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When the summer heats up, HVAC/R keeps it cool

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Airman 1st Class William McCann, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, troubleshoots an air condition unit's condensation pump at the Base Honor Guard facility here July 8. The AC unit had a leak, so Airman McCann repaired the pump, which removes the condensation that is produced during the AC process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Airman 1st Class William McCann, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, troubleshoots an air condition unit's condensation pump at the Base Honor Guard facility here July 8. The AC unit had a leak, so Airman McCann repaired the pump, which removes the condensation that is produced during the AC process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Chris Gaskins, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician, puts the finishing touches on a boiler stack here July 7. The boiler stack prevents harmful gases from entering the building. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Chris Gaskins, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician, puts the finishing touches on a boiler stack here July 7. The boiler stack prevents harmful gases from entering the building. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Chris Gaskins, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician, wipes the sweat from his face while installing a new boiler stack on a roof top here July 7. The HVAC/R shop Airmen work in many extreme temperature conditions including roof tops, mechanical rooms and attics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Chris Gaskins, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician, wipes the sweat from his face while installing a new boiler stack on a roof top here July 7. The HVAC/R shop Airmen work in many extreme temperature conditions including roof tops, mechanical rooms and attics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Chris Gaskins and Ron Skinner 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician, assembles a boiler stack here July 7. The previous boiler stack had rusted due to wear and tear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Chris Gaskins and Ron Skinner 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician, assembles a boiler stack here July 7. The previous boiler stack had rusted due to wear and tear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, performs routine maintenance in the attic of the Jason D. Cunningham Airman Leadership School here July 7. The HVAC/R shop performs recurring maintenance to every HVAC system on base, completing large-scale work orders where they either install brand new systems or completely replace an existing one. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, performs routine maintenance in the attic of the Jason D. Cunningham Airman Leadership School here July 7. The HVAC/R shop performs recurring maintenance to every HVAC system on base, completing large-scale work orders where they either install brand new systems or completely replace an existing one. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, cleans out a drain line in a dormitory room here July 7.  The drain line requires cleaning because air condition units leak due to sludge build up. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, cleans out a drain line in a dormitory room here July 7. The drain line requires cleaning because air condition units leak due to sludge build up. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- A stack of used filters lie on the floor next to a box of new ones here July 7. The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration shop does quarterly, annual or semi-annual maintenance depending on the type of unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- A stack of used filters lie on the floor next to a box of new ones here July 7. The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration shop does quarterly, annual or semi-annual maintenance depending on the type of unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, enters into a base warehouse to purchase filters here July 7. This warehouse provides supplies for all base agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, enters into a base warehouse to purchase filters here July 7. This warehouse provides supplies for all base agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, explains a problem with an AC unit to Staff Sgt. Craig Nutting, 23rd CES HVAC/R craftsmen and Jose Hernandez, 23rd CES HVAC/R supervisor here July 7. If any difficulties arise while working on a job, the shop members can always look for guidance from their experienced shop foremen and peers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman, explains a problem with an AC unit to Staff Sgt. Craig Nutting, 23rd CES HVAC/R craftsmen and Jose Hernandez, 23rd CES HVAC/R supervisor here July 7. If any difficulties arise while working on a job, the shop members can always look for guidance from their experienced shop foremen and peers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones/RELEASED)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Do you ever find yourself complaining about how hot it is inside your office?

Ironically, the individuals of the 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron's heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration shop work all day in the blistering heat and harsh conditions while others enjoy the fruits of their labor.

"These Airmen are always behind the scene and never get the praise they deserve," said Master Sgt. Tiffany Berard, Jason D. Cunningham Airman Leadership School commandant. "You don't realize how much being comfortable impacts your learning or work environment until the air conditioning stops working. It becomes impossible for the instructors to teach because students are focused on staying cool instead of learning."

During the summer months, South Georgia temperatures average 92 degrees, with record highs of 105 degrees. Due to these extreme summer temperatures, air conditioning systems work overtime, so the HVAC team has to work long hours to sustain maintenance and equipment repair.

"Eighty-five percent of our workday is spent outdoors," said Jose Hernandez, 23rd CES HVAC supervisor. "Our shop motto is 'we work on air conditioning, not in air conditioning.'"

The HVAC/R shop consists of 15 Airmen and seven civilians who handle all air conditioning and heating, as well as most of the ventilation, for Moody, Grand Bay, Grassy Pond and the Stockton radar site. In total that capacity equates to 7,100 tons of air conditioning. Figuring the average home uses up to three and a half tons, that's more than 2,000 homes.

"In the summer it is not uncommon for us to receive 10 to 15 service calls daily to repair inoperative air conditioning," said Mr. Hernandez. "In addition, we average 8 to 10 hours of overtime weekly."

When the temperatures rise, AC units are prone to failure since they have to work so much harder to keep an area cool. The basic law of AC is that air conditioning and refrigeration are provided through the removal or absence of heat. So when outdoor temperatures are extremely high, the AC unit has to remove more heat than normal, causing it to overwork and possibly overheat.

"I once responded to 18 stand-by calls over one weekend," said Senior Airman Steven Kindle, 23rd CES HVAC/R journeyman. "Most stand-by calls range from major failures on AC units to simple condensation leaks.

"The facilities that normally call are buildings that store a lot of server equipment, computers, etc.," he added. "That weekend I responded to 14 server/computer rooms where the equipment overheated and the servers began to shut down because of AC failure."

According to the Air Combat Command Energy and Facility management policy, most facilities temperatures are regulated to be no lower than 76 degrees in the summer and no higher than 68 degrees in the winter. This policy was established to promote energy conservation and cost control.

"With the ever-increasing technology and deployments down range, today's Airmen and equipment depend on a comfortable atmosphere to either rest or operate in," said Mr. Hernandez. "That's where we come in. We understand our role and how vital it is to completing the mission."