La Conner Retirement Inn

Project Details:
La Conner, Washington is a family-friendly city that boasts year-round activities for everyone to enjoy. Apart of the Skagit Valley, La Conner is located on the Salish sea less than two hours north of Seattle. Not only is it home to the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival that hosts visitors from over 85 countries, but it is also home to La Conner Retirement Inn.  When housing the elderly, there is no room for a failing heating system.
Which is why the inn reached out to a local Skagit Valley contractor to handle the replacement.  

Located in downtown historic La Conner, the Retirement inn is home to 150 assisted living and independent residents. With that many residents and on-site staff members, there is a constant demand for heat and hot water. The building and original heating system was constructed in the early 1990s and could no longer keep up with the demand of the residents because of failing boilers in the height of the heating season.
When the retirement inn decided to replace the heating system, they reached out to a local contractor, CPI Plumbing and Heating. Founded in 1986, CPI has a reputation in the area for quality workmanship for both residential light commercial customers. The CPI team had the task of replacing a failing 25-year-old 500KBTUH 80% efficient four boiler system that had experienced major condensation issues and rotting of the jackets. Originally designed with a simple run hot strategy, a Tekmar staging control had been added in 2015 to reduce energy consumption. When preparing for the replacement a heat loss analysis was completed by the Seattle based Franklin Engineering team at CPI’s request. The load calculations from the analysis showed the CPI team could downsize the overall capacity required for the building because over the last several winters the facility was able to perform satisfactorily with only 2-3 of the boilers running. Also, Pac West Sales’ Brett O’Connor provided piping application drawings and material lists for the application.
The mechanical room of the Inn was very tight, which caused an issue for the team for the previous boiler removal but also for finding a replacement that would be powerful enough to meet the demand while saving space. The previous system also had a slight pressure imbalance in the room which created a very minimal draft in the prior atmospherically vented boilers. When deciding on new equipment the facility team allowed CPI to make decisions on the new equipment based on the load calculations. The CPI team lead by Oly Olsen, CPI’s Vice President, decided on 3 Triangle Tube Prestige 399 Boilers in a cascaded system and would pipe all vent and combustion air to the outside solving the room vent air problem to support the needs of the retirement inn. The replacement was done during the height of the heating season and the team was able to successfully keep some of the old system working while they did the replacement and complete the switch over in less than an 8-hour day!

The CPI Plumbing and Heating team went with Triangle Tube for two reasons, HVAC Department Manager Steve Murphy says:
” Having used Triangle Tube products for 30 years and the Solo boilers for the better part of 20 years with great success the choice was simple.” The CPI team is a long-time installer of Triangle Tube. Triangle Tube has been heating homes for over 70 years and they trust Triangle Tube products to be the same from boiler to boiler.
The Triangle Tube Prestige has a 95% AFUE efficiency rating, which was significantly higher than the 80% rating of the previous system. “We had made numerous service calls and found a very lazy draft and so having equipment that mechanically drafted and higher efficiency was a must,” Murphy says. The Triangle Tube Prestige can modulate with a turndown ratio of up to 5.5:1 and a Prestige cascade can modulate of up to 16.5:1. This modulation means the boiler will alter its firing rate to meet the current demand, causing less cyclic behavior and resulting in lower operating costs for La Conner Retirement Inn .