This pool’s original dehumidification unit was approximately 20 years old and in desperate need of replacement before swim team practices and meets began. A new unit now provides pool water and space heating through recycled energy from the mechanical dehumidification.


It’s early in the school year. Swim meets and practices begin within days, and your natatorium dehumidification system needs to be replaced. In addition, your building infrastructure is designed in such a manner that installing the replacement unit will require extensive building demolition or assembly of the unit onsite. Luckily for the Red Land High School swim team, there was a solution that would have them doing backstrokes in time for their November season start.

Rusty Burnell, shop supervisor foreman and lead maintenance mechanic for the district, said the original dehumidification unit was approximately 20 years old, and he worked for the district when it was installed. “The water condenser on the unit failed, allowing water to enter the refrigeration system,” said Burnell. “The compressor was destroyed, and the cost to repair the unit would be about two-thirds that of a new unit with no guarantee it would perform as needed.”

A Descendant Provides Savings

Located in Lewisberry, PA, and part of the West Shore School District, the Red Land High School administration began working with Barton Associates of York to prepare for the retrofit of the natatorium dehumidification system. Barton Associates worked with TriState HVAC Equipment of York, PA as their source for the dehumidification unit.

Bengt Dalemar, TriState branch manager, suggested the replacement unit be similar to the existing dehumidification equipment to ease the transition, especially in light of the critical schedule. Their suggestion was a PoolPak International dehumidification system, which just happens to be a descendant of the existing equipment. This limited modifications to utilities and ducting, saving both time and money.

“This process went much easier because we had like products by the same manufacturer,” Dalemar said. The model selected was the PoolPak SWHP SR dehumidification unit with an ECC III microprocessor controller and fully featured fan arrangement design for efficient air management and overall natatorium comfort. The unit provides pool water and space heating through recycled energy from the mechanical dehumidification. The unit was fitted with supplemental hot water coils for backup heating should the available recycled energy be insufficient to maintain the desired air temperature during colder seasons.

According to Barton Associates, the only logical site for the school’s dehumidification equipment was located within an interior portion of the building. Although the exterior wall could be removed, everyone felt that it was more efficient to build onsite.

“PoolPak does onsite replacement installations like this approximately six to 12 times a year,” said Chuck Munchel, national sales manager for PoolPak International, adding that the company can usually complete large jobs on short notice, typically within one to three days.”

Typical PoolPak units, much like any other large HVAC equipment, are delivered to the site as a single system, or broken into two or more modular sections to be lifted into place. PoolPak units destined for onsite assembly start of much the same way.

This method reduces the chance for problems at the jobsite, where time is critical. The parts are well-protected from damage during shipping and arrive in the order they will be assembled. A crane near the entrance location removes large components such as compressor assemblies and blower units. In this case, the crane was limited to about 60 yards from the school’s rear entrance due to poor weather conditions, so the crew had to manually make up the difference.


A True Collaboration

The removal and assembly was a collaboration of PoolPak technicians, contractors, and school maintenance staff to complete the project. “We had 13 different staff members onsite at the school over the course of this three-day installation process,” Munchel said. The PoolPak workers included assemblers, refrigeration technicians, electricians, and testing/startup staff, working from pre-dawn until nearly 9 p.m. each day.

Red Land High School immediately noticed the benefits of upgrading to a newer dehumidification system. “The updated controls are fantastic to modify temperatures in advance of events and adjust on a daily basis as needed,” said facilities manager Duane Yohe. He added, “Filter access is also easier with the new unit.”
The school will also reap other benefits as well. The units save significant energy by recycling heat recovered during the dehumidification process back to pool water and the air. “This is especially critical in this era of high energy cost,” Yohe said. “And everything was completed without even missing a stroke.” ES