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St. Mary's Elementary School


St. Mary’s Elementary School in Dixon, Illinois has all the nostalgia of a classic ‘50s school.  Big inviting windows, classic brick exterior, an idyllic location in a pleasant small town.  A few years ago, however, St. Mary’s external good looks were deceiving.  Too hot or too cold, the temperature inside St. Mary’s was never quite right.  Finally, ENTEC provided a solution.

“I felt that ENTEC’s people were as concerned about the quality of St. Mary’s environment as we were.  Our school was their school, and their service was excellent.”

Jean Spohn, St. Mary's School

Repair work alone was not the solution for St. Mary's chronic heating problems. After careful evaluation of several potential solutions, ENTEC recommended replacing the old electric controls with a sound pneumatic control system that balanced installation costs with long-term maintenance, temperature control effectiveness, and the school's budget.

ENTEC's initial task was to replace all of the old electric thermostats with pneumatic ones. Next, they had to trace the route of every pipe in the hot water heating system to locate valves and air vents ... no small task because there were no accurate drawings of the original system, nor records of modifications made over the years.
The ENTEC team discovered malfunctioning valves and hot water booster pumps installed backwards. They found that air vents were not installed at the high points in the piping system, trapping air in the pipes, preventing the flow of hot water.
ENTEC's careful scheduling and the timely work that was conducted during record cold temperatures protected the school from freezing and also minimized inconvenience.
ENTEC went on to replace the school's original boiler during the summer vacation. Today, St. Mary's annual natural gas costs are 33% less than they were before the retrofit.
For the ENTEC team, the St. Mary's project was about more than energy savings. They stayed on the job during that holiday season to make sure St. Mary's would be a better place for the students and faculty to return to in the new year. 
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