Useful life of hotels’ old technology pool dehumidifiers are ending!
Thousands of hotels with indoor pools built over the last 30+ years have reached the stage of retrofitting or replacing their pool dehumidifiers that have reached the end of their life cycle. Many systems fell short of their operating lifespan due to poor pool chemistry; systems not designed or sized properly, poorly installed, lack of negative pressure, or poorly designed air delivery/duct systems. Many pool systems are no longer energy efficient and operating costs are high. For any hotel manager, it is an extremely challenging process to cut operating and energy costs with indoor pools. However, today’s technology in hotel pool dehumidifiers offers significant energy costs reduction, and many offer a wide range of improvement options over what was available even 5-10 years ago.
When retrofitting your hotel, there are several significant areas to review to ensure that your new pool dehumidifier will provide all of the updated “GREEN” technology, energy recovery, and benefits that support a longer life span and a healthy, stable pool room environment.
It’s not enough to simply pull out your existing pool dehumidifier and put the same system back into the natatorium. Before your purchasing decisions to ‘simply replace what’s in place’ are made, you will want to start with your pool room data. Do not necessarily rely on the pool dehumidifier in place, (although we would like to determine your existing tonnage and CFM), as equipment may be oversized or undersized, may lack the necessary air turnovers, which was very common years ago. It was also very common years ago to size a system that was not accurately based on the air and pool water temperatures hotel facilities actually maintain.
Let’s go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. When replacing a system, owners will review their existing pool system tonnage and cfm to size the next pool dehumidifier. This is a good place to start, however each client should take a few additional measures to ensure the sizing, air flow and evaporation rates are met with the new system. The following data is recommended:
POOL ROOM INFORMATION
Square feet of the total pool room space?
Square feet of the pool and/or spa?
Other water features within the space
Ceiling height of the room (average)
a. Is there a drop ceiling in your room?
Temperature of water and temperature of air maintained?
Humidity levels within the space that you maintain (i.e. 50, 55, 60 %?)
Maximum number of occupants?
Hours of operation?
What Chemistry do you use? [ ] chlorine [ ] bromine [ ] salt [ ] other
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A NEW POOL DEHUMIDIFICATION SYSTEM
(1) THE FUTURE FOR ALL POOL DEHUMIDIFIERS is to reduce size, refrigerant and maintenance costs!
Today’s technology is much more advanced (called Secondary Coolant Technology). The future is in refrigerant reduction first and foremost due to the expense and environmental damages caused by hyydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) refrigerants, such as R-22, and other refrigerants. All manufacturers are aware that this will be a continually changing arena and as such should be or are engineering pool dehumidification systems to comply with the more “green”/Leed requirements, which will utilize a fluid/dry cooler for the cooling side of the equation. This technology is not new to the industry; KMART has used Secondary Coolant Technology for over 30 years in their buildings. Several pool dehumidification manufacturers have been using this liquid cooled technology for over 20 years. Other companies are now beginning to understand the importance of reduction in the refrigerants used in today pool dehumidifiers.
HIGHER MOISTURE REMOVAL capacity and higher efficiency:
The concerns that many engineers and contractors have is whether a reduced refrigerant charge is a trade-off for efficiency. When designed properly, reduced refrigerant systems are overall more efficient. They are equally as efficient as their DX counterparts in the high cooling demand on summer design days and as much as 5-6% more efficient than conventional DX pool dehumidifiers throughout the rest of the year.
However, we recommend all clients review carefully the claims of “up to 80-90% reduction in refrigerant” as this can be very misleading. Let’s use a few comparisons: an EC096 8 Ton pool dehumidifier with glycol/dry cooler technology provides a total of 9.25 lbs. of R410A refrigerant in the completely installed system. A NE08 series comparable 8 ton system (for example purposes and verified), even with claim of “new” secondary coolant technology, utilizes almost 34 lbs. of refrigerant. That is still almost 4 times the amount of refrigerant. A DCA3600 Nominal 7.5/8 Ton unit does not use R410A. This system utilizes R407C Refrigerant with a stated factory charge of 45 lbs. of refrigerant. This also does not include the outdoor condenser package.
Therefore, do your research carefully when comparing products to products – as all pool dehumidifiers are not reduced refrigerant management systems. When shopping competitive equipment, always verify the following, as eventually everything comes at a cost whether it is in parts or service/maintenance down the road:
– Refrigerant (type- R410a, R134A, R407C etc.)?
– How many Lbs. of refrigerant in the unit and the total installed system?
YOUR INDOOR POOL SYSTEM MUST ACCOMPLISH THE FOLLOWING:
– A completely packaged system (split system)
– Lower equipment cost
– Small footprint to fit into existing space
– Dehumidify and maintain the environment between 50-60% Relative Humidity
– Heat the space
– Cool the space
– Complete heat recovery/heat reclaim (free heat to space and pool water)
– Offers the option to heat domestic hot water for the hotel
Pool Dehumidifier Considerations:
– UL, (CuL) and/or ETL Listed, and/or CSA Certified
– Least amount of refrigerant per ton in the installed pool dehumidification system
– R410A to U.S. Standards, R-22 is no longer available
– Should have an average life span of 15-20 years if regularly maintained and pool chemistry is balanced properly
– Smallest footprint, Vertical, Horizontal, Counter flow Design
– Single or Dual Compressor systems
– Evaporator Coils: 3 & 4 Field cleanable, or 6 & 8 Row coils that are impossible to clean once they become dirty?
– Longer warranties
– Rooftop vs. Indoor Pool equipment Installations: Out of sight, out of mind! (Higher costs with rooftop installation, ducting, plumbing, craning and 30-40% higher maintenance costs over the life span of the system generally due to lack of preventive maintenance).
Lastly, many facility managers are beginning to understand the importance of automated pool covers. Swimming pools are one of the largest utility costs of any hotel and as such are coming under more severe scrutiny than in the past regarding the operating and higher maintenance costs of pool rooms.
Once a pool is covered, the pool is not losing heat, (savings of pool heating costs), the pool does not evaporate (savings in run time of dehumidification system), and lastly, chemicals are not lost to the air during evaporation cycle (savings on costs of chemicals). We highly recommend all facilities consider a pool cover when feasible to do so. Even covering a pool from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. – you will see a reduction in costs!
GO GREEN for a longer useful lifespan!