Utilities Manager: Medical Center Cures Its Hot Water Pressure Woes
Kathy | May 1, 2007
Its booster pump system simply could not keep pace with fluctuating demands for hot water. Turning to skid-mounted pumps with intelligent controls made the pain go away for this major healthcare facility.
Located in the heart of Phoenix, AZ, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center is a 520-bed, not-forprofit hospital that provides a wide range of health, social and support services with special advocacy for the poor and underserved.
“St. Joe’s” is a nationally recognized center for quality tertiary care, medical education and research.
Founded in 1895 by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joe’s was the first hospital in the Phoenix area. It has come a long way since it opened with 24 private rooms—each opening up onto a porch. With tens of thousands of annual admissions, emergency room visits and outpatient/inpatient surgeries—not to mention thousands of babies delivered each year—St. Joe’s water demands clearly are critical to its operations.
Specifically, this bustling institution requires an effi- cient way to maintain the availability of hot water pressure in its growing complex of buildings. Like all healthcare facilities, the system needs to be operational 24-hours-aday and downtime has to be kept to a minimum. That’s not always been easy.
As the hospital has expanded over the years, the water service for new facilities has simply been tied into the existing lines supplied by two outdated sets of pumps—one each for cold water and hot water service.
With its water service requirements increasing, the medical center began experiencing problems as a result of the hot water booster‘s inability to keep up with the cold water booster in terms of pressure. Depending on the varying needs during the day, the hot water system pressure fluctuated so much that it was causing damage on multiple showerheads and valves. In addition, maintenance on the existing pumps was becoming intolerable.
According to Michael Marquez, a technical sales representative for Quandna, Inc., a Phoenix-based fluidhandling solution provider and distributor for ITT, St. Joe’s was having to do quite a bit of maintenance on the old pumps. “The pumps have been rebuilt numerous times because they were constantly running overspeed and way off the curve,” he notes. “Additionally, the medical center maintenance people would sometimes have to be sent to the booster set to turn on another pump to maintain hot water pressure.”
Plug and play solution
It was clear that St. Joe’s really needed a booster pump system that could keep up the pressure for the hot water no matter what the facility requirements were. Quadna’s team of application specialists proposed a design—created specifically for the hospital—that would achieve these goals and serve as a drop-in replacement. The replacement system also needed to be functional quickly, as the medical center could not be without hot water for more than four hours.
To more effectively accommodate the hospital’s fast-paced growth, Quadna selected ITT’s Goulds Pumps brand SSV high-pressure, vertical multistage pumps combined with ITT’s PumpSmart® PS200 control system. Quadna manufactured a custom-designed booster pump skid to house the three pumps and their control systems. The pumps, which are combined to optimize their capabilities, offer the medical center optimal high pressure, in a mechanically friendly, space-saving design.
The new system also met St. Joe’s requirements to connect efficiently with the medical center’s existing piping system, as well as for elevator weight and the proper dimensions to pass through doorways. When the skid was installed in February 2007, the “plug and play” system became fully functional in just a couple of hours, minimizing the amount of time the hospital went without hot water. Other characteristics of this pump system include a design to handle variable pressure drops. The pressure set point can be modified for future system requirements and the intelligent pump controllers automatically adjust to changes in system conditions.
Low costs/high efficiency
Equipping each pump with the PumpSmart control system was done to meet the medical center’s concerns for a system with low total life-cycle costs. PumpSmart’s intelligent flow system works with any pump. The product utilizes a smart variable frequency drive (VFD) controller and proprietary control software to provide advanced process control, enhanced reliability through failure prevention, reduced life cycle costs and, according to the manufacturer, significantly lower energy costs—up to 65%.
“PumpSmart will provide the hospital with great energy savings,” says Marquez. “The medical center is on a strict budget. When you consider that it was running the old pumps at full speed, the savings provided by this type of intelligent control system will be significant.”
The PS200 model offers process control and pump protection in one easy-to-use package for virtually every industrial process. With preprogrammed applications such as pressure, flow and level control, setup is quick and easy. The PS200 is capable of coordinating efforts between other PS200 controllers as well as existing constant speed pumps.
“I am a big fan of these systems,” Marquez continues. “A skid, equipped with a PumpSmart system, allows the user to cut down on management and maintenance. Maintenance people don’t have to be sent out to the pumps to change the pressure—which is what has been done previously. This control system also has the ability to automatically rotate the pumps out as needed.”
One less headache
With its new reliable PumpSmartequipped pumps and their low life-cycle costs, St. Joe’s now can face future expansion plans and the varying demands of patient care with fewer things to worry about. There are enough headaches involved with operating a major medical center—trying to ensure adequate hot water service 24/7 should not be one of them.
ITT Goulds Pumps
Seneca Falls, NY