For nearly 10 years now we’ve run the baptistry hire side of our business as a service to church congregations of all denominations because we think it is an important part of mission for churches.
We’ve taken a long, hard look at baptistry hire and come to the conclusion that there is a group of problems centring on sustainability.
Sustainability- transporting them to and from is dead money for the customer. Sustainability – transporting pools around by courier leads to more wear and tear on them and the need to keep making new ones. Post-Brexit, raw material costs are creeping up. Sustainability – the business. This year we carefully looked at the figures and worked out that we were barely breaking even on the hire side. And there is the sustainability of us as people – there is a lot of work in organising the logistics, packing and repacking pools, making and repairing pools, and so on and we are not getting younger.
We will carry on renting out the pools but we have formed a new way for customers to get their baptistry. With leasing, customers will pay a far lower weekly rate and not have the transport costs between hires. Nor will they have to worry about whether another church has damaged the kit as you will have complete control over the pool with you. If the liner does get damaged, we factor in one replacement liner during your lease. You will have a baptistry at your church all the time and the facilities on hand to offer baptism more often.
Leases can be for 3 or 5 year periods as you prefer. If you currently hire 3 times a year, then it would be worth your while to look at leasing. Leases are available now (speak with Ruth).
Rentals as we do them now would carry on but the cost would reflect the true cost of putting on such as service. We know that for special one off events and for particular Church circumstances a hire service will still be required, but we also know that to sustain the service in the long run we will not be able to do the work ourselves. So we are planning to pay staff to do the work and offer the service. We want to pay a real living wage and to do this our hire prices will rise from Pentecost onwards. The Apostle hire will go up to £300 plus £120 delivery, the Croydon and Galilee will hire at £235 plus £100 delivery and the Nonagon will hire at £225 plus £100 delivery.
We are redesigning the baptistry water heater, so in the New Year, this will only apply to 4.8kW heaters shown here.
With the 4.8kW heater, one element is the master and the other the slave. Both are independently earthed but the earth on the ‘slave’ flex will not work unless the master is plugged in and switched on. So, unless you have two PAT testing kits, it is important to get the correct plug.
To get an earth, the usual thing to do would be to touch the heating elements with the earth probe. The coil manufacturer advises that a contact should be sought at the base of the coil (see the photograph).
The 4.8kW water heater has two plugs and we mark the flex for the master element with a piece of black tape so you get the correct plug. Then one needs to make a test on both elements (at the base of the element). Even then, scale on the elements can give a false fail, and I have found that the ‘pencil-like’ earthing probe doesn’t get enough contact. Most kits come with an alternative ‘dog-tooth’ clamp fitting to go on the end of the earth probe.
To get at the coils, unscrew the 4 corner screws and lift out the top plate (picture 1). The coils are attached to this and should lift up with it. Use the clamp to scrape away at the scale and get a better contact.
Summary – Use the plug with black tape on flex, and get a good contact on the coil.
Building a tank in GRP is far better than in concrete and tile – for you and the user! It is cheaper in terms of getting a finished baptistry and in ongoing maintenance. Short of an occasional wash down, the GRP needs no maintenance. Whereas tiled baptistries need regrouting and their failure keeps us in business.
A fibreglass tank is also quicker to install. All it needs is a concrete pad on which to sit and the finished pool can sit on top and will take the weight of the water. And it is insulated as standard. So, savings can be made at the installation stage too.
And the filling and emptying can be as simple or complex as you wish. And as cheap or expensive as you want.
Our portable immersion water heaters will need testing periodically and many churches either have their own kit or bring in an electrician.
There are two things that need to be understood as they may lead to false fails.
When seeking for an earth, the usual thing to do would be to touch the heating elements with the earth probe. We are advised by the coil manufacturers (in the UK) that a contact should be sought at the base of the coil (see the photograph).
When it comes to plugging in the appliance for its Portable Appliance Test, the 2.4kW heaters are straight-forward as they only have one plug. The 4.8kW water heater has two plugs and it is important to get the right one. With the 4.8kW heater, one element is the master and the other the slave. The latter will not work unless the master is plugged in and switched on. On our 4.8kW heater we mark the flex for the master element with a piece of black tape so you get the correct plug. Then one needs to make a test on both elements (at the base of the element).
As a final point, any scale on the elements can give a false fail, I know a trained spark will know this but it does get forgotten. There is an article on cleaning away scale, other than just scraping and chipping a bit off.
