When plumber Sam Crandall got the call for the 4th Street Market job, he knew a challenge lay ahead. “We were turning the first level of a 30-year-old, two-story building into something totally modern and different, making it impossible to anticipate every little thing,” he says.
According to Ryan Chase, S&A principal and owner, Fourth Street Market–a 30,000 square-foot, street-level emporium–was designed to attract a young clientele seeking groundbreaking cuisine from talented young chefs lacking the wherewithal to go solo.
Now fully operational, Fourth Street consists of 15 different “artisan” food vendors occupying roughly 300 square feet apiece and with funky names like Electric City Butcher, Radical Botanicals, Chunk-N-Chip and Noodle Tramp.
Combining all of these food venues into a single, 44-foot x 31-foot space on one level – while meeting all the special, mechanical requirements that resulted – are what drove the plumbing design and installation challenges for the Crandall’s Plumbing crew. This was especially true for the building’s domestic hot water system, an obviously critical need for all 22 foodservice tenants in the 4th Street Market.
The Tankless Advantage
The currently installed 22 Noritz units at 4th Street are all Model No. NC1991-OD-NG, with a thermal efficiency of 84 percent; a maximum flow rate of 11.1 gallons per minute; and gas consumption from 16,000 to 199,900 BTU/hour. Measuring only 23.6 inches high x 13.8 inches wide x 9.4 inches deep, up to 24 of these heaters can be “quick-connected” into a “multi-system.” Beyond their diminutive size and weight (54 pounds apiece) versus a boiler and storage tank system, tankless also offers the key advantage of delivering hot water only when needed, that is, “on demand,” thus saving on storage fuel costs.
Crandall’s team found its greatest design/installation challenges in two areas: 1) developing a way to mount the 22 units on the rooftop; and 2) building the pipe runs from those units through the building’s top level, where a small college had been located (the space is now vacant), to the kitchens and shops at ground level. Crandall says that the installation, including the rooftop lines, took his team roughly a week to complete. “In the end, it all came together nicely,” he noted.
A Happy Ending
The 22 water heaters at 4th Street Market have performed “without any problem” since the renovated facility reopened in early 2015, according to S&A’s Beddow. In fact, because of the reliable experience the company has enjoyed at 4th Street, it has opted for the Noritz solution at two other Santa Ana properties, both restaurants.
Crandall sees the space-saving benefits and the energy savings of tankless as prime attractions. “The technology is ideal for point-of-use delivery of hot water and individualized monitoring of that usage, as was the case at 4th Street,” he says. “But its smaller size and zero footprint is just as important.”