The USF is a public university with its main campus located in Tampa. About 10% of the school’s almost 40,000 undergraduate students live in one of the 44 on-campus dormitories. After temporarily shutting down during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, dorms reopened to students in the Fall of 2021.
Beacon Hall, the newest addition to the university’s on-campus dormitory buildings, opened in August of 2017. A coed, six-story construction, the dorm houses 378 residents in a mix of traditional and suite-style rooms.
Since opening, the 5th-floor gang shower, which is located in the center of the floor with student rooms lining the exterior of the building, had experienced a lot of hot water issues.
Mike Bishop, VP of Engineering at RGD Consulting Engineers stated: “Students used to turn on the showers, go to breakfast for 30 minutes, then come back to shower when the water was hot. Otherwise, they were taking a cold shower.”
A major inconvenience to students and a huge waste of water for the university, the system’s hot water demands needed to be re-evaluated.
After unsuccessful attempts to rectify the hot water supply and balancing issues, the developer contacted RGD Consulting Engineers.
Mike Bishop discovered that the manual balancing valves were a major roadblock in the DHW system functioning correctly due to its inability to adapt to changing system demands, and, with no question, recommended CircuitSolver thermostatic balancing valves.
Working with Spirit Group, a CircuitSolver representative in Florida, thirteen ½” CircuitSolver valves were installed at the end of each branch and one ½” CircuitSolver was placed on the return line to the water heater.
HOW THE CIRCUITSOLVER WORKS
The CircuitSolver® is a thermostatic balancing valve that automatically and continuously adjusts flow through a DHW system to maintain a specified temperature at the end of each hot water supply line. This keeps the system fully balanced with hot water available at all times and on all floors, even with variable and intermittent demands.
On startup, the system automatically balanced itself in under 3 hours, all without manual labor. “In the meantime, the plumber actually went out a did another job,” Bishop mentions, “Then they went and got breakfast, and when they came back [the DHW system] was balanced.”
Since the installation of CircuitSolvers, all balancing issues in the Beacon Hall dormitory have been resolved. Students are able to take hot showers without 30-minute wait times, and complaints have ceased. Water usage has plummeted, and the extra recirculation pump was removed, effectively reducing utility usage.
As for Mike Bishop, in this balancing case study, he says that the contractor on the job reported a favorable experience. “He was ecstatic! This was his first CircuitSolver job, but he’s going to start using it everywhere.”
CircuitSolver Install: Mental Health Institute of Quebec Case Study
The below CircuitSolver install case study features a project from our neighbors in the North.
Installation Site Overview
The Mental Health Institute of Quebec (IUSMQ) is a hospital specializing in psychiatric care. Founded in Quebec City in 2009, the facility has more than 500 beds for short-term and long-term psychiatric care.
IUSMQ is a large building with up to 6 floors in some wings and a total floor area of about 160,000 m². To accommodate changing staff and patient needs, the IUSMQ’s main pavilion was recently renovated, with updates being made to the domestic hot water recirculation system.
Instead of implementing an army of traditional hot water heaters to supply the sprawling facility, IUSMQ’s water supply is heated by a hospital-owned power plant and distributed throughout its wings and floors.
To account for the heat loss that occurred as the hot water traveled through the building’s long recirculation lines, the power plant had to intentionally “overheat” the water being delivered to IUSMQ.
However, as a result of new standards and regulations, the hospital was required to adjust the temperature of incoming water to a safer level.
According to the building’s consultant, André Renaud, this resulted in the hospital experiencing a lack of hot water in some areas.
Renaud initially reviewed the recirculation system to determine the fixed flow rate needed to offset heat loss and consumption. According to his calculations, the main recirculation piping would not be able to withstand the high flow rate required due to the risk of premature erosion of the copper piping.
Due to this, the consultant chose to replace the system’s fixed flow valves with 108 CircuitSolvers.
Installed in-line, CircuitSolver is a self-actuating, thermostatic recirculation valve that automatically and continuously adjusts flow to maintain a specified temperature at the end of each domestic hot water supply line.
CircuitSolver bases dynamic flow rates solely on fluid temperature, easily accommodating for passive system heat loss and demand fluctuations, with no need for re-balancing.
By switching to the CircuitSolver, Renaud eliminated the labor and guesswork associated with the manual balancing of fixed flow valves.
After a quick and easy install and almost instantaneous automatic balancing, hot water is now available throughout the entire main pavilion on demand.
Residential CircuitSolver Installation Case Study – The Austonian in Austin, TX
Below is a CircuitSolver® success story brought to you from the Lone Star state:
Located in the heart of Austin, TX, The Austonian is a premier luxury residence boasting 360° views, unparalleled amenities, and a Four Star rating from Austin Energy Green Building. Towering over downtown at 683 feet tall, The Austonian is the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi River.
