Moco County School Cooling

On April 11th, Montgomery County teachers were notified by school administrators that MCPS would begin converting mechanical equipment from heat to air-conditioning starting April 15th.

What Does This Mean?

Between April 15th and May 15th, the heat in MCPS schools will be turned off, and the air conditioning will eventually switch on. It will take approximately four weeks to convert all MCPS schools and facilities. 

Common Confusion

Many MCPS students and even staff question why it takes so long to change the heating system over to the cooling system. Many people compare this to how, at their house, they flip a switch or change the thermostat and the temperature converts almost immediately. 

The answer is that school mechanical systems are very different from residential systems. Boilers/Chillers, also known as β€˜Central Plant Equipment’, heat and cool the water which is pumped into the equipment that alters the temperature in a room. However, in most schools, only one set of pipes connects the Central Plant to the room equipment. When the Chiller begins operating, the boiler must be physically disconnected by valves from the pipes. 

Similarly, when the Boiler operates, the Chiller must be disconnected and isolated from the pipes. Before switching valves, the water in the pipes must first be allowed to return to room temperature. The Boiler cannot be started with chilled water in the pipes. The pipe temperature takes roughly 24 hours to equalize. The entire changeover process may take up to two days at each school, during which the building has access to neither heating nor cooling.