Regular visitors to Alden Library are well aware of our struggles with the building’s aging heating and cooling systems. About a month ago, Facilities Management informed Alden staff that a new pump was needed for the chiller and that this pump was going to take a few weeks to be delivered. In the meantime, as we awaited the arrival of the new part, facilities’ staff have been continuously working to band-aid the chiller when cooling failed routinely. The new pump arrived this week and now a determination about when to make the repair has been made.
The good news is that the pump should be installed and operating in about a week! The bad news is that in order to make the repairs, Alden’s chilled water system will have to be turned off for the duration of the repair time. Work will commence on Monday, October 16.
Jeff Hamilton, Manager of Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning and Control Shops, Facilities Management and Safety, offered further explanation.
What specifically is being done beginning Oct. 16?
The primary issue that will be addressed it replacing a pump on the chiller. There will be additional tasks performed while the chiller is down like checking for any additional issues and other things we can’t do with it running.
How long is it expected to take?
Repairs are expected to take up to a week.
How will this improve Alden’s HVAC performance?
The chiller produces cold water that is then used to cool the building. Essentially the air blows over cold pipes to cool the air. Due to the issues with the pump, the Alden chiller is not producing the water temperature that it should and requires frequent attention to keep it running. By making the repairs we will be able to provide much cooler water to the building (consistently), allowing us to discharge colder air into Alden. The consistency will provide continual comfort without fluctuations.
Why was this time period selected to do this work?
While repairs are underway we will not be able to cool the air beyond what we receive from the outside. We selected this time period based off of the outside air temperature. On Monday 10/16 the temperature is forecasted to be a high of 61 degrees with a low of 37 degrees. The temperature slowly climbs over the week peaking on Friday with a high of 72 degrees and a low of 46 degrees. Given the unseasonably warm temperatures the we have been seeing this season it is unsure how long we will have to wait to experience prolonged cooler outside air temperatures. The longer we wait, the more challenges we will have trying to cool the building.
So . . . Bobcats in Alden, wear layers! Bring your water bottle! Follow us on Twitter (@AldenLibrary), Instagram (@AldenLibrary), and Facebook (@aldenlibrary) to track the temps.