Yes it is that time of year when Mother Nature throws out [temperature] curve balls better than Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown in 1911 – had to include an early Cubs reference out there!
While September brought average temperatures about 9 degrees below normal, we are getting a mild bounce-back to ideal fall weather this weekend… so where does this leave us with heating vs. cooling and what can we expect? All great questions and the easy answer is the heat is on (outside and inside).
Our Association’s Two-Pipe Heating/Cooling System can only do one or the other and this makes decisions of when to cross-over very tricky; when you get right down to it, the decision can only be based on historic averages as well as current 10-day forecasts – we all know that those can be even more of a guessing game. Nonetheless, we did make the decision to turn on the heat this week and the boilers are running… you may still be asking, why am I still cold?
The best way to answer this question is to say that even though our system is massive in size and our control panels look like Mission Control at NASA, they are operated very much like a furnace at a single family home. The switch gets turned from cool to off then to heat. Once we are in heat mode a temperature has to be set for the boilers to be turned on – if this were a simple switch-on and let it run, your units would reach temperatures in excess of 95 degrees – completely unlivable for almost everyone (except Nichelle – she would prefer Jamaica climate year round). So where do we draw the line in the “in-between days” where we could see daytime temps at 80 and evening drops to 55 or cooler?
No secret here, no magic, a simple setting of 63 degrees is when our system will start flowing hot water through the pipes. This, unlike a home’s “gas-forced air” system, requires time for water to heat up and pass through all 600+ units in two buildings from the basement level all the way up to the 45th floor (yes, we have a secret 45th floor – only contains the elevator equipment rooms, but it is at the floor above the roof deck level). SO, back to 63 degrees… this temperature is reasonable and within industry standards to provide necessary heat while not over heating the entire property. When we move towards the colder months of November, December and so on, we will already be at daily temps below that level so the system will be running 24/7 – and rightfully so – as we ALL need the heat.
For now, as in years past, we will have those that feel a bit chilly and we will have those (this weekend especially) feeling too warm – please know that we would love to make everyone experience their own optimum temperature level for personal comfort always, but we have to look at the greater good for everyone.
During these days, if you are feeling a chill, please layer up – take some time for hot chocolate or a comfort-food meal – it helps, it really does. If you are feeling warm, go ahead and rock those shorts and get out in the fresh air, take a walk by the lake – so beautiful to live in an area with a myriad of treasures to enjoy… bottom line, it wont be that long before we have consistent colder days and nights allowing a mechanical rhythm for our Association.
Thank you for taking the time to absorb this information, thank you for taking the time to look at operations from a 360 approach, and thank you for being great residents in a fantastic Association, part of our amazing city!