Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton, Illinois installed Kewanee boilers in 1969 with the construction of the current hospital building. 51 years later, the two boilers look like new and continue to provide the hospital with 365 days of hot water for sanitizing equipment and heating the facility.
At the time they were installed, the Kewanee boilers' life expectancy estimate was 30 years. Tim Welsh, maintenance crew member at Perry, has learned over the years and taught the crew how to keep the boilers clean and conditioned to prolong their life. Tim's secret? Water purity. The cleaner the water, the less damage to the boilers. Multiple times a day, Tim used to test the water, add purifying chemicals. Through his experience, he has learned to get it right.
Close to retirement, 56 days away to be exact, Tim has prepared Ken Krider to take over the boiler duties. Under Tim's watchful eye, Ken has learned the secrets of the trade, maintaining water quality, crawling through the small hole into the boiler to prepare and clean for the yearly inspection. Ken learned quickly, "you can never truly walk away from the boilers. They have to be constantly monitored."
In September 2020, a new computerized system was installed to monitor the water quality and chemical levels fed into the boilers. The system injects concentrated chemicals into the tanks as needed. Ken will be finalizing the system and joked, “we will be able to walk away from boiler monitoring for a month and not have to worry about it.” The new automated technology ensures the boilers will be using the purest water available. Ken said, “Newer boilers are smaller and only built to last ten years. Our preference is to keep these legendary Kewanee boilers working for the next fifty years."