Posts

When to Plan for Water Boiler and Chiller Upgrades

Hot Water Boilers

Aging Equipment – Hot Water Boilers

When it comes to updating or repairing the mechanical systems in your facility, timing is crucial. This is true whether you work in an office building, school, or hospital.

If a facility’s mechanical systems are functioning properly, they tend to be “out of sight, out of mind.” However, when they fail, it can cause serious issues for the operation of the facility and the people in it. That’s why it’s important to identify and plan for necessary maintenance to avoid any downtime and unnecessary disruptions.

Water Chiller and Boiler Replacement Timing

Water boilers for heating and chillers for air conditioning are two of the most common systems that fall victim to poor planning. Here’s an example I see frequently:

Let’s say you have an older water chiller that’s had regular maintenance but is nearing the end of its life. It’s early spring, and your maintenance staff informs you that the chiller won’t start up, but it’s old enough that the manufacturer no longer has available parts for repairs. So, you call your most trusted engineering partner to select a new chiller and have drawings prepared for a public or private bid project.

Your engineering partner shares the following timeline with you:

  1. Design of the chiller replacement: 4-6 weeks
  2. Bidding: 4-6 weeks
  3. Signing of contracts
  4. Delivery lead time for the chiller: 18 weeks

This means your new chiller won’t be up and running until fall. You will have spent the entire summer working on this project, and by the time it’s completed, chiller season will be over.

The same applies to a heating water boiler system. Although the lead time on boilers is typically less than chillers, if you don’t identify the need for a new boiler until it starts to get cold outside, you may have to limp through the winter on less heating capacity. Even worse, you may have to arrange for temporary heating in your facility, which can be very expensive.

Avoid Equipment Failure

The bottom line: don’t wait until your equipment fails to replace it. For heating and cooling equipment, plan to have your older boilers replaced in the summer and older chillers replaced in the winter. This will ensure the equipment is off-line and not critical to your daily operations during replacement.

Planning ahead for mechanical system upgrades will save you money and headaches in the long run. If you have questions or want to learn more about how we can help, give us a call!

Q&A Session with Charlie Wilson

Charlie_WilsonAfter signing up for an intercorporate training program in 1988 at Arlington High School, Charlie Wilson–Plumbing Designer and one of our newest Associates—spent a half day in the classroom and the other half day in an architecture and engineering office training to be an architect and draftsman. Not long after he began that job working half days, at the age of 19 and no plumbing designers to speak of in the firm, he was thrown into the plumbing role and the rest is history. Fast forward 26 years, and we sit down with Charlie to learn a little bit about him.


If you were to describe plumbing design to someone, how would you do it?
Plumbing has more to do with life safety than most people would think. Sure, I design restrooms to keep them sanitary. But I also protect people and property with fire suppression. In my past, I have literally saved lives by designing medical gas administration in operating rooms. Plumbing is pretty important. It just gets a bad reputation.

What do you do in your free time?
My cousin, Paul, and I restore and repair vintage motorcycles.  I have always ridden motorcycles and when they broke down, I just repaired them. Somehow I just started doing it for friends and then it snowballed. We now own a shop called Chemical Room Cycles. We don’t really have a storefront, it is all word of mouth and our Facebook page. After I retire from Schmidt Associates, I hope to be able to spend even more time doing it.

Charlie_motorcycles

charlie_motorcycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where did the name Chemical Room Cycles come from?
Our shop is in an old warehouse that used to run a printing press. The room we are in used to store chemicals and had a sign in there stating such. We decided to just keep the name since there was already a sign.

Have you had any other interesting jobs in your past?
In my youth, I was an amateur musician, playing the drums for several years. Later, I played the guitar and sang in bands. I kind of played on my own, a one man acoustical show. My music of choice was 70s and 80s rock and roll. I was also a karaoke dj.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I have traveled to Cartagena, Columbia, South America several times through the years. I love going to the beach, hanging out at the pool, and going to the discos at night. On one trip, I saw Mick Jagger and on another Bill Gates. Apparently celebrities like the place as much as I do.

In his free time, Charlie has two daughters—Elaine, 18, and Charlotte, 21. He and his girlfriend Cheri live downtown and love to eat dinner at Ralph’s Great Divide, listen to music at the Chatterbox, and munch on bacon cheeseburgers at the Mass Ave Pub. To learn more about Charlie, visit his profile.


Also learn about Sarah Hempstead and Tricia Smith