Commercial Boilers & Plant Room Upgrade
Date of Project: September 2019
Grafton Lodge Care Home
OKEL were invited in August 2019 to complete a heating site survey at Grafton Lodge, a care facility which is home to 35 elderly residents and run by Sandwell Community Caring Trust.
At the time of OKEL’s survey, it was identified that the heating and hot water facility was supplied by 2 now obsolete Potterton Warwick commercial boilers, manufactured in 1989 and therefore 30+ years in age.
OKEL estimated that the boilers were 60% efficient, resulting in approximately 40% of wasted energy usage and associated energy costs, proving to be extremely costly to run when considering the nature of the business and the boilers having to operate 24/7.
Maintenance and repairs to the boilers were also becoming costly and spare components becoming difficult to source due to the boiler model now being obsolete and parts for it no longer being produced. It’s worth highlighting that delays in sourcing of spare components for obsolete boilers can increase the risks of lengthy periods without heating or hot water.
OKEL chose to replace the current boilers with 3 x high efficiency ATAG XL140 commercial boilers chosen specifically for their excellent efficiencies (99.3% gross efficiency) and excellent high-quality components.
The replacement boilers were to provide heating to all areas of the care home and supply the 2 existing hot water storage vessels which were to remain in situ in the boiler room.
To ensure the new boiler system achieved maximum efficiency for our client new thermostat controls were introduced as part of the project.
Due to the age of the inherent pipework in situ OKEL strongly advised against pressurising the wet central heating system with the new boilers as pressurisation of the system may expose weaker areas of pipe or fitting to additional stressors resulting in leaks and loss of system pressure.
Rather than pressurising the system OKEL’s design incorporated the introduction of a plated heat exchanger to account for the difference in pressure between the boilers and the inherent pipe work.
A plate heat exchanger can be fitted to provide a barrier between the dirty system water and the clean boiler water. As the water in the system and the water in the boiler are kept separate from each other, this protects the boiler from the particulates which build up over time, reducing wear and tear.
Prior to the installations detailed risk assessments and method statements were forwarded to our client for approval and sign off.
The installation took place over a 2 week period and due to the nature of our client’s business it was imperative that any periods without heating and hot water were kept to an absolute minimum so not to affect the elderly residents. To support this requirement OKEL’s engineers ensured that one of the original Potterton boilers was to remain in situ and fully operational right up until the time of switch over to the new boiler system and only then was the Potterton boiler able to be decommissioned and removed from site. Staff were notified in advance of our engineers proposed time for the switching over from the old to new boiler system to ensure it was a convenient time for the staff and didn’t interfere with any planned activities.
To complete our client’s project electronic copies of Gas Safe and NICEIC certification was forwarded to our client along with user guides for the boiler’s controls.