Here is the June Update on the organ remodel. Vestry has authorized the contract for HVAC. We were anticipating $50,000 to $60,000. We brought the price down to $37,000. The original plan called for HVAC (heat, ventilation, & air conditioning) in an isolated unit inside the organ chamber. The idea was to install a thermal barrier in the form of a curtain that would close off the organ chamber window (see photo) from the sanctuary. The heat or AC would run inside the chamber 24/7 all year long with humidification control. The thermal barrier would be opened for worship, which is basically Sunday mornings.
The advantage of this plan was to prolong the life of the organ with conditioned air and maintain the tuning with a constant temperature. Over the years, the extreme cold and heat in the chamber damaged instrument. The dry relative humidity in the winter months wore out the leather that holds the pipes. Well, the mechanical engineers have determined we don’t “need” a thermal barrier. What we really need is insulation on three exterior walls and the ceiling of the chamber. We need new radiators with adequate heat. Then we can maintain a reasonable temperature with the open window to the sanctuary. The organ will stay in tune as long as the extreme cold in the winter is avoided.
Another thought was to provide humidification in the entire sanctuary through the dry winter months. Mechanically, this was rather simple. The AC blower would run and water could be supplied to the system. Economically, this was expensive because the furnace and the AC blower are both powered throughout the winter. The best way to save money is turn the machines off, or down, not up and on. Relative humidity is healthy for the leather components of the organ. However, it is not healthy for the sanctuary. We have single pane windows. They will ice up all winter. Over time, the windows, including the stained glass will deteriorate. Like the organ chamber, the sanctuary has zero insulation in the walls. There is no moisture barrier behind the plaster. The moisture in the air will travel through the paint, through the plaster, and into the brick. The moisture will continue through the walls until it reaches a barrier that stops it. That would be freezing temperature. When moisture freezes, it expands. The point here is the building is at risk if we supply moisture to the sanctuary, because the moisture will make its way to the exterior brick and mortar where it will freeze from the inside. Over time, we will destroy the brick and mortar. The organ is designed to last one hundred years. The building will not last that long if we supply humidity without a moisture barrier. It means a full remodel of the sanctuary walls and windows to go that route.
Will the lack of humidity hurt the leather on the organ? Yes. The lifespan of the leather may drop from 50 years to 30 years. The leather can be replaced. And a remodel of the sanctuary can be revisited by a future generation.
So, the scope of the new general contractor has five categories: 1) Demo of existing equipment in the chamber. 2) Install new radiators along three walls of the chamber. The water will be supplied from the existing furnace. 3) Install new electrical supply and lighting in the chamber. 4) Install new insulation (with a moisture barrier), drywall, and paint in the chamber. And 5) Raise the pit. The keyboard console will sit on the same grade as the chancel floor. The console will rest on wheels. It can be moved out into the chancel for organ recitals.
Timing. The contractor has order the parts (radiators). This will take four to seven weeks for delivery. Then they have to be installed. The rest of the work can happen in the meantime. This means we are roughly two months away from Muller Organ returning with our new instrument. They may install the instrument in August, depending on their schedule.
We are very excited and grateful for everyone who contributed to the capital campaign. Thank you for your generous support. We are almost done.