St. Paul Catholic Church Sings Praises of Weil-McLain SVF Boiler

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St. Paul Catholic Church in Valparaiso, Ind., took a significant step towards heating modernization by installing three state-of-the-art Weil-McLain Stainless Steel Vertical (SVF) 725 boiler units. G.L. Jorgensen Heating & Cooling, the installation contractor, played a pivotal role in the hydronic heating replacement project.

St. Paul Catholic Church, spanning roughly 18,000 square feet with seating for 950 parishioners, sought a heating solution that not only accommodated the current space but also had the capacity for future expansions, including the installation of a storage tank hot water heater. The challenge for Father Douglas Mayer of St. Paul was to balance efficiency, comfort and the unique requirements of the church, particularly regarding humidity control for three pipe organs. The primary pipe organ resides in the main church, while two antique wood organs grace a secondary chapel and choir room.

The three existing boilers had reached the end of their service life and required ongoing maintenance, prompting the church to seek a high-efficiency upgrade. Gary Jorgensen Jr. of Valparaiso-based G.L. Jorgensen Heating & Cooling recommended the Weil-McLain SVF boilers, emphasizing their capacity to handle the load, improve occupancy comfort, decrease energy costs and maintain ideal humidity conditions for the delicate wood organs. The Weil-McLain SVF boiler line, ranging from 500 to 3000 MBH models, boasts industry-leading thermal efficiency of up to 98%.

The SVF boiler units were installed in October 2023 and set up as modulating, allowing for seamless load management and turndown capabilities. This feature is designed to adapt to varying occupancy levels, transitioning from periods when the building is unoccupied, and ramping up for church events when the chapel is full. This method is also designed to minimize wear and tear on the system, ensuring long-term performance and reliability.

Installation Challenges and Efficiencies

The installation process faced challenges, particularly due to a narrow staircase leading to the boiler room. However, the compact design of the SVF units facilitated easy transportation and positioning, overcoming accessibility issues.

“The slim design of the SVF boilers helped us more easily maneuver up the four-foot stairway that led to the boiler room where the units were installed,” said Jorgensen.

An auto lift and a battery-powered stairlift were ingeniously employed to navigate the narrow pathway, ensuring a smooth installation.

“The confined access to our second-floor utility room demanded a unit that was both compact and maneuverable, and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed by the installation team at G.L. Jorgensen and the seamless installation of these units in such a constrained environment,” remarked Mayer.

During the installation process, Jorgensen Jr. was particularly struck by the user-friendly interface of the SVF boiler system. Despite it being their first SVF installation, the team found the system remarkably intuitive, as Jorgensen himself attested: “The SVF touchscreen makes setup and installation of the system very simple.”

This sentiment underscores the versatility and efficiency of the SVF line, which boasts features such as a stainless-steel vertical fire tube and shell heat exchanger, alongside intuitive controls and time-saving installation attributes. Furthermore, the incorporation of Unity™ 2 and Nuro® control systems enhance the overall functionality and communication capabilities across Weil-McLain’s high-efficiency boiler line.

Energy Savings Abound

The project has yielded remarkable benefits thus far. Following a complete heating season, Father Mayer has already begun to observe notable energy savings.

“We’ve seen remarkable utility cost savings since implementing these Weil-McLain units, leading to substantial reductions in our energy expenses,” said Mayer. “It’s been truly gratifying to witness thousands of therms saved compared to previous heating seasons, reaffirming the efficiency and impact of our decision.”

The installation of Weil-McLain SVF 725 boilers at St. Paul Catholic Church not only addressed the immediate heating needs of the church but also positions them for future hot water requirements. St. Paul is experiencing improved energy efficiency, reduced operational costs and enhanced comfort for its community members.

“These units have proven their dependability, ensuring that the church remains comfortable for me and all its occupants, especially during our Sunday services,” added Mayer. “We are quite pleased with the results from these high efficiency units.”


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