Heating plant to perform steam blows

by Roy Lee | 11/20/96 6:00am

Students will hear loud noises across campus starting today, as the heating plant begins performing a series of steam blows to clear the microscopic debris from the heat pipes that run through campus.

Bo Petersson, mechanical engineer for Facilities Operations and Management, said each steam blow will be accompanied by an "unusually loud noise," emitting from campus-wide radiators.

Petersson said the College does not perform steam blows frequently, but they are being performed this year because the heating plant is "installing a new boiler and is about to start up the new boiler for the winter."

There will be six steam blows a day and they are scheduled for today, tomorrow and Friday, Petersson said.

He said the first of the series of steam blows is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. with each blow lasting approximately two minutes.

Petersson said the College is performing steam blows because "we need to clear the pipes of microscopic debris before sending heat out to the campus."

"Microscopic debris would normally not matter too much but we are getting a new boiler so we are performing steam blows," he added.

The deafening noise accompanied by the steam blows is the result of the high velocity steam coming from the heating plant, he said. Although the heating plant uses silencers to tone down the noise, the noise will still be loud.

Petersson said "the pressure caused by the flow of steam generates a lot of sound waves and vibrates noise off the radiators. It's going to be very, very loud."

Due to technical difficulties, the schedule for the steam blows is still tentative, Petersson said. The steam blows might last until early next week if problems still persist, he said.

"We are having a little bit of control problems. I can't say we are going to be done by this week," Petersson added.