Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER IX.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CARETAKER.

Before proceeding to sum up the recommendations given in the preceding pages, and to set forth other duties devolving upon the caretaker, it may be well to point out some of the responsibilities resting upon the shoulders of the managers. It is a well-worn axiom that "neither men nor fools can work without tools," and it is incumbent upon the managers to see that all the appliances for ventilating and heating should be as workable as possible. If the caretaker has discovered from experience that the roof of the building is top heavy, and down draughts are pronounced in winter, due regard should be paid to the discovery; and, for the sake of the reduced coal and gas bills, it will be advisable to see that the outlet spaces are curtailed, even if the comfort of the audience does not demand it. If the caretaker has not sufficient knowledge to determine exactly what is wrong, and it can scarcely be expected that he has, it will pay to have expert advice upon the matter. In any case, if the ventilation of the building is upset by the outlet spaces being too large for winter use, the caretaker is not to blame if he cannot heat the walls so as to give comfort to those sitting near them, or keep the coal bill as low as may be expected of him. From experience, it has been found that a very large proportion of churches can only be partially heated for the Sunday services in cold weather, even if the fire is lighted on Saturday morning; and, in nine cases out of ten, the reason is that there is no provision made for regulating the outlets, and keeping them under control. The caretaker is helpless under the circumstances.

One of the managers ought to understand the situation, and learn the nature of the appliances in use. It is to be feared that the general superintendence of the ventilation and heating is left entirely in the hands of the caretaker, and he has to go on blundering, or, what generally happens, do his best with very imperfect appliances. There ought to be some one in authority possessing sufficient physical knowledge to understand how things are going, and who by reason of that knowledge, is in a position to advise the caretaker as to what is best to be done. In other words, one of the managers should make a study of the ventilation and heating of the building in order that he may be able to instruct the caretaker. Reference is made principally to those managers who have to do with buildings where religious worship is held, and there is no doubt it is these which require most attention, because they are more in number, and used more frequently than other halls and some public buildings. Large concert halls and theatres ought to have some one with sufficient physical knowledge to look after the ventilating and heating, whose remuneration would naturally be greater than that usually given to the caretakers of churches.

One of the reasons which induced the author to recommend that a churchwarden or deacon, as the case may be, of a church should master the ventilating and heating, was because experience has shown that the greater number of those in control of the building act as would-be instructors, whilst, in the majority of instances, they know little or nothing about the matter. It is a good plan for the managers to select one of their number who is best qualified to act as superintendent of the ventilating and heating—the others leaving matters solely in his hands. This individual should make himself thoroughly acquainted with the duties of his office, and inspect the inlets, outlets, etc., with the caretaker to see that all is in working order, and listen patiently to what he has to say, giving him all the help possible. Nothing is so discouraging to the caretaker as to have half a dozen or more in authority grumbling at him on account of the draughts, or the heat being insufficient, or too much. If one is left in command, this can be avoided, and any complaints made to a sidesman or seat steward should be passed on to the superintendent, who in turn would acquaint the caretaker if he thought fit. The author has met with many caretakers, some of whom were thinking men of high intelligence, who have simply given up using their wits on account of being made a target against which every seatholder thought he had a right to lodge his complaint. If some of the managers who pinned their faith to self-acting ventilators and other contrivances which have similar claims, could only understand how much thought and care and trouble were expended by the caretaker in striving to do his utmost under the circumstances, they would realise how misleading is the idea that with the best appliances ever furnished, all the caretaker has to do is to "Pull a lever when fresh air and perfect ventilation will come into play at once ". There is no self-acting, nor will there ever be a self-acting system of ventilation. It will require all the sympathy and assistance of the manager, all the ability and knowledge he can command, and all the most approved appliances to enable the caretaker to keep the building in a satisfactory condition.

At the present time the caretakers are usually furnished with thermometers for determining the temperature inside the building, and they consult these to see how the heating is going on. Every superintendent should see that a good thermometer is provided for taking the temperature outside the building, and it would also improve matters considerably jf he kept a short record of what was done to the inlets and outlets each Sunday. This is rarely if ever attempted, and the consequence is that the caretaker is left to make a hit or miss attempt each time an audience assembles, and'to open the inlets and outlets as he thinks best. If the temperature outside the building was taken first, and a note made showing how open or shut each ventilator should be at that temperature, then the ventilating of the building could be regulated methodically, and no longer left to chance as it is to-day. The ropes which close the valves of the ventilators should be attached to an arrangement which will admit of the ventilators being regulated with exactness and precision, and, with this provision and a thermometer for taking the outside temperature, the superintendent or the caretaker could soon make a table showing how the valves of the ventilators should stand according to the temperature of the air outside. If the superintendent compiled such a table of instructions, he might reasonably expect the caretaker to read the thermometer and regulate the ventilators accordingly.

The Caretaker.—His first thought should be directed to the exterior of the building, the influence of the winds, and of other buildings adjoining upon the ventilating and heating of that which he has to control. He should try to answer such questions as these. What is the position of the building? Does the main entrance face west or otherwise? From what quarter do the prevailing winds blow, and how will these strike the building? Is any portion of the structure sheltered from these winds, and if so what will be the results? At what angle to the ridge of the main roof do the prevailing winds blow, and how will they affect the ventilators on the roof? When the prevailing winds are blowing, will they cause reduced or increased pressure upon the air inlets and outlets? How will the window openings be affected by these winds? The wind blows from the east, from the west, from the north, or from the south, how will it affect the ventilators in each case? How does the sun affect the building, and how can the extra heat upon one part be used to create a current of air inside the structure in the summer? What window openings will be best to use for ventilating by the assistance of the sun? How should the windows be opened so as to use the full power of the wind in summer? Is the building in an exposed position, upon cross roads, or otherwise? Can the position be made use of to assist ventilation either in summer or in winter? All these considerations are worthy of close study if the caretaker is going to master the subject as well as the work in hand. A thread of silk, a lighted match or taper, applied to the gratings or other openings will help greatly to reveal the action or suction of the wind, and enable the caretaker to answer some of the foregoing questions.

The next consideration is the condition of the inlets, if there are any, near the ground level. Are these clean and open? Are they all cold air inlets? Is it possible to so direct the air currents that the cold air inlets may be kept open? Can any air be let in through the cracks in the floor from underneath? Is there any other means of admitting the air near the ground level without causing cold feet? Does any ready and easy means of warming and admitting some fresh air into the building occur to you? For instance, is there a vestry with a fire, having a window through which air can come in, be partially warmed, and then passed into the assembly hall by leaving the door a little open? By trying to answer such questions as these, thought will be stimulated and some benefit will be sure to result in many of the buildings now so imperfectly ventilated.

If no thermometer has been supplied for taking the temperature of the air outside, the caretaker should lose no time in asking for one, or for one of the instruments which show the difference in pressure between the air inside and outside the building, and at the same time give the tempera

« AnteriorContinuar »