Our team used the opportunity presented by the amazingly warm weather on Tuesday April 27th to test the chillers and cooling tower, and according to our head of maintenance Patrik Janic, the chillers were “purring like a kitten”.
While we are forced to continue to default to heat until June 1st, should outdoor temperatures reach around 60 or above, and particularly on sunny days, they will make the transition over to cooling. There are sensors our team monitors throughout the building and the goal is to keep hallway air around 70 to 72 degrees.
HOWEVER, keep in mind, changing between heating and cooling is not like flipping a switch. It takes 6 to 8 hours to make the transition – we can’t just start pouring cold water into the system when hot water is already present. That could damage the pipes and mechanicals. AND, we are obligated to keep heating up to a very specific point. So particularly when it is sunny, we know on the South and West facing sides of the building, some units will get hot at times.
Also, in the evenings when lows will be going back down to the 50s or 40s, we do need to aim to begin providing heating at a very specific point. This can be a challenge, and our team will do their best to balance it out. However, it will be tough going at times until June 1st. So we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.
We realize this can be a tough time of year, but we can’t yet switch to cooling.
Our team has already been preparing Park Tower’s cooling plant for the coming summer season, and for the most part it’s ready to go. Despite the warmer weather we are having right now – and we do realize it can be uncomfortable on days like we are seeing this week – we cannot yet fill the cooling tower. The present weather outlook calls for a string of lows in the 30s next week, and sadly that has to be taken into consideration.
Please keep in mind, last year we did not even start the cooling plant until the middle of May.
We have to be mindful of the possibility for freezing temperatures. For that reason we keep a close eye to the weather forecast and once we are team feels comfortable that we can safely fill the cooling tower, they will. Given the time of year, heating remains our priority, consistent with requirements of the Chicago Heating Ordinance. Once our system is ready though, we expect to have cooling available should the weather call for it. We expect by June, the heating plant will be taken out of service for seasonal maintenance, and the system will default to cooling for the duration of the summer.
WHEN WE CAN SAFELY SWITCH TO COOLING, please remember, until the heating plant is off for the season, it does take a lot of time to move to and from heating and cooling. There is no magical switch to turn one off and the other on. We can’t flood the system with cold water when it is already filled with hot water and visa/versa. That would do catastrophic damage to pipes and mechanical equipment. We need to allow the water temperature to moderate before flipping over. This process can take 6 to 8 hours, so please have patience.
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. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the office 773-769-3250.