How heat works in the KMC

Courtesy of the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron

How does heat work on base?

Our district heat network produces hot water and distributes it to base buildings to provide heat through radiators. During the summer months, so little heat is needed that most of the system is deactivated. Once the temperatures drop to 55 degrees Fahrenheit for five consecutive days and forecasts indicate the average temperature for the next five days will stabilize below 55 F, the heat is reactivated.

This is based on a review of the weather data for the past seven years. Within the KMC, the heating season is typically October through May.

What do I do if the heat is not currently activated?

Conserve the heat you have already. Close the windows and window coverings at night to reduce heat loss. Keep the doors to seldom-used rooms closed to keep heat in the rooms you use most. Take advantage of natural heating. Open drapes and rollladens during the day so the sun can warm the inside of the room. If it is warmer outside than inside, open the windows to allow the warm air into the room. Close the windows in the evening when the outside temperatures begin to drop.

Once the heat is activated, how do I set the temperature?

Your radiator control will look similar to the one pictured below. These controls are very different from the thermostats we see in the U.S. This radiator control is both the thermostat and the valve that controls the amount of hot water flowing through the radiator.

For the control to work properly, it must be surrounded by free circulating air. Do not cover it with clothes, curtains or furniture. Remember, radiators do not provide instant heat. Hot water must pass through the radiator, and the heat from the radiator is transferred to the room. Set the thermostat and allow time for the temperature of the room to come up before making any more adjustments.

Radiators are usually located below windows, which is normally the coldest part of the room. A setting of “2” or “3” should provide comfortable heat for the entire room. Often, radiators are constantly adjusted and then windows are opened when it gets too hot. This is a huge waste of energy and money. Last year, the KMC’s heating bill alone was nearly $30 million. By following these simple steps, you will ensure the comfort of your home and workplace, while saving energy and helping to lower the bill.

What if your radiator isn’t working right?

The thermostat and radiator combination is a simple and reliable system with few moving parts to malfunction. However, if the control valve malfunctions there will be either no heat or too much heat.

Occasionally, air is trapped inside the radiator and needs to be removed. Indications that air is trapped inside are knocking or gurgling noises or the radiator only feels hot to the touch on one half. If this happens on base, call the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron customer service at 489-6623/7703 or 0631-536-6623/7703. For off-base heating issues, contact your landlord immediately.