HVAC issues uncovered


PIATT COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — An engineering mix-up at the Public Safety Building has been giving maintenance crews a headache and making conditions uncomfortable at the jail. The wrong HVAC system is now 15-years old so crews are concerned about upkeep as it ages.

There were supposed to be four, 20-ton air compressors so everything else in the HVAC system was built to accommodate that. Instead, two 40-ton compressors were installed. It’s a big difference.

The system hasn’t been working efficiently. It couldn’t convert all the Freon to gas to make the air conditioning work the way it was designed to, so the extra Freon was turning into sludge. Last year, the jail even lost air conditioning for a couple days.

Sheriff David Hunt says, during the summer, it’s tough for the building to stay cool when heat and humidity kick in. In short, because of the mix-up during construction 15-years ago, maintenance crews say it’s been a lot of damage control.

When asked if the entire system could be replaced, leaders say the county can’t foot that bill. At one point, the county had looked into a lawsuit because of the mix-up, but it never went through.

The HVAC is not the only maintenance issue at the jail though. There are also problems with doors so they don’t always open when they’re supposed to. There are also occasional issues with the sump pump which causes a particularly bad smell in one restroom.

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