What's on my mind.

15 January 2008

I can has Heat?

No water dripping on my desk? A ceiling tile?

(I can't remember if I've mentioned this but while I don't work for the University my office is on campus in a university building.) Back last March the water stain on this one ceiling tile changed noticeably and I had some ceiling-tile dust on my desk. So I called the guy here who deals with UA maintenance. Two guys showed up later in the day, barely listened to me, went up in the ceiling and said (paraphrasing) 'oh, this valve is leaking. We'll close it for now, order a replacement, and be back in a week or two.' About a month later our go-between forwards me an email request from UA maintenance to take a survey about the service. I carefully fill it out and in the 200 word comment space I give a pared down explanation that my work order is NOT finished. No one ever shows up to replace the valve.

All summer we freeze, but that isn't so odd; our building has powerful AC and it is often cold in the summer. Then it starts getting cool and we still freeze. Many of the UA buildings are on a campus wide steam heat and they have certain requirements for turning on the heat (One being the forecast 24 hour average temperature for 3 days must be below 45 to turn on the steam; there is some discretion allowed.). The University managed to make it the entire fall semester without turning on the steam. Only thing is, my building isn't on steam heat. We were freezing, particularly when it warmer outside. Finally I ran into someone waiting for the elevator and I asked her if it was cold upstairs and she said no. They hadn't had any problems. The heat was on in the building but on my hall we were not benefiting form it.

I find a thermometer (it has to be below 68°F before the is a "problem") and it was, iirc, 55°. Our go-between guy calls the UA people. They send someone right over (it was the Friday before the university closed for Christmas). He comes in my office, goes up in the ceiling and says 'someone closed your steam valve. Wonder when that was?' I ask if it could have anything to do with the leak I had had. Answer yes. This building, according to this guy, has the chillers and heat always going and they balance each other out. So the reason we froze all summer, fall, and early winter was because on my hallway there was no heat to warm the cold air coming from the chillers. He opened the valve and put a tray under it to catch the water and said that would do until after New Year's. And that he'd order a replacement valve. Haven't seen anyone yet.

This morning I went to get my eyes checked and got to work about 10. This is what I saw when I opened my office door.

Good thing I haven't kept anything important on that part of the desk all year. I emailed our guy again. He contacts the AC shop and they say they'll send someone over to fix all our problems. (yeah right, they've had ac/heat problems on this hall since they moved in here in 1994.) No one showed up before lunch.

This is what greeted me after lunch.

The metal tray fell down a little while later while I was talking to someone who was just inside the door. We've had our stress test for the week. Now I'm just waiting for the maintenance guy. Guess I should pick up the tile pieces.

Update, 2:28: Dude is in my office with a ladder. Apologized for forgetting to come back after holidays (he'd even written himself a note and forgot). Something might get done!

Update 4:02: Dude just left. He adjusted the set point on the thermostat for our hall to 73.5. Apparently no matter what the thermostat looked like it was set for it would only go to 71. He'll be back in the morning (left ladder, to be sure) so he can climb up there and get a better look at the valve that is leaking. It doesn't have any identifying info visible, so he'll have to figure out what to order for a replacement.

Update 1/16: They left just before lunch, we have a new valve and excellent heat. Now I just need a new ceiling tile and my carpet to dry.:)

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