Timer for Thermostat

At the 2022 Convention in Redding, Resolution R1-22, with the goal to reduce carbon consumption for all churches within the Diocese, was approved.  This article will describe what Grace Episcopal Church in Wheatland has done to help achieve this goal.

In February 2023, after receiving a significantly higher utility bill, we added a timer to the thermostat circuit for the church’s office and gathering areas.

Before we installed the timer, the first person arriving would slide the thermostat’s system switch from Off to Cool or Heat.   With the thermostat already set to a comfortable temperature, this turned on either the gas heater or the electric AC.  Fortunately, it does not take long for the temperature in these areas to reach the desired temperature.

When the use of the areas was over, the switch was supposed to be moved to the Off position.  It rarely happened, but sometimes the switch remained in either the Cool or Heat position.  When that happened, the areas were heated or cooled 24/7 for days at a time with nobody there, resulting in a much higher utility bill.

Timers are available for less than $20.  A member of our congregation, Ryan Nelson, eagerly accepted the challenge of purchasing and installing the timer.  It took him only about an hour to install.  The timer worked perfectly the first time it was used.  By eliminating the chance of failing to turn the thermostat off just one time will more than pay for the cost of the timer.  In the photo, Ryan is pointing to his handywork.  Ryan is willing to assist other churches within the Diocese that may want to install this energy saving device.

Grace church has another building in Wheatland.  The name of this building is Pioneer Memorial Hall.  It was built in 1914 and is in excellent condition.  This building is used for many special events and as a meeting place for several local service clubs.  The building is part of Grace Church’s outreach program.

A few years ago, just before the pandemic, the hall’s water heater was replaced with an on-demand water heater.  While considerably pricier to install, this water heater operates only if a hot-water faucet is turned on, and it only heats the amount of water actually needed.  The old water heater operated 24/7 keeping at least 40 gallons of water hot.  There is no difference in time for hot water to reach a faucet.

Over time, the on-demand water heater will pay for itself by greatly reducing the energy consumption used by the hall.  This was definitely the case during the pandemic when the hall was closed for all use for over a year.  The hall now consumes zero energy to keep water hot.

Martin Heatlie

Jr. Warden

Grace Episcopal Church, Wheatland