HAMPDEN — Patrons may have found themselves feeling more comfortable during visits to the Lura Hoit Pool over the past couple of months.
That’s thanks to the pool’s new air-handling system, which was installed in late summer at the facility.
What does an air-handling system do? In simple terms, it regulates air exchanges in the building, helps to ensure more efficient fuel utilization by the pool’s boilers and provides a more comfortable environment for staff and patrons.
“We could not have an indoor facility without the air handler,” explained Pool Director Darcey Peakall.
The new unit, from Venmar CES of Quebec, replaces one that was original equipment at the pool, which opened in 1995.
“The old one was having issues,” Peakall said. “We were spending quite a bit on maintenance, and it was getting to the point where we couldn’t repair it. It was rusted, with a lot of holes in it.”
Replacing the system has been a three-year process. Peakall went before the town council in 2010 and asked that it be put out to bid. The town funds about half of the pool’s budget, with its revenues covering the other half.
The final price tag of the system is $172,000. The pool’s board of directors has started a capital campaign, raising $13,000 so far.
The installation of the system by Mechanical Services took place Aug. 19-Sept. 8, traditionally a slow time of year at the pool.
A crane was used to switch the two systems on the roof of the pool.
“It was pretty straight forward,” said Peter Neumayer, service manager for Mechanical Services. “We took the old one off the roof in pieces, because it was rotted so bad, and plugged in the new one. We installed the control system, programmed it and took it up and running.”
Peakall has been pleased with the results so far.
“There’s better air circulation going on right now,” she said. “It should be more energy efficient, although we haven’t seen enough bills to tell yet.”
Neumayer echoed Peakall’s sentiments about the new unit.
“It’s a lot more efficient than the previous units, with features such as all kinds of coatings on the wiring, extra insulation and stainless steel pans. It should definitely last 20 years and be more efficient through its life.”