In many US households, it’s easy to take for granted the convenience of clean, fresh water. A simple turn of a faucet, the start of a wash cycle, or the steady stream from a showerhead isn’t typically given a second thought. That is, unless something goes wrong.
Occasionally, before it reaches our homes, this same water can percolate through deposits of limestone and chalk made up largely of calcium and magnesium carbonates. The result is a substance known by a more common term: hard water. And, over time, it can cause major issues, including costly breakdowns in water-handling equipment such as boilers and cooling towers.
Until recently, it was a problem that could have threatened Extended Stay America (ESA), which operates one of the largest hotel chains in North America. With more than 600 properties located across 44 states, ESA has been in the midst of upgrading the guest experience at its locations for a more comfortable stay for travelers. Hard water, however, was threatening to disrupt that process. That is, until Culligan, an international water-treatment company, provided water-softening solutions to eliminate any threat of limestone buildup, thereby improving the customer experience, reducing labor costs, and protecting ESA’s boilers.
Now that ESA has completed its $1 billion renovation and improvement program, the company is shifting its focus to a new prototype hotel that will offer guests enhanced features such as open and expanded common space, increased storage space in every room, a new kitchen design with open shelves above the sink, and faster Wi-Fi. And, depending on local water conditions, ESA will want to protect its investment against the risk of hard water. Studies show that hard water being used over a prolonged period of time can leave behind a visible mineral buildup, which can in turn increase chemical costs and cleaning time. In addition, hard water can also create large-scale buildup inside plumbing systems, which has the potential to create long-term problems—all of which ESA aims to avoid.
After visiting ESA locations, Culligan provided ESA with a number of equipment solutions and offered an estimated return on investment, resulting in the installation of water-softening technology at about 100 individual properties. In each market, Culligan was able to tailor its softening solutions to the area’s specific water needs.
“Culligan is a great partner to Extended Stay America, offering turnkey, high-quality water-softening products,” says Mike Kurcz, director of facilities for ESA.
The benefits were almost immediate. The soft water provided a vastly improved experience for guests, made cleaning easier and more cost-effective, prolonged the life of the boilers, and reduced electricity and detergent usage. It also set ESA up for further cost and labor savings down the road.
“Culligan is responsive, price competitive, and proposes a turnkey solution to retrofit our existing mechanical rooms,” Kurcz explains.
Throughout the renovation project, ESA has stuck to its roots of not being defined as just a hotel brand but rather a home away from home, with on-site laundry and household appliances. Thanks to Culligan, the same water convenience the chain’s guests expect in their households across the US will hold true at any of its locations.
“It is convenient to have one contact with Culligan National Accounts that delivers exceptional customer support and consistency to our water-softening needs,” Kurcz says.