to 76%), and install a programmable, digital thermostat. The new thermostat will automatically warm up the Hall before renters arrive, and turn it down when they leave. There will be provisions for short-term changes, but the basic schedule will be maintained–and the thermostat will never be left turned up. He expects that with these two improvements, we will save about a tank of oil every year–which is about $900 or $1000.
Over the longer term, we need to keep making improvements. We have some obvious needs, like sealing the visible gaps around the entrance doors on the south end, the older entrance. We also have less obvious needs–like improving the heating ducts that bring the heat around the building, and return the cooled off air to the furnace to be heated. We can improve overall air-sealing, and improve insulation–especially around the poured-concrete foundation. All of these will improve the efficiency of the whole building, and will reduce the size of the furnace we need–when we finally are ready to do so.
We are grateful that Bill has joined us in this effort, and have agreed to hire him to install the new burner and thermostat. He is confident that the furnace, with a new burner installed and correctly adjusted, will work for us while we make the other improvements. He started on Monday, Aug. 11th, and we’ll have a noticeably improved furnace and control system well before the heating season starts. Once again, the Grange thrives when people pitch in, and we all benefit.
Who is there who can join me to finish digging the trench (about 90 feet) and laying conduit? Give me a call or send an email! –Tim
Great progress has been made on the trench and conduit needed to bring power from the building to the site of our new sign. A crew of volunteers joined me on Sunday, August 3rd to get started, and indefatigable Lewis Neill continued the work during last week.
We’ve got 2 runs of conduit buried at least 18″ deep, from the corner of the building, across the driveway next to the building, and down the slope to the driveway from the road. Our crew on Sunday accomplished this much–many thanks to Alison and Andy Forrest, Stephen Wright and Kevin Taft! Then over the next couple of days, Lewis continued the trench and conduit across the lower driveway and began coming down the west side.
We are still working on the design and planning for the new sign, but this work gives us a big step forward. And it’s affordable–I did get a quote from a dance community member with a Kubota tractor with a trenching bucket–but it would cost about $600 just to complete the run to the new sign location, money we don’t have. We’ll rely on “sweat equity” to get this project done–see my invitation in the adjoining column.