- San Antonio, TX

For Immediate Release (May 26, 2004) San Antonio, Texas — In the case of the Rodeway Inn in historic downtown San Antonio, Texas, the verdict was not to chill. The attractive 125-room Rodeway Inn located in the heart of downtown San Antonio has everything a successful hotel operator could hope for: a great location near many popular tourist sites, easy access, nice facilities and a strong brand name. But Jim Hu, owner & operator of the Rodeway Inn Downtown, was not satisfied with very good. Hu wanted more.

Hu's property had been using a chiller system to provide central air conditioning in his guest rooms. Chiller systems are generally quite large and require an unsightly, rooftop cooling tower as well as a big mechanical room for boilers. Chiller systems use a network of pipes to circulate water for cooling and heating. The only way to control room temperature is to reduce the water flow or change the fan speed. Individual guest comfort is limited because whole buildings must be in either cooling or heating mode. Hu knew his guests would not happy with an all or nothing arrangement and realized the potential for complaints when weather conditions were swinging from hot days to cool nights. "When do you switch the system over? When it's 70 degrees outside," asks Hu. "What about the rooms that receive late afternoon sun and require cooling capabilities later in the day when the rest of the property needs to move to heating mode," he elaborates. And, a central chiller system did not afford Hu's customers the opportunity to individually adjust the temperature in their room to improve their comfort and overall guest satisfaction.

After researching his options, Jim Hu recognized that Friedrich Air Conditioning's packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC) would solve his problems. Not only are PTACs easy to install (a typical maintenance person can do the job) but they are also attractive, quiet and more efficient than the typical chiller system. He selected Friedrich's product because of the company's reputation and competitive pricing.

"Once I installed Friedrich PTACs, I began to see an immediate effect on my bottom line because they are so energy efficient and I can shut off individual units when rooms are not in service. So far I have not spent much on maintenance either. The filter is easy to clean so a housekeeper can just pull it out and clean it when she is cleaning a room. Maintenance doesn't even need to get involved", explained Hu. "Friedrich's service is also very good. On the rare occasion that I have had a service call, the service company has come right away. According to Hu, Friedrich's product is also very quiet which is an added benefit in the hotel industry.

A past president of Rodeway Inn's Owners' Council, Hu says he would recommend Friedrich's PTAC to any hotelier who wanted to increase profits and improve customer satisfaction at the same time. He is planning to convert his Rodeway Inn in Austin, Texas to PTACs as well.

Now Hu's customers are cooling their heels without complaint. "The guests really like it and they are cool and comfortable which keeps them coming back — even in San Antonio's hot, humid summer weather."

Hu estimates that 1/3 of older properties currently have chiller systems installed. He converted his 30-year-old property gradually at a rate of about 50 rooms at a time. The process took several months but was scheduled during the off-season. As many as 20-25% of hotels constructed prior to 1985 are thought to have chiller systems. Many of those systems are still in use and have been repaired and or modified to band-aid operational challenges. If a chiller system goes down, hotel operators are out of luck. Alternatively, packaged terminal air conditioners allow individual rooms to be pulled out of inventory if a unit experiences a problem. The rest of the hotel is unaffected. According to T.J. Wheeler of Friedrich's product management department, "That's the beauty of PTAC. That's why it fits the hotel industry so well."

Founded in 1883, Friedrich Air Conditioning Co., a partner in the ENERGY STAR® program, manufactures room air conditioners, single package vertical air conditioners, packaged terminal air conditioners, thru-the-wall air conditioners, ductless split systems, electronic air cleaners and dehumidifiers.

For more information on the full line of Friedrich Air Conditioning products, contact Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. at 1-800-541-6645.