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Laundromat - Replacing Two Boilers with Two Lochinvar Commercial Water Heaters (?)

JamesDJamesD Posts: 7Member
edited September 2016 in Domestic Hot Water
We are looking at taking over a laundromat that old owner let run into ground. We didn't think things were that bad until we looked at the two boilers in the back of the building. We reached the original business owner of location before he later sold it and the person he sold business to ran the business into the ground. He said the boilers were used just to generate hot water and not for heating the space the business occupies. We emailed the state boiler inspector who left his business card on one of the boilers and sent him the photos posted here; he recommended changing out the boilers. A Lochinvar sales person happen to be passing by and we brought him to look at the boilers and he suggested the same thing. He pointed out the boiler on right was turned off and we assumed that machine was dead. He took a look at the number of washers in the business and recommended either two of the Lochinvar Shield water heater with built in water tank or two of the Lochinvar Armor X2 water heater with exterior water tank. Probably common sense, if not my gut tells us to replace the boilers. The Lochinvar sales person provided good insight and information; any different brands we should looks at or any other advice provided would be appreciated. Thank you!

Left Boiler:


Right Boiler:

Comments

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,537Member
    Are those steam boilers with hot water insert coils?
    What does heat the building then?
  • JamesDJamesD Posts: 7Member
    The original owner mentioned coils, and that it would be a good idea to remove them and have cleaned out. The building is heated by some other system owned by the landlord that heats other units in strip mall where business is located.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,787Member
    Sure there isn't any steam-powered equipment in that place? Is there a steam line coming out of each boiler?

    You'll want a pro to look at this. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • BoonBoon Posts: 230Member
    What does your gas bill want you to do?

    When I bought my laundromat I got copies of the gas bills and earmarked a percentage for dryer usage and a percentage for hot water production. Number of washers, their size, turns per day, dryer output, dryer cycle time .... from there I was able to confirm the need and estimate ROI for new boiler.

    Is this your first laundromat purchase? I recommend leveraging the Coin Laundry Association and a local laundry equipment distributor that you trust.
    DIY'er ... ripped out a perfectly good forced-air furnace and replaced it with hot water & radiators.
  • JamesDJamesD Posts: 7Member
    Boon, this is our first Laundromat, and the Coin Laundry Association has a lot of information. Another Laundry owner in another state also recommended them. We still need to check the electric/gas bill; but I am sure it will reduce once we replace the boilers and go to new water heaters which will probably be more efficient than the old boilers.

    JUGHNE , the unit where the laundry is located is heated through a separate system

    Steamhead, I don't think steam is being generated from these units. We are up in Alaska; and no I don't know Sarah Palin. :smile: I attached two photos showing top of equipment:

    Left Boiler Top View:



    Right Boiler Top View:



  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,204Member
    Where about in Alaska?
    Whites Plbg & Heating in Kenai and Rockys in Fairbanks are two top hydronic shops that do a lot of unique work.

    They know how to get a circ pump mounted in the correct orientation :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,751Member
    This is certainly a do over.

    The first step is to figure out what your needs are.

    The machines will all have ratings indicating how much hot water they will use. Figure that out and add it up.

    As for brands, It really depends. You absolutely want something that is well supported in your area.

    Having more than one unit would be a good idea. If one goes down, you can still stay open.

    Another factor is local water quality. You want to find a product that will work well with your water. The last thing you want is a unit that is constantly fouling.
    I good local contractor will be invaluable on that one.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • JamesDJamesD Posts: 7Member
    Hot Rod, location is in midtown Anchorage.

    Zman, thank you for the information.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,537Member
    Natural gas or LPG?
  • JackJack Posts: 1,044Member
    Laundromats are an ideal location for tankless applications. I've been involved in many of these that the owners were very pleased with. There is no reason to maintain max capacity all the time when the place frequently has few people in it. As well they offer redundancy, take up little space, work well and efficiently in this type system. One thing though...Don't terminate the vents close to the exhaust of the dryers;) To get a correct sizing you will have to know make, model & poundage of all machines
  • JackJack Posts: 1,044Member
    Also, not sure how quickly you are going to move on this but I'll be in Anchorage the middle of October. I'd be happy to put and eyeball on it if you can wait that long.
  • JamesDJamesD Posts: 7Member
    JUGHNE location has natural gas. Jack, we'll see how things progress, we just started getting into this. Tankless is interesting; how would hot water be generated however?
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,537Member
    Another brand you could consider is HTP, Heat Transfer Products of MA.
    However given your location you need to take into consideration availability of repair parts.
    It seems Lochinvar must be common there?
  • bob_46bob_46 Posts: 813Member
    Your current boilers look like steam boilers to me. Do you have any pressing equipment in the store ?
    bob
  • JamesDJamesD Posts: 7Member
    Hello JUGHNE, The Lochinvar sales guy was passing by in a sales truck with demo models inside..I pretty much chased him down. He came in and took a look at the setup and said recommended what I wrote at the beginning of this thread. He's based in here in Anchorage and has install contractors with parts in town.

    Bob, I can find out from the original owner who is still around and who installed them way back when if they are steam or not. No pressing equipment at all in the location. Thank you for the information on Heat Transfer, I'll see if they have any sales/supports up this way.

    The one person I could ask is my father whose worked with power plants all his life, steam, diesel, etc. in the merchant marine and with Johnson Controls, etc. The only problem is he will spend two hours as usual showing me how smart he his waving his arms around saying this pipe goes here and there and does this and that versus giving practical, easy to understand advice. But that's the cost of free advice I guess.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,537Member
    Old guys are just that way.....ask any of my children & grandchildren ;) ....yup, that is the cost but they come back for more.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,751Member
    I'll bet Bob is exactly right.
    The facility probably had steam equipment at one point.
    In reality what you have right now is a tankless setup. It just started as steam boiler that also heated the water.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • JackJack Posts: 1,044Member
    JamesD said:

    JUGHNE location has natural gas. Jack, we'll see how things progress, we just started getting into this. Tankless is interesting; how would hot water be generated however?

