At the Special Congregational Meeting last Sunday (6/3), the congregation voted to approve the expenditure of up to $25000 for the installation of a new primary heating system for the church.
Here is what you might want to know about why and what.
1991 Jackson and Church furnace on Left, 2008 Thermopride on Right.
1) The oil fired furnace that heats the sanctuary was installed in 1991. We have a second furnace that was installed in 2008, after the failure of the heat exchanger on the other 1991 furnace. Twenty years of operation is the normal design life of a hot air furnace.
2) Not only are the furnaces old, but so is our oil storage and delivery system. Several times per winter, on the coldest nights, when the oil draw is highest, I have to come down to the church to reset the furnaces because the pump cannot keep up. We have that system examined and tinkered with over the years, which has lessened the severity of the problem, but not eliminated it.
The oil tank is the same age as the old furnace. At about 20 years of use, the risk of leaks becomes significant. At some point, our fuel provider would require us to replace the tank.
Given these issues with the heating part of the system and the storage/deliver part of the system, we decided to update everything at once and switch to propane.
Switching to propane will save us about $1000 per year on our heating. The reason for that is that propane is only 60 percent as expensive (1.80/gal for Propane and 3.05/gal for oil) and our old furnaces operate at about 80% efficiency, while the new furnaces operate at about 95.5%. Given there are fewer BTUs per gallon in propane than in oil, we’ll need slightly more gallons of fuel at a lower cost. We’ll need approx 4200 gallons of propane versus the current approx 1400 gallons of propane and 2200 gallons of oil.
The cost of replacing both furnaces, the 27 year old furnace and the 10 year old, was only $40 more than the price quoted for for two furnaces in 2007. ($11,420). Church’s Plumbing and Heating, out of Williston, has been contracted to do the heating system work (removal of old and installation of new).
The cost of excavating and removing the old oil tank will be approximately $3500, depending on what they find underground. Ross Environmental has been contracted to do that work.
The money that the congregation voted to release last week, was realized gains off of our endowment from 2017.