When we first purchased the hotel three years ago, we set out upgrading some of the key systems. Before we opened our doors for the first guest, we had replaced our hot water mixing valve with one that is thermostatically controlled and certified for commercial/hospitality use, and installed a testable back flow prevention device between us and the city main line. We replaced the main heating pump with a smart, energy saving “Magna3” model from Grundfos. For additional energy savings and less wasted water, we installed a hot water re-circulation system. When you turn on the hot water, no water is wasted running down the drain while you wait for it to get warm, because it is hot instantly. Lastly we ensured the electrical circuits of the hotel were balanced and that no one power leg drew more than the other. In short, we spent a considerable amount of time making sure the systems were efficient and reliable.
I read an article this morning about a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in a hospital and hotel in New York City – with two deaths so far. Legionnaires disease is caused when a property (usually health care or hospitality) keeps their hot water at a temperature below a certain level, which allows the bacteria to grow. Once this bacteria is in the water pipes, it’s very difficult to get out. The easiest way to combat this is to keep your hot water storage at above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, however that is obviously too hot for hot tap or shower water. The mixing device we installed mixes a little bit of cold water with the hot water as it comes out of our hot water tanks to get it down to a more ideal 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows us to store our water at nearly 160 degrees, ensuring the water is clean and safe. The other thing the valve does is ensure that if there is a problem with the cold water feed pressure, it will stop water flow, ensuring that the extra hot stored water doesn’t flow directly to a faucet or shower.
These system upgrades were expensive, but necessary; the safety of our guests is a primary concern.