Assistant manager Karen Peters said the old heating unit was falling apart, was a pain to service and was prone to freezing up in winter.
Assistant manager Karen Peters said the old heating unit was falling apart, was a pain to service and was prone to freezing up in winter. Michael Nolan

WIRAC gets an $800,000 reno

THE last time a repairman fixed the decaying pool heater at WIRAC he threatened to decommission the unit because it was in such a sorry state.

That was in winter 2018 and Southern Downs Regional Council has since spent about $800,000 replacing the unit.

The job includes installing new pumps, the new air-conditioning units and a new heat compressor.

"The existing heating unit was running at 30per cent capacity,” WIRAC manager David Jordan said.

"It struggled over the last winter and we've replaced it with a far more efficient and modern unit.”

WIRAC heaters entombed in ice during winter 2018.
WIRAC heaters entombed in ice during winter 2018. Karen Peters

Assistant manager Karen Peters said the old unit required solar, mains power and gas heaters to operate.

"I don't think people realise what it takes to heat those pools,” she said.

"It is nearly impossible to do on one system.”

The new system has a separate filter and heating system for the hydrotherapy pool to be housed in a new shed near the southern entrance to the gym. Separate units will be installed to heat the other pools.

Unlike the old unit, the new one is designed to work in cold climates and should not freeze up.

It will also stop the centre needing gas heaters as backups, saving about $16,000 per month during winter.

"We're not sure of the full cost saving but it should be dramatic,” Mrs Peters said.

The WIRAC hydrotherapy pool is now heated with a separate unit, and a has new water sanitation blend.
The WIRAC hydrotherapy pool is now heated with a separate unit, and a has new water sanitation blend. Michael Nolan

The renovations include a refit of the hydrotherapy pool with a new roof, new lighting, new steel railings and new water. The old chlorine mixer was replaced with a magnesium salt-based blend.

Manager David Jordan said the new blend was better for pool users.

"Magnesium helps to detoxify the body, it is a softer water and it does not have that strong chlorine smell,” he said.

Compressor and temperature control components for the new WIRAC heating units.
Compressor and temperature control components for the new WIRAC heating units. Michael Nolan

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