Thursday, September 21, 2006

Like a Heat Wave

At the risk of being labled That Pain-in-the-Butt Chief's Wife, I called housing maintenence for the second day in a row.

I left off in my post last night baking in the oven that is called our living room. The heat was on alright! With the thermostat set at 66 F, by bedtime the temp in the house was 85, and it stayed that way all night. I was miserable (oh, and so was Bren, lest I be the only whiner in the family).

First thing this morning I called maintenence and talked to another very nice man on the phone. I told him I was melting. He tried to explain how the heating works here. Did not compute. In my experience, you set the thermostat at the temperature you want it, then the heat comes on long enough to raise the room to that temp, then shuts off. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But that's central air and we're not in Kansas Virginia anymore. Central air cannot compete with -50F temperatures, so our heaters use water mixed with glycol (an anti-freeze) heated by steam at a facitlity here on base. When the thermostat is turned up, heated water is sent through the pipes to the heaters on the floor, the air at floor level is heated, then rises, warming the room. If the thermostat is turned down, it can take quite awhile for the heating process to shut down.

I think.

Anyway, by the time the heating guy arrived, the house was down to the mid-70's, so he suggested I set the thermostat at 60 and open the doors and windows to further cool things down.

After leaving our house he went next door to check on the water heater situation (the water heater for our duplex is in the basement nextdoor). The temp regulator broke which made the tap water extremely hot (remember, it's heated by steam). The lady nextdoor has two little kids and was greatly concerned, so she called that one in. The water was so hot I was able to make my instant coffee with tap water this morning. I think this issue has been resolved as well.

(This pic is of Bren standing out on the patio cooling off before leaving for school. She was wearing a turtle neck sweater and was too hot in the house.)

So far I have been very impressed with the housing staff at this base. I know we have a lot to learn about living in a unique environment that is Alaska, but people have been more than willing to give us their perspective and advice on things. One guy was telling Rick the other day that we can get as much advice as we want, but it will take going through a winter here to determine what is going to work for our family, and what won't. Everyone is different and has their own preferences, and except for the basic survival issues, people will do what works best for them.


CereneOne said...

Wow, that sounds....interesting...a pain...good all at the same time. Good luck getting it to where you all feel comfortable.

Ice Woman said...

Thanks! It's gonna be interesting, but I'm thinking that during the winter it will be so cold that we'll welcome the heat!