In the classic horror novel “The Shining,” Jack Torrance, caretaker of an aging Rocky Mountain hotel, makes repeated visits to the basement to address the rumbles and groans of a monstrous, old hot-water boiler. The book was inspired by author Stephen King’s stay at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., which, until a few years ago, dealt with an inefficient hot-water boiler that was more than 30 years old.

The inefficient performance of the boiler created a variety of problems, such as high utility bills and complaints from guests about long waits for hot water, in the five-story, 140-room hotel. In 2007, the hotel began the long process of implementing a new, more modern, and more efficient heating and hot-water system featuring eight Rinnai condensing boilers and 12 Rinnai tankless water heaters. Rinnai provided on-site engineering and technical support. To help with installation, Rinnai recommended mechanical contractor Chambers Plumbing and Heating Inc. of Loveland, Colo.

Chambers arrived in September 2010 and helped coordinate communication between the hotel, the City of Estes, and the state boiler inspector. As planned, Chambers replaced the Rinnai field-test units with new ASME-rated Rinnai condensing boilers.

“We were in very tight quarters, so disassembling the mounting rack and getting the old manifolds out to retrofit them for the new boilers was quite a challenge,” David Lohnes, president of Chambers Plumbing and Heating, said. “We basically had the space left from the earlier removal of the main hot-water boiler to work in, and the backup hot-water boiler next to it was about the size of a Volkswagen. We isolated that boiler, removed all the piping, and capped it off. The hotel engineering staff planned to disassemble and remove it after we left.”

After modification of the boiler manifolds was complete, the new boilers were installed.

“Shortly before the installation of our condensing-boiler system, both the main and backup hot-water boilers were not operational during a spring blizzard, leaving the hotel without heat for 53 hours,” Kevin York, business-development manager for Rinnai, said. “The hotel won’t have that problem any more, though, with the redundancy of the new system. As opposed to having one single backup boiler that could fail, it now has eight boilers modulating in sequence. If one goes down, you’ll still have heat. If two go down, you’ll still have heat.”

Chambers next focused on venting runs for the boilers and the 12 Rinnai tankless water heaters installed two years before.

“The venting and the air intake of the boilers were actually too close together when we got there and also too close to the venting for all the tankless water heaters,” Lohnes said. “We had to reinstall the boilers’ air intake and venting. We went through the back wall for the air intake and out the roof for venting. This separation ensured we didn’t have a cross-ventilation issue. The tankless water heaters went straight up to the roof individually via concentric venting. The crew had to raise and lower some of the water heaters to get them in the proper location.”

Chambers finished the job well in advance of the winter heating season. Afterward, Rinnai provided on-site training to the hotel’s engineering staff.

“We replaced ancient heating technology with state-of-the-art, new heating technology and got their staff transitioned into the proper care of the new system,” York said. “They’ve seen a dramatic reduction in energy consumption with the new system, and they have been very pleased.”

 

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