Steubenville, Ohio, Football Stadium Picks Off High Fuel Cost

When high school football players travel to the 10,000-capacity Harding Stadium in Steubenville, Ohio, they face a daunting opponent: Steubenville High School, the recent (2005-2006) Division III State Champions, best known as “Steubenville Big Red.”

But win or lose on the field, the visiting teams are at least rewarded with an abundant supply of hot water in their locker room to soothe their aching, battered bones. The continuous comfort comes courtesy of a new Rheem tankless water heating system, installed just prior to the 2007 Big Red football season.

“We were kind of under the gun,” recalls Mike Bauman, maintenance director at Steubenville City Schools, describing the recent change-out of an old boiler system for the new tankless system. “We didn’t discover the problem with our old system until we almost needed it. When football season struck, we found out we were in trouble and we were on a tight time line to get it done and back in operation.”

The school could have simply replaced the old boiler, but neither Bauman’s maintenance team nor his supplier saw that as the best solution – or the most cost-efficient. “Part of the issue was that this facility was built back in the 1940s and the old hot water unit was in an upstairs room,” Bauman says. “To replace the boiler would have been a challenge.” Time was of the essence. In addition to hosting Big Red’s opponents, the school also uses the locker room for its freshmen athletes and boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, as well as permitting another local school to use the facility. “So it was critical that we get up and running,” Bauman explains. “Always, cost is an issue, but we were also struck by how simple the Rheem installation was to fit that new tankless unit into a compact area.”

Time was of the essence. In addition to hosting Big Red’s opponents, the school also uses the locker room for its freshmen athletes and boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, as well as permitting another local school to use the facility. “So it was critical that we get up and running,” Bauman explains. “Always, cost is an issue, but we were also struck by how simple the Rheem installation was to fit that new tankless unit into a compact area.”

Hot Water on Demand: Installer Jim Saltsman of Fort Steuben Maintenance recommended Rheem tankless to Bauman for its economic advantages: The new tankless water heaters provide 120°F water strictly on demand, so there is no tank of hot water to keep continuously – and expensively – heated 24/7/365.

“They were dealing with a big tank for seasonal use only,” Saltsman says, referring to the relatively short 14-week football season. Even during the season, maintaining water temperature in a tank around the clock wasn’t practical for a locker room being used only a few hours a day. “I told them: ‘Long term, your gas prices are going to go down.’”

Robertson Heating Supply branch manager John Vasey, whose Steubenville operation supplied Saltsman with the Rheem unit, saw not only financial benefits, but also space-saving advantages to going tankless. He used his in-store display to educate Bauman’s maintenance team about tankless water heating versus conventional water heating.

“They would have had to buy a couple of tank-type commercial water heaters to meet their demand,” Vasey says of a conventional water heating choice. “Size-wise, it worked out great because they put the Rheem units on a wall, which saved them a lot of space.”

The application called for three natural gas-fired Rheem GT-199PVN commercial units to be connected together right in the locker room, supplying 12 showers and two sinks. Besides an abundant supply of hot water and energy and space savings, this manifold configuration also provides redundancy. If one unit goes down and needs repair or replacement, the other two will automatically continue to meet the locker room’s hot water needs.

Smooth Installation: Installer Saltsman, who put a Rheem tankless in his own house, had not worked on a manifold system prior to the Harding Stadium project. But it was a smooth installation by all accounts. “It took a day to demo the old and clean everything up,” says Steubenville maintenance employee Glenn Wood, “and then it took about a day and half to install the Rheem units.”

Bauman’s in-house maintenance crew handled the electrical for the installation. “It was just one circuit for all three units,” Bauman notes.

To test the new system, the maintenance department “experimented” on the freshmen athletes. “We turned all the showers on, and we didn’t have any complaints,” notes Jonathan Sherrell, who works with Wood and Bauman.

The maintenance crew anticipates the school’s field house boiler will be the next to go. “At that point, we’ll switch to Rheem tankless,” Wood says. Although it is too soon to track energy cost savings on the stadium units, Bauman agrees. He is eager for the school to benefit from the space-savings afforded by tankless.

“We opened up a lower section in the field house and are doing our own in-house laundry there,” he explains. “We’ll probably be able to add an extra washer when we go tankless in that facility.”

Big Red opponents currently have at least a comfort edge with a ready, steady supply of hot water in the visitors’ locker room at the stadium, but that’s only temporary, insists Saltsman. “We’re hoping to put Rheem in the home side very soon, too!”

About Rheem Manufacturing Company
Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is a privately held company with headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. In its 81st year of operation, the company manufactures a full-line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems, water heaters, swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The premium brands of Rheem Manufacturing Company include Ruud, Raypak and Rheem. Rheem Manufacturing Company is the major associate sponsor of Richard Childress Racing and the No. 29 team driven by Kevin Harvick, 2007 Daytona 500 Champion, 2007 Craftsman Truck Series Champion and 2006 Busch Series Champion. Rheem is also the primary sponsor of Kevin Harvick Inc.’s No. 33 and No. 77 car for four high-profile Nationwide Series races in 2008.

NOTE: Publication-quality photograph of the image shown in this press release can be downloaded at the following location on the web: http://www.LNCmail.com/pr08/rh0884/steubenville.html