Despite its laundry list of amenities, The Austonian’s managers were not satisfied with the hot water delivery time to the building’s units. In some cases, 2-3 minutes were needed for warm water to reach fixtures.
A team of engineers was assembled and tasked with finding a solution and improving hot water delivery times.
With more than 50 floors to retrofit, the CircuitSolver® was deemed the ideal and only solution to The Austonian’s domestic hot water system challenge.
Hot water distribution lines had originally been placed in corridor ceilings and branched into residential units during construction. Certified plumbers installed CircuitSolver® in each unit’s ceiling near the hot water return line. Located behind false air vents for easy access, shut-off valves were placed on either side of the CircuitSolver® for ease of maintenance in the future.
A majority of the work done was in corridors and access to private residences had to be scheduled. Fortunately construction time in residences was minimized due to CircuitSolver’s® simple installation and set-up.
Residents are reportedly pleased with improved hot water delivery times following CircuitSolver® installation. Units with wait times of multiple minutes saw a dramatic reduction, and fixtures now reach proper temperature in 20-30 seconds. A reduction of water waste and the implementation of lower horsepower pumps has also resulted in significant utility cost savings.
This success story is one among many, and thousands of installations around the country benefit from implementing the CircuitSolver®.
Should you have any questions about implementing the CircuitSolver®, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated team of product experts.
Inspira Health CircuitSolver Case Study – Mullica Hill, New Jersey, USA
Installation Site Overview
Inspira Health operates a variety of healthcare facilities throughout southern New Jersey, including Inspira Health Center Mullica Hill Commons in Mullica Hill, NJ.
Opened in November of 2019, the 5-floor Mullica Hill Commons facility is a state-of-the-art general medical and surgical center, featuring specialized obstetrics and gynecology services.
A new construction, Mullica Hill Commons’ contractors relied on the expert advice of the design engineers to specify products that would meet the needs of a dynamic healthcare DHWR system. The CircuitSolver® Union Assembly Strainer (CSUAS) balancing valve was specified at 140°F to satisfy the design’s hot water requirements and reduce installation time. The CSUAS comes preassembly with the CircuitSolver® thermostatic balancing valve with an integrated union, two ball valves on either side and an integrated strainer.
In accordance with the project specifications, MMC Contractors installed 102 CircuitSolver® Union Assembly Strainers throughout the system saving significant time by not having to manually install each component. CircuitSolver® valves were installed at the end of each domestic hot water branch in place of manual valves to provide a balanced system. “There was no balancing necessary because these valves are self-adjusting,” Mike Formica of MMC Contractors commented. “The CircuitSolver® is the fastest and easiest way to balance a system.”
These self-actuating, thermostatic valves automatically and continuously adjust system flow to maintain a specified temperature at the end of hot water supply line by monitoring water temperature, eliminating manual balancing as well as the possibility of callbacks for adjustments to meet changing system demands.
Soon after startup, the facility was supplied with hot water throughout the building without any balancing procedures. Inspira Health Center Mullica Hill Commons opened on November 8, 2019 to much fanfare and celebration and, thanks to CircuitSolver®, the staff of Mullica Hill Commons will be spending many years caring for their patients with instant hot water at the turn of a tap.
For more information on this Inspira Health CircuitSolver case study or how the CircuitSolver line of balancing valves can meet your domestic hot water system balancing needs, visit our plumbing products page.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare operates five facilities throughout Northern Kentucky, including St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood, a state-of-the-art general medical and surgical facility.
As a healthcare facility serving the larger Cincinnati metro area, there is a constant flow of patients, visitors, and medical personnel through their halls. Unfortunately, the hot water was not flowing quite so quickly. For years the hospital had dealt with an unreliable and unbalanced hot water supply. The domestic hot water system’s (DHWS) return runs were operating inefficiently, leaving some of the hospital wings completely without hot water at times.
To address this problem, MarkCo Plumbing installed around 90 CircuitSolver® balancing valves in their DHWS. CircuitSolvers were installed at the end of each hot water branch in the system, replacing the manual balancing valves.
These self-actuating, thermostatic recirculation valves automatically and continuously adjusted the flow to maintain the specified temperature at the end of each domestic hot water supply line. No manual balancing was required.
After the successful CircuitSolver® installation, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood now has access to an on-demand hot water supply in all wings, on every floor, at every fixture. CircuitSolver® was able to balance the system when engineers could not.
Where manual balancing fails, CircuitSolver® delivers.
The CircuitSolver® is a thermostatic, self-actuating balancing valve that continuously and automatically adjusts the flow through each branch of a domestic hot water recirculation system to maintain the specified temperature at the end of each branch, regardless of fluctuations in hot water demand. It is a direct replacement for manual balancing valves and eliminates balancing labor and callbacks.
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