Providing guests with an enjoyable and comfortable stay is of utmost importance to staff at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, PA. Founded in 1920, the country club lies nestled in the Lehigh Valley one hour north of Philadelphia. Situated in the rolling hills of the Saucon Valley, the club’s 10,000 square-foot Weyhill Guest House operates as a historic boutique bed and breakfast, offering 12 guest rooms and a suite, and serving as a venue for corporate meetings, weddings, and other events.
The building’s heating system consisted of a boiler nearly as old as the facility itself – a 1.15 million BTU steam boiler installed in the 1950s that was deteriorating rapidly.
“The steam boiler was the first automatic heating system installed in the structure and its longevity was quite remarkable,” said Fred Kauth, HVAC technician for Saucon Valley Country Club. “It had replaced the coal-fired units and fireplaces that were in operation when the facility was previously a farm house.”
With the boiler failing, Kauth saw an opportunity to improve facility comfort, improve access to hot water and reduce energy bills. Kauth requested and reviewed several mechanical contractor company proposals and, after weighing his options based on timeline and allocated budget, chose Allentown, PA-based Dual Temp to handle the HVAC upgrade.
Tom Byrnes, director of service with Dual Temp, designed and oversaw the project.
“In addition to the steam boiler, the old system included a hot water steam bundle, an older model 600,000 BTU water heater with a 250-gallon storage tank, and air handlers with steam coils in guest rooms,” said Byrnes. “Our charge was to implement a more efficient and cost effective heating solution for the building.”
Byrnes worked closely with Brent Connolly and his team at Bath Supply in Bath, PA to help design a more efficient system for the Weyhill Guest House. Working together, they recommended installation of three Weil-McLain Evergreen® 399 boiler units.
At 96.5% AFUE, the Evergreen 399 from Weil-McLain is ideal for light commercial or large residential projects and offers simple controls, flexible functionality, and durable design. Built with contractors in mind, it’s easy to install, use, and maintain.
To complete the update, Byrnes also specified two 80-gallon Weil-McLain Aqua Plus® indirect fired water heaters and the necessary system pumps and valves.
Project Work Heats Up Amid Challenges
The HVAC upgrade project presented several logistical challenges. First, the conversion to the new unit had to occur while the Weyhill Guest House was still occupied.
“The entire installation took place while we were open for business with clients and guests staying at the house,” said Kauth. “This presented many logistical challenges such as making sure guests had hot water at all times and ensuring we didn’t interrupt meetings or other events.”
Dual Temp developed a detailed operational timeline over several weeks to ensure no disruptions took place.
Another challenge included moving equipment in and out of the building.
“The original gas-fired steam boiler was very large and had to be removed, which required a lot of manpower and effort on Dual Temp’s part,” said Kauth.
Dual Temp also engineered several modifications and enhancements to ensure optimal operation. These included installation of three-way valves and configuring the Evergreen units to designate one as primary for domestic water.
Piping changes were made to make the system more serviceable.
“We fed all of the equipment through a header and installed all new circulators,” said Byrnes. “For two existing areas that were steam we cut the coils out and replaced them with hot water coils so we could stay hydronic.”
In addition to installing and re-piping the new hot water heaters, Dual Temp ran a new hot water loop that connected all equipment and removal of the steam bundle to convert it into a dedicated hot water system with zones.
“With the automatic sequencing feature, the boilers communicate directly with one another so they sequence themselves and rotate as needed,” said Byrnes. “The units operate at the lowest rate to optimize efficiencies, a great feature of these boilers.”
Numerous Benefits Realized
The entire operation was complete and operational in just a few weeks. Kauth praised the experience with Dual Temp.
“Working together with Dual Temp was a seamless operation,” said Kauth. “We were very busy at that time with occupancy and they were very amenable to stopping work as needed to accommodate meetings or other events. It was a really great relationship and, as a result, the job was a complete success.”
With the new boilers in service, several benefits were quickly realized.
First, Kauth estimates that the facility has saved about 28% on energy expenses based on the new installation.
Additionally, the compact size of the Evergreen units has allowed them to save on floor space in the mechanical room.
According to Kauth, the new system in place also provides peace of mind.
“The set-up is completely redundant and the units modulate back and forth,” said Kauth. “The system is very reliable thus far and we haven’t experienced any faults or failures.”
And, most importantly, guest comfort is enhanced.
“The entire space is more comfortable than it has ever been,” said Kauth. “The combination of the Dual Temp effort and Weil-McLain products has restored this historic guest house to its former heating glory.”