Physical Plant explains transition from heating to cooling systems

As the campus moves into the warmer seasons of spring and summer, the Physical Plant would like to take a moment to explain its role in the transition from building heating to building cooling systems.

In most homes, the process of switching from heating to cooling is often as simple as flipping a switch. On campus, the process is more complex and requires more time. University facilities do not have dual piping systems that allow for heating and cooling at the same time. The process, which includes filling cooling towers and various chilled water systems with water, varies slightly in each of the buildings the Physical Plant serves. Because freezing temperatures would cause the heating and cooling coils to freeze, the water must be added only when the temperature is consistently above freezing.

While the Physical Plant typically completes the switch by the end of April, some areas on campus need to be handled differently and can experience changes in temperature both earlier and later than this projected time.

Please be aware that until this transition takes place, the Physical Plant has limited options for bringing cold air to many of the buildings. As the outside temperatures reach over 60 degrees, it is anticipated that some areas may experience uncomfortable temperatures. Please be patient with the Physical Plant if your building or space becomes too warm because of outside temperatures.

For more information contact Jim Hoffman, assistant physical plant director, (651) 962-6530.