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Baptistry Water Care

Baptistry Water Care

Can we leave water in our baptistry? How do we keep our baptistry water clean and clear? Is it okay to use
chemicals in our baptistry or will this damage the fiberglass? We get these questions a lot.Read below for answers to some of the more
common questions about leaving water in your church baptistry.

 "Is it okay to leave water in our baptistry?"  Here is what our expert has to
say:


Fiberglass church baptistries can be affected by long term
  exposure to water. Water can seep under the top layer of the fiberglass and
  leave moisture in the fiberglass. Eventually, this moisture will cause blistering, just
  like on the bottom of a fiberglass boat. You will be faced with the prospect
  of having to resurface or replace the baptistry.

Another issue is algae and bacteria.
Both algae and bacteria can grow quickly in baptistry water. Not only can these represent a
health hazard, but the growth of algae and bacteria, if left unchecked, can cause blistering and
spotting on the baptistry walls.


"So what should a church do with the baptistry when
it's not being used?"

We recommend draining the baptistry immediately following the
  service and allowing it to dry thorougly (a week or two) before filling it
  again. Generally, you don't want to leave water in a baptistry for more than
  three days. Fill it on Friday, turn the heater on on Saturday afternoon and drain
  it Sunday after service. Use a clean towel to wipe down the sides and bottom
  and to mop up any standing water left around the drain. If you really want to
  do it right, use a good quality fiberglass cleaner and a quality
  fiberglass car or boat wax and apply once or twice a year (depending on
  how much usage your baptistry gets).

Caution: Don't use strong detergents or anything that is caustic or to clean your baptistry. You 
 also want to stay away from cleaners that might scratch the fiberglass (Comet, etc.) Using any of these cleaners
will usually automatically void your warranty. If you don't properly clean your baptistry, you can cause problems with decomposition of the
  resins used in the fiberglass and may be considered misuse and voiding any  factory warranties



If you plan on Leaving water in the baptistry:


"We need to use our baptistry every week, or more
frequently than just 3-4 times per year; what should we look for in a new
baptistry system? What happens if we DO leave water in the baptistry? Are there
steps we can take to protect the baptistry?"


There are two considerations.

Your first consideration is the baptistry and protection of the fiberglass
  surface. If you plan on leaving water in your baptistry for an extended period
  of time, then you should order a baptistry with our AquaGuard or WaterGuard gel coat finish.
  The cost is about 25% higher, but you get a 5 year warranty against
  surface problems caused by the constant presence of water in the baptistry.
  Not all of our baptistries can be made with the AquaGuard finish, so you need
  to make sure and choose one that offers the AquaGuard as an option.

Your second consideration is in keeping the water sanitized and cleaned.
  After use, your baptistry water will have dirt, hair, debris, etc. in it.
  Also, the water will begin to grow algae and bacteria if not properly treated.
  You do NOT want to use standard chlorine pool or spa chemicals on a fiberglass baptistry.
  Spas are made differently and have a surface that will stand up to chemicals;
  whereas baptistries should utilize either a non-chemical, two step approach to water
  treatment or a carefully selected chemical treatment method.(see below)

#1 Clean (filter) the water

#2 Sanitize (kill germs and algae) the water


 

To clean your baptistry water, we sell a good quality cartridge filter and skimmer that
  should be installed in-line with the heater/pump system. The filter will
  remove dirt and debris from the water and will also help extend the life
  of your heater element.

 

For baptistry water sanitization, we offer a UV
  (ultra-violet) light sanitizer that kills most of the bacteria in the water
  and will help to keep it clean and sanitary. The sanitizer is installed in
  line with the water circulation system and as water is pumped past the UV
  light, micro-organisms are affected by the UV light and die.

As an added precaution, you may want to consider testing your water for micro-organisms
  periodically. Since no mechanical, or non-chemical treatment method is
  perfect, you may need to supplement your mechanical sanitizing methods with
  occasional chemical treatment.

What chemicals should we use to treat and sanitize our baptismal pool water?

Some churches elect to treat their baptismal pool water with chemicals as an adjunct to UV
treatment or as a stand alone treatment. If you decide to use chemicals, here are some things to know:

You should be aware that not all pool or spa chemicals are suitable for use with a fiberglass baptistry. Make sure whatever
  treatment you use is guaranteed by the manufacturer to be safe for use
  with polyester resins. Many churches use chlorine-free oxidizers, and bio-film
dispersers.

Baquacil CDX System is one alternative and includes a 3 step system to
to keep water sanitary

  1. Sanitize with Baquacil Sanitizer and Algistat
  2. Oxidize with Baquacil oxidizer
  3. Maintain oxidizer residual and water clarity with Baquacil CDX

 

The Baquacil Standard System may also be used and is as follows:

  1. Sanitize with Baquacil Sanitizer and Algistat
  2. Oxidize with Baquacil oxidizer
  3. Prevent algae with Baquacil Algicide

Which treatment you use will depend on the individual system and your specific requirements. Consult
with your chemical dealer to make the right decision.

