Winter is coming – and with it cold weather which can mean problems and emergencies like cold classrooms, burst pipes, failing boilers and no hot water. This will inevitably add up to more expense for the maintenance department, classroom disruption and headaches for the bursar! But with some simple ‘prep’, testing and advance planning, a lot of this could be mitigated.
In schools winter traditionally starts on the Monday after the October half-term, when the temperature has dropped, the school has been empty for a week and it suddenly feels cold when staff and pupils return. So, when the heating is switched on for the first time, previously hidden issues suddenly reveal themselves, resulting in problems like cold classrooms, no hot water or radiators that are hot at the top and cold at the bottom.
But, by undertaking a few really simple tests and checks, problems can be identified in advance and some can even be addressed by a good premises or maintenance manager, avoiding additional costs and classroom disruption.
So, during October half-term week it is worth arranging for the central heating to be switched on and by systematically walking through the school checking that each radiator has heated up properly and the valves can be turned up or down.
If any problems are encountered the first thing to do is to check that the system’s pressure is correct, it may need topping up and depending on the system in the school, it could be as simple as flicking the pressure valve to allow the pressure increase.
If one or two radiators are not working, the system may need to be balanced. This is something that can be done by a good premises or maintenance manager. It involves opening and closing the balancing valves within the system or the lock shield radiator valve mounted on the radiator.
Where a radiator is not fully hot it may need ‘bleeding’. Again, this is something that can often be done in house with a little patience and knowledge, venting a radiator with the circulating pump operating may draw air into the system rather than release air from it so be sure to turn off the circulating pumps before you start to open the air vent.
However, where the problems are not easily identifiable or the boiler will not switch on, that’s the time to call in the professionals. But if you’ve done your tests before term begins – you will be ahead of the game and will be able to get it fixed quickly before school returns the next week, whilst all the other schools are clogging up the phone lines of local plumbers and heating engineers!
About BTU Group:
Further information and photos contact:
Group Marketing Manager
BTU Installation & Maintenance
38 Weyside Road
T: 01483 590 664