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Keeping Aviano cool
Airman 1st Class Corey Willis, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration apprentice, attaches a manifold gauge assembly to an air conditioning unit outside a dormitory complex July 21. The HVAC/R team is responsible for all air conditioning and heating units within the dormitories, Base Exchange, Commissary, and all work centers around the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tabitha M. Lee)
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Keeping Aviano cool

Posted 7/22/2010   Updated 7/22/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Tabitha M. Lee
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/22/2010 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Sweat drips from the forehead of an Airman as he troubleshoots an air conditioning unit outside a dormitory building in 85-degree, humid weather. Air condition repair is only one aspect of Airman 1st Class Corey Willis' multifaceted responsibility as a 31st Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration apprentice.

The HVAC/R team keeps Aviano Airmen's quality of life at its fullest. They are responsible for all air conditioning and heating units within the dormitories, Base Exchange, Commissary, and all work centers around the base.

"We maintain almost anything that regulates temperature," said Airman 1st Class Corey Willis.

The team receives approximately 10 to 15 work order requests a day. These requests are for anything from the hot water being out in a single dormitory to the cooling units out in a communications server room. During extreme hot or cold seasons, which are from June to August and December through February, the HVAC/R team receives more than 30 work order requests a day.

Work orders have three priority levels: routine, urgent and emergency. Routine requests have to be fixed within 30 days, whereas urgent requests are allotted five days. Emergency request have to be repaired within 24 hours. Most of these calls are urgent.

"Every work order is important, which makes it hard to explain priority," said Tech. Sgt. Adrian Nevarez, 31st CES HVAC/R craftsman.

Once a request comes in, HVAC/R personnel are dispatched to assess and fix the situation. One of the most common causes of delay on completing a request is waiting on parts. However, once the parts are available, the HVAC team fixes the problem as quickly as possible.

With the amount of requests they receive, it is common to find the HVAC/R team working past regular duty hours to complete their mission.

"The mission comes first, no matter how long it takes," said Senior Airman Jeremy McNeely, 31st CES HVAC/R journeyman.

The HVAC/R team rotates a weekly on-call duty in order to ensure emergency situation are taken care of even after normal business hours.

The biggest role that the Aviano HVAC/R team fills is keeping communications equipment cooled.

"If there is no air conditioning in the communication rooms, there wouldn't be Internet or any way to communicate because the computers would overheat," said Airman 1st Class Antonio Ramirez, 31st CES HVAC/R apprentice. "That's one of our main missions."

It is important to keep personnel and equipment cool however, team Aviano should always keep energy saving in mind.

"Turn air conditioning units down when a building is not being occupied," said Staff Sgt. David Chapman 31st CES HVAC/R craftsman. "This will save energy and in turn save the base money."

Working in the exhausting heat to keep a building cool may seem ironic, but the HVAC/R Airmen know their work is important. For Sergeant Nevarez, it's the job satisfaction that keeps him going.

"HVAC is one of those jobs that you see what you put in," said Sergeant Nevarez. "You see the product of your labor at the end of the day."



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