Recently, Irish Mechanical wrapped up the installation of a new condensate return pump system which is connected (and vitally important) to the Hall's low-pressure steam boiler. The old system, which had a good long life of about thirty years, finally gave out on us just as the heating season was ending last spring.
This is the old system:
Here is the new system. It is in two sections: the smaller section down in the pit is the system's "low point" and is the point to which all of the steam condensate eventually drains after heating the building. In the old system, there was only a tank in the pit and the vacuum pumps wore themselves out pulling the water up out of the pit. The new system uses dual pumps to pump the water up from the low point to the other, larger section which actually draws the vacuum and pumps the water back into the boiler.
This was more of a job of artistry than of repair and replacement as everything had to be piped up just so. Building Superintendent Randy Spaulding and Rick from Irish Mechanical spent many a long hour getting things put together and operating again. Here is another view of the back of the system showing the piping.
This new system is just one of the major infrastructure replacements that are currently being done here at Indiana Freemasons Hall. This $34,000 replacement, the new insulating windows being installed by Moss Glass at a cost of $112,000, along with other improvements such as a good number of new and refurbished steam traps and repairs recently made to our damper control systems, will help to dramatically reduce the cost of heating the building. We should realize savings in the gas bill which currently runs $23,100 annually, will cut our water usage significantly, will be better able to control the heat in the building, and should be able to put off major repairs to or replacement of our 30-year-old boiler for several more years as a result of these improvements.