Monday, 11 February 2008


Since the ancient heating system was turned on in mid-October we have had problems in our office; when it was first turned on, it was quite stifling at times, and we complained and asked if there was anything that could be done about it.

We were told that people had been complaining about the heating system for over fifteen years, and nothing had happened yet, but that "they" would look into it - I'm really not sure who "they" are, "they" could be goblins for all I know... Not once in our discussions did we find out whether it was a university service we were waiting on, or if outside people were being hired in to try and fix it.

In early November the top two floors on our side of the building went cold. Previously the other side of the building had been cold, and now they had heat (at a reasonable temperature too). For three months in our office (which is over 2o square metres) we made do with one little electric heater, and every other week we were told that someone was going to take another look at the heating system.

On some days I knew of people who were wearing coats in their offices at their desks in order to stay warm... Until finally on Thursday last week I came in to the office and my officemate Helena said, "The wall started making noises a few minutes ago." The central heating system runs the full length of one wall and so I went over and experimentally put my hand over it... A thin trickle of heat was coming out. We danced a little dance and turned our one bar heater off, and thanked God that finally the thermostats were fixed and we could work in comfort.

On Friday morning I got up to the office, opened the door and was almost floored by a rolling wave of heat. Of course, my desk is right next to the heating... Today, coming in to the office first thing was even worse, the heat even more sweltering. Just above the heaters running the length of the wall we have four large windows. They're all open and it barely makes a dent in the temperature.

We've all fired off emails, but haven't received a reply as yet. At the University of Liverpool, things often just go from one ridiculous extreme to another...

Anyway! Sorry to bore you with this little slice of life from the fifth floor. I'm off out in about ten minutes to meet a friend for dinner, and then we're going to see the Kodo Drummers at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall!

1 comment:

Bilbo said...

Some years ago I worked on an Army post where the decision to turn heating and air conditioning on or off was decided on this basis: engineers visited a number of designated locations on the post and measured the indoor air temperature; these measurements were recorded, averaged, divided by the cube root of the value of the Swiss franc, and multiplied by the number of yammering idiots on TV talk shows to get the "official" base temperature. If that temperature was hot enough (in summer) or cold enough (in winter), the base would turn on the heat or the a/c, as appropriate. I actually saw one of the measurements being made one late spring day...I was waiting in line at the post office in sweltering heat, when one of the engineers came in with his special thermometer. He stood at several different locations around the room and checked his instrument before standing directly in front of a huge, pedestal-mounted fan. He held the sensor in the blast of air from the fan, noted the (much lower) temperature on his checklist, and left. We had no air conditioning for a few more weeks.