Campus / News / February 4, 2010

Students discover how to manipulate heaters

A frigid winter has Knox students looking for ways to keep warm, but some methods are not advisable say administrators.

In a campus-wide e-mail sent on February 3, Director of Facilities of Services Scott Maust asked students to refrain from deliberately manipulating thermostats in their rooms, apartments and study spaces. Influencing the thermostat’s reading, according to the e-mail, causes low temperature alarms. Facilities Services hopes to eliminate such false alarms.

The e-mail encourages students to contact facilities and place a work order if they find a location to be unusually cold.

Students might find that making simple changes to the layout of their space could warm up the room, according to Maust. Oftentimes, he says, vents are covered by furniture or piles of students’ possessions. Moving a dresser might make a cold room more bearable.

Before 1997, students kept warm around the fireplace in the Gizmo. Now just an empty space, the fireplace was put out of commission by an exhaust hood over a new pizza oven installed in the venue. The combination of the hood and the chimney caused smoke to back draft into the Gizmo.

The danger of smoke and carbon monoxide are too great to reinstate the fireplace’s use, says Maust. Though there are alternatives to a traditional fireplace available, no plans have been made in that regard.

From the e-mail

“Recently the Heating Plant has had a rash of low temperature alarms in academic and residential buildings. This is being caused by people hanging bags of ice, snow and ice bottles from the thermostats and room sensors. When this happens, it sends a low temperature alarm to the heating plant.  Facilities employees respond, not knowing what caused the alarm, until they go to the location and then find bags of ice, snow, and ice bottles hanging from thermostats.”

Sarah Colangelo

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