It may seem a bit odd to be advertizing another company but bear with us! Wooden Baptistery Co make portable wooden baptistries such as the ‘Ben’s Boat‘ and we put together a kit box for each of their pools, hence us advertizing their baptistries. All their pools are handmade in the UK and a particular favourite is the wooden hexagonal because of the way it fits together without any tools. At 5′ across it is quick to fill as well making it an excellent baptistry where a church needs to set up and take down quickly.
We provide a kit for each of their pools which contains a pump, lay-flat hose pipe, base pads, insulating cover and, if ordered, a heater and a step.
Protect your pool heater! After a customer sent in their heater for its service in a flimsy cardboard box, and, unsurprisingly, it arrived cracked and bashed, we decided that the heaters need the tough crates for protection. These are the same lidded crates we use when sending out a heater in hire. These will keep the heater safe when in storage and in transit. We’ve put the prices up to cover some of the extra cost.
This applies to the 4.8kW pool heater and the 2.4kW with Control Box.
When it comes to emptying a baptistry, the most common way is to use a submersible sump pump. There are many reasons why churches go down this route. Sometimes, it is because the levels are wrong so gravity drainage isn’t an option. But it is just as common to find that the church are unwilling to have plumbing under the baptistry that they may not be able to get at and which may start leaking at some point in the future.
From the point of view of cost of the baptistry itself, it doesn’t make any difference whether a pool is drained through a plug-hole or a sump pump – it is just a minor tweak in moulding. For the church, the pump and pipe option can very often be the cheaper option. There are options when it comes to deciding where to get the pump to empty to – down a loo, down an existing drain, or down a purpose-made extension to the foulwater drain.
The picture here shows the water being pumped out to a stack (rather like the back of a washing machine) that is hidden beneath a service hatch. The same service hatch houses the valve to turn the water supply on to fill the baptistry.
For a neater look, the same camlocks that clamp the pipe to the pump, can be used at the other end to clamp the pipe to the drain. (This can also be applied to overflows too, ask about this if it is something of interest!)
If access to the underside of the baptistry and its plumbing is not easy or downright impossible, the pump and pipe method offers a low-cost, low-worry option with extremely low installation costs.
As we can mould any baptistry to suit, we can build in the drainage, filling and overflow options you’d like to see and, most times, there is no cost implication.
If you are in a hard water area of the country you will find that your heater elements will become coated with limescale during use. As the limescale gets thicker it will take more time and electricity to heat your baptistery. There are 3 ways of tackling this but they differ a little depending on which heater you have.
Remove 4 corner screws on the lid and carefully chip away the lime scale from the elements. In most cases this will come away quite easily.
Off-the-shelf products such as Killrock (or any other product used for de-scaling kettles). Again remove the 4 corner screws from the heater lid. For the 2.4 heater, slide the lid up the cable out of the way, mix de-scaler using manufacturer’s instructions. Put mixture in a bowl just deep enough to cover the element when heater is stood on its end. Make sure only the element is in the mixture. It will not hurt the plastic box, which will have to be partly immersed too.
For the 4.8 you will need a shallow container with at least one straight side as once you have removed the lower part of the box containing the elements, the elements will have to be immersed without touching any other components. The descaler is mixed as above.
When the limescale touches the mixture it will usually fizz for a while it’s doing its business.
Other remdies use household items such as vinegar. Whilst you could use an equal part solution of water and household vinegar, you will need a lot of it, as you’ll see. Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water and stand the elements in it for an hour. Then heat the solution with the heater. The heater needs to be covered by 10cm of liquid to ensure it is not damaged, so you will have to mix up large amount of vinegar and water.
Only attempt the descaling if you feel confident. If not go to option 3
You could combine service and de-scale as it does not cost a lot and extends the life of the heater.
Our number is 0345 230 1381. This rings to all our offices simultaneously and you will be able to contact us in office hours. Very occasionally, customers are ringing a geographical number (starting 01274), possibly because their handset displayed that number instead of the 0345 number.
If you ring this geographical landline number, there is a very high chance you will not get an answer or, if you leave a voicemail, your message is never collected.
0345 numbers are mobile-friendly and cost the same as a the geographical 01274 number.
Fibreglass (GRP) is such a wonderfully adaptable material for use in building, architecture and engineering. If you would like sheets of brickwork to give you the look of a brick wall quickly and cheaply (and without the weight!), then we can help. These can be supplied either as sheets or made up as walls (pictured). We also make sheets of fibreglass tiles so you can tile whole walls in minutes. Painted wood effect panels is another favourite!
We can also incorporate metal-effect films into the GRP allowing us to make signs or plaques (or whatever takes your fancy!) that appear to be brass or bronze, for example.