Weil-McLain, a division of The Marley-Wylain Company, a subsidiary of SPX Corporation, recently addressed the heating requirements for the seven-story Mendota, Washington D.C.’s oldest intact luxury apartment building. The Mendota was built in 1901, during the golden age of D.C. apartment houses along the trolley line in an area that was, at the time, considered the far northern suburb of the city. Today, it’s recognized as the first apartment building constructed in the residential neighborhood of Kalorama Heights.

“The Mendota is one of the grand old apartment houses in D.C.,” said Jim Wood, head of the building and grounds committee for the Mendota board of directors. “While many other D.C. buildings of the era have lost their visual character, the configuration of nearly every apartment unit in the Mendota is identical to when it was built.”

The Mendota’s 50 apartments include architectural details like 10-foot ceilings, ornate crown molding, tall windows, heart pine floors, built-in cabinetry and Victorian-tiled fireplaces.

Though much of the building had been restored over the years, one area requiring attention was the facility’s heating system. After several years of maintaining the aging boiler, the mechanical contractor recommended installation of a Weil-McLain LGB-20 atmospheric draft steam boiler. At up to 84 percent combustion efficiency, the LGB line is one of the highest efficiency commercial cast iron atmospheric gas boilers available from Weil-McLain.

When the distribution piping and steam vent systems were overhauled and the new boiler was optimized and in service, several benefits were quickly realized. Radiators that had not heated in years were hot. Steam circled the mains quickly and the risers received steam at the same time. And Wood likes the fact that he doesn’t have to change the operational parameters of the boiler throughout the year. “The controls are such that we don’t make adjustments at all. The system learns and fine-tunes settings as needed.”

One of the most significant benefits of the new Weil-McLain boiler installation was the energy savings realized. Fuel costs for the building decreased more than 40 percent from gas bills years earlier.

Additionally, the system operates quietly. “When the boiler turns on and the radiators are operating, you sense the heat, but you don’t hear anything,” he said. “It just purrs. And, most importantly, tenant complaints were reduced.

“I believe that steam boilers with radiators really is just the most perfect, comfortable heating method,” Wood added. “We have been absolutely pleased and impressed since the new boiler was installed. And, we’ve saved a lot of money.”

Weil-McLain, a division of The Marley-Wylain Company, a subsidiary of SPX Corporation, is a leading North American designer and manufacturer of hydronic comfort heating systems for residential, commercial and institutional buildings since 1881. The Marley-Wylain Company is part of the HVAC business segment of SPX Corporation.