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White House Plumbing | Size the Presidential Palace With Us

The White House has 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, and receives approximately 6000 visitors each day. Here’s an estimation of the hot water needs at the world’s most powerful facility.

While the white-washed walls of The White House have become symbolic, we’re more curious about the hot water system at the President’s residence. Did you know about the first time that The White House began plumbing piped water? Circa 1833, after the British burned Washington D.C., the reconstructed White House included a complete plumbing system for the first time.

So, what has changed since then? What does the plumbing system of the White House look like today? Some of these answers can be found in publicly available records. For a deeper estimation, we used our new hot water sizing calculator. Here’s what we found.

White House Plumbing | Hot Water Fixtures & Needs

According to a publicly available record from the White House archives, here are some facts about the government building:

  • There are 132 rooms in The White House.
  • There are 32 bathrooms in The White House.
  • The White House kitchen hires 5 full-time chefs, in addition to the support staff. The kitchen can serve a full meal to 140 guests and hors d’ouevres to over 1,000 people.

White House Plumbing | Using telliSize to estimate The White House's hot water needs

Intellihot’s proprietary sizing calculator uses data from over 19,000 N. American properties to provide guaranteed hot water sizing estimations. Let’s walk through telliSize’s simple procedure for The White House. We will be using natural gas as the energy source for this example.

The property type selection loads data from other facilities with similar hot water usage patterns.

telliSize’s property type field is crucial. It uses this selection to provide guaranteed estimations of hot water consumption patterns using data from similar properties of that type. For this example, we would need to make some assumptions. 

Apart from serving as the President’s official residence, The White House also hosts various dignitaries and guests. For instance, President Barack Obama had invited celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, and Beyoncé for a soirée before his departure. Overnight guests of the President, however, stay at the Blair House. 

To account for the 32 bathrooms – most of which are not likely to be used regularly, let’s assume the property type “hotel.” Just like The White House, a hotel’s bathrooms would only be used when occupied. Yet, accounting for all the bathrooms is necessary for peak usage times. 

What about the kitchen though? telliSize accounts for food-service related hot water needs for the hotel property type as well – since several hotels include restaurants and kitchens for their guests. We can account for these in the fixture fields.

Basic installation details and high-temperature fixtures

telliSize lets you customize your hot water system with simple selections. For this example, lets set ASME requirement to “Yes”, Fuel Type to “Natural Gas”, the installation location to “indoor”, and the mounting option to “wall or floor mount.” We’ll add a redundant heat exchanger too. After all, the First Family should never run out of hot water for any reason. 

telliSize also lets you size hot water systems with multiple temperature zones. To account for The White House’s massive kitchen facilities, let’s select a booster setup. The White House’s main kitchen is markedly separated from the President’s living quarters, as reported by The New Yorker

“When not upstairs, in the family quarters, the staff works in a labyrinth of rooms below the White House’s northern steps, a space concealed from onlookers milling about on Pennsylvania Avenue.”

telliSize automatically loads geographically related information.

telliSize automatically inputs geographically-related details like incoming water temperature. All it needs is the zip code.

A list of hot water fixtures is all that telliSize needs:

After inputting the number of rooms (132 in this example), telliSize automatically pre-fills counts for fixtures like shower and tub. Let’s correct these to 32 since we know that The White House only has 32 bathrooms. If this was an actual hotel, all 132 rooms would have attached bathrooms. 

Let’s assume some fixture counts for The White House’s kitchen. There are actually 3 kitchens in The White House: the main kitchen, a pastry kitchen, and a family kitchen in the Executive Residence.

Let’s assume that each kitchen has a 1-compartment sink, a 3-compartment sink, a commercial dishwasher, and 1 mop/slop sink. These are some standard hot water fixtures that we’ve witnessed in other properties’ kitchens. We would mark these fixtures as high-temp fixtures, indicating that these should be a part of the boosted setup. 

(Note: These fixture counts are assumptions based on secondary data like news reports and our own experience sizing commercial properties. The actual hot water fixtures at The White House are likely to be different.)  

That’s it! Let’s see what our results are:

White House Plumbing | The Presidential Hot Water System

White House Plumbing Results

telliSize provides 3 different sizing options – one can choose between a system that prioritizes redundancy, cost-savings or a balance of both. For this example, let’s select the option with the highest redundancy – it’s the Presidential Palace, after all. Redundancy is indicated with % additional capacity. Option 2 has the highest additional capacity here. 

According to our assumptions, telliSize predicts that The White House needs to satisfy a peak flow rate of 16.02 gallons per minute and a peak energy demand of close to 385, 000 BTUs/hr. The booster for the kitchens would need to satisfy an additional peak flow rate of 10.4 gallons per minute with a peak energy demand of approximately 182,000 BTUs/hr. 

telliSize also provides estimations of the type, and number of Intellihot units that are guaranteed to meet the hot water demand. If the results cannot meet the hot water demand of the fixtures indicated by the user, Intellihot pays for any additional equipment. 

Check out what telliSize predicts for your commercial property by clicking on the button below. 

Think you can assume the hot water fixtures at The White House more accurately than our estimations? Prove it to us! Set the property name as “The White House Challenge” and calculate away: 

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