Case Study: Water softening at the Crouchers Hotel, Chichester

We were asked to quote for the replacement of a water softener at the Crouchers hotel. This charming hostelry, set in open countryside, is three miles south of Chichester, West Sussex. Originally a 1900’s farmhouse it has been converted into a luxury bedroom complex utilising the original coach house, barn and stables. It has an award winning 80 seater restaurant and bar. Unfortunately, the hardness of the water is 340ppm of carbonate hardness. With the number of bedrooms recently increased to 26 the original softener was not coping with demand.

It was the decision of Leslie Wilson, the owner, to install a higher capacity unit in the new boiler room, an annex to the ’studio’ which is a separate building close to the main entrance. The original softener was located within the ’studio’ building under the stairs. This softener was a 25 litre metered duplex machine. It was estimated that the hotel, restaurant and kitchens were now using around 16,000 litres of water a day. However, with further expansion likely it was agreed to install a 100 litre metered duplex softener capable of producing up to 33,000 litres a day.

We started the day and a half replacement job later in May and found a number of issues. The original plant was not plumbed correctly and this created problems in isolating the water supply. The width of the doorway into the boiler room also prevented us lifting a standard salt tank into the boiler room. A suitable slim line tank was eventually acquired.

The location of the new softener was some distance from the staircase cupboard. This required us to run the incoming water supply to and from the softener externally along the outside of the ‘studio’ building and into the boiler room. This was done in 28mm lagged copper pipe work (see below). This will eventually be reinsulated and boxed in to match the adjacent brick work.

The removal of the old softener and reconnection of the softened water supply, to the hotel, was undertaken in an afternoon when it was necessary to disconnect the water supply for three hours. On final link up the softener was flushed several times to eradicate any contamination, within the system, before being finally commissioned.

We would like to thank Leslie and her staff for their assistance during the installation and for allowing us to publish this project as a case study.