This time of year, particularly when it is sunny during the day but cool, we have this type of tug of war. Thankfully, we have sensors all over the building giving us temperatures, and usually we can find a balance that maximizes comfort for the majority of residents. Sensors which give us both outdoor and indoor temperatures. From the lobby, hallways, exterior glass, roof and more. For example, on Thursday when it was sunny but the high here at the building was about 60, the hallway sensors consistently read 71 degrees on average. The hallways are what provide air to the units. This and the overnight low flirting with the heating range, dictated that the AC service remain off.
This was in fact so cool, had our team run cooling, we would have been risking the chillers “surging” and some lines freezing up. Without getting into a complicated explanation of what that means, it can cause costly damage to our mechanicals, so we must avoid such conditions.
A few things to keep in mind:
Finally, there is no way we are going to get this perfectly every single day. So please be patient. We appreciate knowing when you sense a problem or are uncomfortable. Let me assure you, no one is sitting on their hands and purposefully not doing their job to turn the heat or AC on. This is monitored pretty much non-stop. Some of our team can even make adjustments via an app on our cell phones. But, it is still not going to make 100% of everyone happy 100% of the time. Especially this time of year when that sun is blasting.
Please have patience – this is not as simple as flipping a switch. When we need to switch from heating to cooling, the temperature of the water has to cool off enough before it can run through the chillers. Likewise, when going from cooling to heating, the water needs to warm up enough before it can run through the boiler. Otherwise we risk damaging the pipes and mechanicals. This can take up to 6 to 8 hours.
Given the time of year, heating will be our priority, consistent with the Chicago Heating Ordinance. Typically we need to default to heating service and only switch to cooling if conditions are expected to result in discomfort. At present, conditions call for cooling.
Once winter weather truly sets in, and we start to expect freezing temps, the cooling tower will be drained and annual maintenance will get underway. After that, cooling will not be available until Spring. As it stands with the present weather outlook, we will be only be on the edge of conditions calling for heat, though cooling may go off on warmer days. Typically we expect the need for heating when outdoor temps are in the mid to low 50s or colder. AC will typically remain available for now, when the sun is out at around 60 degrees or higher.
This range of outdoor temps is typically where we see the need to make adjustments for comfort. We have sensors throughout the interior and exterior of the building, which helps our staff understand condition. They monitor the temps very closely should we need to switch manually or make adjustments. Also, feedback from residents can help trigger manual adjustments which can improve comfort.
When the weather changes quickly, switchovers can be challenging. On those days when it is 40 degrees in the morning, and climbs into the 70s in the early afternoon, it may take quite a while for cooling to be available (if at all). Our staff also has to consider, whether heating will be needed again that night, and the timing to switch back over has to be taken into account.
We realize full sun during the day heats up some units very quickly, but it is conceivable there will be times we may not switchover. We have no control over that so we appreciate your patience in such conditions.
While it will not be 100% comfortable for 100% of our residents, 100% of the time, resident comments and observations can help us make adjustments and improve conditions as much as possible. Contact us at email@example.com, or call the office 773-769-3250.