It’s hot! Or rather it was ... and will be again soon. One question I am frequently asked is what can be done about the Picerne Military Housing homes which don’t seem to cool satisfactorily? Well, first we need to go back in time a bit.
When the homes were built at Fort Polk, many were designed with a geothermal heating and cooling system. That means the cooling and heating is controlled, in part, by the ambient temperature of the well system.
Skipping straight to the bottom line — that means the systems’ maximum ability to cool is limited to about 15 degrees cooler than the outdoor temperature.
That’s OK when it is 80 degrees outside but when the mercury climbs over the century mark, well, that’s a different story.
What Picerne has done over the past several years is to systematically improve the capacity of the geothermal well systems.
They’ve accomplished this by upgrading air ducts on more than 3,100 homes to allow greater air flow.
Additionally, to improve well capacity on more than 200 homes, geothermal wells were combined and air to air units installed. These improvements have had favorable impact on the comfort level of these homes.
This is an improvement to more than 350 homes since last July. So, rest assured, they’re working on it!
So what if you live in one of the 300 homes which haven’t received upgrades yet? I’m glad you asked.
This week, Col. Roger Shuck (garrison commander) and I posed the same question and this is what you can do to mitigate the heat, particularly upstairs.
Picerne recommends a 5,000 British thermal unit window air conditioning unit be used by those Families that require additional cooling. These are considered to be safe to install in all homes without having to worry about the current draw on the electrical system of the home.
We spoke with Beth Pritchard, general manager of AAFES and she identified an air conditioner which meets that standard and costs right at $100. She has ordered an initial stock of these models and she expects them in before the end of the month.
Remember — Fort Polk asked for, and was granted, a moratorium on the Live ARMY Green utility program, so if you live in one of these homes, the months of April through September electrical consumption reports should show, “No Action.” Finally, Sarah White, our Residential Commuinities Initiative program manager would be happy to help you if you need more information.
Remember — as with all challenges, communication is the key!