Ridgefield’s West Lane Inn upgrades its heating system

RIDGEFIELD — The owners of the West Lane Inn used the pandemic shutdown as an opportunity to make much-needed enhancements to the property.

Co-owners Christine Carnicelli and Danille Petrie bought the historic landmark in October 2019 with absolutely no idea of what the following year would bring. As the two started to get more familiar with the building, which was built in 1849, they quickly realized they had their work cut out for them.

“We knew we had to do some hardcore upgrades to the building, including the heating system,” Carnicelli said.

When the pandemic forced the owners to shut down last March, they viewed it as a “silver lining” that would allow them to upgrade the heating system without disrupting their clientele, Petrie said.

The inn’s original heating system relied on a cryptic oil pump that neither Petrie nor Carnicelli knew the age of. Carnicelli described the pump as a “big green machine” that could last another two days or 200 years.

The owners chose to remove the old burner and replace it with an eco-friendly, energy-efficient electric system with help from Eastern Mechanical Services and Connecticut Green Bank. Now, guests can change the temperature in their own rooms.

A modern dashboard allows Petrie and Carnicelli to monitor and adjust each room’s climate, which has yielded a slight decrease in the inn’s monthly operating bills.

“The benefits to our patrons are tremendous,” Petrie said. “It certainly makes a happier guest, which makes our job that much easier to do.”

As Petrie and Carnicelli check off one major project for the inn, they said they have a long list of upgrades to make in the near future.