Instantaneous Water Heaters at VA Medical Center

About This Project

When the Captain James Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) was faced with outdated tank-style water heaters located throughout their facility Kroeschell was called to survey the system and make recommendations.


The Captain James Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) was faced with outdated tank-style water heaters located throughout their facility. The heaters were inefficient, leaked and posed a significant threat for Legionnaires Disease. The FHCC determined it was necessary to implement a new method for heating the hot water designated for showers and sink.


Minimizing Downtime

Due to Kroeschell’s long-standing relationship with the FHCC and our engineering expertise, they called on us to survey their systems and make recommendations.

Kroeschell concluded that:

  • Instantaneous hot water heaters were the perfect fit for their needs.
  • The existing layout consisted of nine (9) buildings, each with one (1) tank-style heater. Since the new heaters are much smaller, we could remove the old water heater and install two new heaters in the same footprint. This would give FHCC 100% backup capacity.
  • To minimize downtime, Kroeschell would pre-fabricate the new heaters offsite, then install them next to each old heater. Kroeschell would come in at night and switch the system over so they could have hot water by morning.


To date, the FHCC facility has successfully replaced all of their tank-style heaters with instantaneous heaters. They have immediately recognized benefits of the new system including:

  • Reduced Risk of Legionnaires Disease: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has published that large tank-style heaters frequently contain cool zones where scale and sediment accumulate. These cool zones provide a potential breeding ground for Legionella bacteria. Instantaneous heaters do not store any water and therefore a breeding ground does not exist.
  • Increased Energy Savings: Tanks-style heaters store hundreds of gallons of water that have to be heated twenty-four hours a day. Instantaneous heaters do not store any water, and only heat the amount of water that is needed, saving energy when the system is not in use.
  • Ease of Care and Maintenance: Instantaneous hot water heaters are much smaller in size. This makes them easier to dismantle for cleaning, inspections, and repairs.
  • Controls Simplicity: Instantaneous heaters can be equipped with electronic mixing valves to produce the exact temperature desired within two (2) degrees F of setpoint. The operation of the valves can also be connected to a building’s automation system.
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Customer Profile

Located in North Chicago, Illinois, The Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Each year, the health care center ensures that nearly 40,000 Navy recruits are medically ready and that nearly 67,000 eligible military and retiree beneficiaries receive care.


Government, Medical, MEP Design-Build Engineering