Posted at: 11/12/2012 6:02 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News
After a lengthy test run, Albuquerque's public schools appear to be ready for winter, and that's welcome news for school administrators.
Old Man Winter has a had a thing for APS over the last couple of years, a real grudge. Extreme cold snaps have caused damage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This year, APS workers started getting ready for winter back in July.
"We've gone though the last few months testing our systems, making sure every system is up and running," said APS maintenance chief John Dufay. "When there is a failure it's a minor one where we can fix it quickly. It may be a small part or whatever."
"If the heat goes off from a system and we can't get the heat on for two days, it affects student achievement," said APS operations officer Brad Winter. "You're not having that in the classroom so that's why this is very important. That's why we take it very seriously."
About two dozen APS schools have new ground-source heat pump systems - high tech, low maintenance systems controlled by computers. More will be on the way, thanks to voters approving school bonds in last week's election.
"We know what we're looking at before we even get to the school," said Dufay. "When the school calls and says they don't have heat or it's blowing cold air, we can go online and test it while we're sending a technician to the site. We can let them know what the problem is before they even get there."
Dufay said this fall workers had to shut down and winterize more than 1,600 air conditioning units, and get more than 2,500 combination heating/cooling units ready for winter.