Baptistry Water Testing

Most pool supply stores will test your water at no charge. This invloves filling a clean
container with about 6 oz of water and taking it to your pool store for a check. They can advise
of the required chemcials, just be sure to tell them it's for a fiberglass baptistry and you cannot use
chlorine and that the chemcials need ot be approved for use with fiberglass resins. It's important to keep on
top of your water and not let it get cloudy or green before you decide to treat it. It's much better and less
expensive to maintain good water than to react to bad water quality.

 

As a note: the use of chemicals will most likely void
  your baptistry warranty, but that may just be the price you have to pay if you
  want to keep water in your baptistry for extended periods. I personally would
  be more concerned with the health of the candidates than with the longetivity
  of the baptistry. How often to use chemicals really depends on each
  church's unique situation, but you could check with your local county
  extension office or a local university/school lab for testing and
  suggestions.


 

4 Additional Considerations


  
  1. For the filter and UV sanitizer to work properly, water has to be
        circulated through them regularly.
       
  2. By leaving water in the baptistry, you will notice a drop in the water
        level due to evaporation.
       
  3. Most baptistry heaters/pumps are not designed to regularly
        (long-term) circulate water thru a filter and sanitizer. They are
        really just for heating the water. 
       
  4. Your Pastor has better things to do than add water to the baptistry and turn
        the pump on to circulate water thu the filter and UV sanitizer. By selecting an automatic
    system, you will make everybody's life much easier.

 

The solution to the above quandry is:

You will want an  Automatic Baptistry Heater pump system that periodically circulates the water
  through the filter and sanitizer, and that detects a drop in water level and adds water as needed,
to maintain the proper water level.

Our S-5 - EQAS Automatic Baptistery Heating System 5.5kw is a great solution if you plan on leaving water in the baptistry.

To sum things up on how to keep your baptistry water clean, clear and safe:

Infrequent use (3-4 times a year) of baptistry


     
  • Drain after use, wipe down and allow to dry at least a week
      between fillings

     
  • Don't leave water in pool longer than 3 days
     
  • Clean and Wax your baptistry once or twice a year
     
  • A regular (manual) baptistry heating & circulation system is
      fine

Frequent Use and or Continuously filled Baptistry


     
  • Order a baptistry with AquaGuard coating
     
  • Get a fully automatic heater/pump/fill system
      that circulates the water regularly

     
  • Add a filter unit to clean the water
     
  • Add a UV sanitizer to disinfect the water and/or use a non-chlorine chemical
    treatment system as outlined above

     
  • Regularly have your water tested, or purchase a water testing kit from a pool supply store

 


Baptistry Safety -If You Read Nothing Else, Read This!


As a child, we loved to play hide and seek when we were at church,
the building was so large and there were really great hiding spots. We
would often end up in the sanctuary, when all the adults were gone and the lights were
off. Our parent's were off working in the nursery or singing in the choir room
(and this was the 70's when kids were allowed more freedom to roam). The
baptistry was a really fun place to play. You see where I am going with
this...


You should treat a filled baptistry as you would treat a swimming
pool. It is a hazard to children. You need to erect and maintain barricades to
entry to the baptistry area, from both the sanctuary, as well as from the
candidate entrances. For liability purposes, we cannot tell you what to do other
than to alert you to the fact that there are national codes that govern swimming
pool safety and numerous local codes that may be in place. You should be aware
of these codes and check with your insurance provider for additional
recommendations. We can also tell you a few things that other churches are doing
that may or may not be appropriate for your installation



     
  • Locking doors with strict controls on access (but allow for adults
      to access the pool in an emergency- don't allow a child to be locked in the
      baptistry)

     
  • Self closing gates with pool latches
     
  • Hard surface pool covers that can't be removed by kids
     
  • Make sure the upper level of the baptistry window or front is high
      enough so kids can't cimb over using readily available furniture (choir
      chairs?)

     
  • Posting of signage warning of the danger of drowning to alert
      adults and older kids not to prop open doors, etc.

     
  • Post CPR signs near baptistry entry
     
  • Pool alarms can be good backups, but do NOT rely on these as your
      first line of defense-they may malfunction or there might not be anyone around
      to hear the alarm

 

  • Caution: Electrical outlets should be at
      least 10 ft from your baptistry or as required by code. Under no circumstances
      should anyone in a baptistry touch a microphone or other electric device when
      in the water.


By treating your baptistry and the water in the above manner, you are
going a long way towards keeping your water clean and healthy, protecting your
baptistry and protecting the health of your congregation.

 

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