    I've seen laundromats use anywhere from 3 to 8 tankless units to operate. When you look at the use pattern of laundromats you have frequent periods where no machines are going and then maybe couple. Sat/Sun mornings and everything is filled. The advantage of the tankless here is that you are not storing water and if only one or two machines are running only one tankless will fire to satisfy the demand. As more washers are brought on line the system automatically brings on more capacity. Another advantage is that if one of the machines goes down you have redundancy. You can affect a repair and still be in business.
  • HenryHenry Posts: 881Member
    I have designed a number of laudry facilities from a small gym, to long term care facilities and even a large prison. Stay away fom instant hot water heaters as in the winter, they will not be abe to meet the demand. We have repaced several "instant" sstems! I would go witht the HTP Phoenix moduting hot water tanks. ou need to know what capacity in pounds of each washer. Contact HTP and they will ize the tank or tanks for you.
  • HenryHenry Posts: 881Member
    I just installed this past Saturday a PH100-55. Also, it was my first pex experience. Low fire had an amazing 0 CO. It is much quieter than my previous power vented unit. It is nice to watch it modulate. It was also very easy to program.


  • JackJack Posts: 1,044Member
    Ah, Henry, I am going to call a foul here. First of all, congratulations on your successful systems. Improperly designed anything will not produce. Design it correctly and install it correctly and the tankless systems rock.
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,528Member
    Henry , Nice Phoenix , great choice . have your instruments tested or calibrated .

    Jack ,

    Many areas of Alaska have very cold incoming water , imagine that . Some places even have to have excessive bury depths and circulation pumps on the services to keep them from freezing . I don't believe tankless hype having fixed , repaired , replaced many of them , many others here haven't fallen for it either .


    James ,

    The Lochs are good and so are the tanked units like HTP Phoenix . Lots of water blown insulation around that tank also to keep standby losses to a minimum . Either way you can't go wrong . I can tell you for certain the HTP Phoenix is a beast and will perform for quite some time . Heat exchanger is the most superior HX in the industry , low maintenance because of the HX design .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC 732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey , Eastern Pa .
    Consultation , Design & Installation
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • JamesDJamesD Posts: 7Member
    Rich, the cold water coming in is very cold; Good reminder. I'll still debating between the Lochs and HTP. With a tank unit and the draw down that occurs with use I wonder if system will be able to generate hot water as needed (?).
  • SWEISWEI Posts: 7,356Member
    Solar preheat? Raising 35°F water to 55°F is insanely efficient.
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,528Member
    James , HTP also makes the Phoenix Commercial for elevated temp water . Probably a better idea for warranty purposes also . See , Phoenix Sanitizer or Phoenix Plus . Plus is interesting as it has 2 Hxs and combustion assemblies . We have used it for commercial laundries and the results have been great . Over 60% reduced gas usage over the old AO Smith atmospheric stuff we removed
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC 732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey , Eastern Pa .
    Consultation , Design & Installation
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • HenryHenry Posts: 881Member
    We get all our combustion analisers calibrated on a regular basis.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,525Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Natco is short for National Combustion. They have a website. I used to work with John Orr, when we were both at the rep. John left to buy Natco. They're in Queens, NY, and they specialize in laundromats. John's son, Dan, now runs the company. I remember the day he was born.

    It's essentially a steam boiler that doesn't let the steam out. The coil sits in the steam and makes lots and lots of hot water.
    Retired and loving it.
  • SWEISWEI Posts: 7,356Member
    QuikWater is another option for very high demand jobs.
  • Steve Ebels_3Steve Ebels_3 Posts: 1,290Member
    I'd recommend investigating ThermoMax tanks from Thermo2000 in Canada. The output from a single 120 gallon tank is basically limited only by the BTU input. Paired with a modulating condensing boiler like an FTXL Lochinvar the efficiency is nuts.

    We have a pair of 850's on a single 120 gallon tank and it will produce a steady 27GPM @ 100* rise all day long with both boilers running about 55-60% firing rate. Crazy to see the flue temp pegged right at the return water temp.
  • HenryHenry Posts: 881Member
    The Thermo2000 products are made in Quebec. They don't last. The usual culprit is the thin copper coils develop a leak. You are much better off with a HTP S/S indirect.
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,287Member
    If you have the room multiple water heaters piped & valved so that you can switch from parallel (busy) to series (longevity).
  • HenryHenry Posts: 881Member
    You are not allowed to plumb water heaters in series. It is only paralelle or reverse return.
  • SWEISWEI Posts: 7,356Member
    Henry said:

    The Thermo2000 products are made in Quebec. They don't last. The usual culprit is the thin copper coils develop a leak.

    The coils are Type L soft copper. What kind of pH is your water up there?
  • HenryHenry Posts: 881Member
    The problem is not the water but that they use Type M thinwall copper tubing. We have had buildings with type M that had too much flow in the hot water piping system that developped erosion and leaked. We replace them in apartment blocks and hotels with either HTP indirect hot water tanks or others specified by an engineer.
    thermo2000.com/pdf/en-US/devis/turbomax-turbomaxASME-specs-mars2016.pdf
  • SWEISWEI Posts: 7,356Member
    Thanks, Henry. I was under the impression it was Type L tubing. I'll ask more questions before we finalize anything.
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