White Horse Village, a retirement community located in open Pennsylvania countryside, proudly offers the best of retirement living.

Multiple awards from the Continuing Care Accreditation Committee, including awards for energy conservation, have earned White Horse the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval in the industry.

As a top-tier retirement complex, White Horse Village offers the best amenities to their residents. Several chefs call the Village’s kitchens home and know residents’ first names and culinary preferences.

There’s also a fine aquatics and fitness facility, several dining venues, an award-winning “Harvester’s Garden,” and a broad range of health care services. Many residents have pet dogs and cats, including one whose St. Bernard is a favorite among regular walkers on campus.

Of course, all White Horse residents have come to expect that all of their basic needs will also be met, including plentiful and fast access to hot water, for instance.

No retiree expects the inconvenience or discomfort that comes when a water heater fails. Unfortunately, as maintenance crews tried to coax another year out of many heaters on campus last summer, they received occasional no-hot-water complaints.

“We’re very proactive in everything we do here,” White Horse Village Director of Property and Facilities Rick Tavani said. “So, a few complaints tend to put us in the search mode for a solution. Better yet, we’ll solve a problem before it develops.”

An illustration of this was less than a stone’s throw away. Nearby, grounds-keeping specialists tidied up a large stack of ice-melting granules, bagged and on pallets. A few feet away, new snow-removal equipment awaited the first threat of winter precipitation.

It turns out that, at this facility, water heaters and snow removal have plenty in common. When news media report a risk of snow, Tavani’s crews are ready for it, long before the first flakes touch down.

Similarly, there’s the new back-up power plant installed last fall, the crown jewel of which is a giant, new CAT diesel-powered generator that is bigger that a Greyhound bus.


Residents in hot water

It was no surprise for Village residents to see that facility managers had the residents’ best interests in mind when they undertook an ambitious project to proactively replace the water heaters in each villa, apartment, carriage home and country home — in all, 300 water heaters, no questions asked.

“Some of [the old water heaters] were becoming troublesome or were approaching the expected end of their lifespan, so we knew it was soon time. This way, we could stay ahead of the risk,” said Pat Sheridan, the independent plumbing contractor for White Horse Village for several years.

“This decision makes it better for maintenance, servicing and budgeting, too,” Tavani added.

As piles of old water heaters sporting a wide range of manufacturer logos began to accumulate at the grounds maintenance building last fall, Tavani and Sheridan discussed the day’s work one morning.

“I’m heading out to a carriage home and then to two villas,” Sheridan said as he hoisted three water heaters into his service van. “I’ll be back for more by 2 p.m. or so.”

“We never ran out of hot water, and I can’t think of any [residents] who have,” said resident Ed Heller. He and his wife are long-time residents at the Village. Ed Heller also happens to be the head of the residents’ property and facility committee.

“The facilities folks have been terrific all through the process of changing out the water heaters,” he added. “Very much ahead of the eight ball when it comes to solving problems for residents.”

Sheridan is familiar with the reliability and performance of Bradford White equipment.

“We chose Bradford White because many of the previous water heaters only gave us seven years of service before needing to be replaced,” he said.

Another resident, Janet Murphy, has lived at the Village now for almost four years. She and many of her neighbors discussed the water heater replacements one day only to discover that none of them experienced a lack of hot water.

“I was notified that the old water heater would be replaced on a certain day, first thing in the morning, and sure enough, when the day came, they were there on time,” she said. “In less than two hours, they solved my problem before it became one. And they cleaned up afterwards, perfectly.”

Murphy added that, at a home she and her husband lived in years earlier, a water heater leaked, flooding the basement with rusty water.

“I never want to experience anything like that again, so I’m glad to know that they tend to be very precautious here.”

Another resident, Dr. Robert Poole, has lived in the Village’s Alydar neighborhood for 16 years.

“My new water heater came as a simple change-out, very similar to how they’ve handled the delivery of a new refrigerator and oven. They’re very proactive here.”


Big volume delivery

The sheer quantity of water heaters to be replaced posed a challenge for the Village’s maintenance crews, so they turned to Sheridan for help.

Manufacturer’s rep Bill Bradshaw of Aston, Pa.-based Rich Tomkins Co.; wholesale supplier John Hough, manager of the Broomall, Pa.-based Weinstein Supply, a division of Hajoca; Sheridan; and White Horse managers together devised a plan to carry out the replacements.

Due to space restrictions and the capacity requirements, the Bradford White “Lowboy” 30-gallon electric water heater was selected.

Recent efficiency rules for water heaters have resulted in an increase in footprint due to thicker insulation for the tanks. Despite this, the Lowboy unit (so called because of its reduced height and ability to fit into tight spaces) was able to fit, while meeting or exceeding the domestic hot water needs of the many locations where they’d be installed.

Minimizing operating costs is key for White Horse Village — it’s something the facility managers strive for when meeting requirements for when they apply for conservation recognition awards.

The Lowboy heater provides increased efficiency with their immersed elements, allowing direct heat transfer to the water. Its HydroJet cold water delivery system mixes the water to prevent stratification. The turbulence created by the HydroJet also has the added benefit of improving first hour delivery (the volume of water heated per hour).

Another useful benefit of the Hydrojet technology in the Lowboy units is the prevention of sedimentary build-up in the tank. This contributes substantially to the units’ reputation for reliability and extends life expectancy, ensuring many years of service to the retirement community.


Special delivery

For this project, delivery was a unique challenge. The quantity of heaters was so great that they had to be delivered in two tractor-trailer deliveries and stored in the maintenance warehouse at White Horse Village.

“They didn’t have a loading dock,” Bradshaw said, “so the wholesaler stepped up to the plate.”

For the first shipment, Hough arrived with two team members to help unload the truck, one box at a time. For the next delivery, the warehousemen arrived again, ready to add to the growing mountain of water heaters there.

The transition to the new Lowboy heaters was a smooth one for White Horse Village, thanks to the collaboration between Bradford White’s rep, the wholesaler, and Sheridan.

“It was a team effort,” Bradshaw said.

The residents of White Horse Village will benefit from the new Bradford White heaters for many years to come.

The Hellers, the Murphys and Dr. Poole are very pleased with the outcome. And so is Tavani, who has found that staving off problems at White Horse Village before they hatch is a lot better than dealing with them in the crisis mode.

“Snow removal — check. Emergency power — check. Water heaters — check. There’s a nice feel to that,” he concluded.


The preceding information was provided by Bradford White Water Heaters. Visit www.bradfordwhite.com for more information.