Philosophy of heat

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    Baghdad Jim

    In a chilly room, a person can put on more clothing to be comfortably warm.

    In a hot room, a person can only strip down so much–but will still be hot.

    So….why do I keep reading how the station insides are kept uncomfortaly hot? A need of function? Or is that outdated info?


    Depends on the building of course, but it still exists. Most are okay, but the problem is especially noticable in some dorms.

    My take on it is that the thermostats are often the culprits. They’re either not located in the proper location, or they have an improper effect on the ventilation. Add to that buildings that are either heavily insulated and poorly ventilated, or just poorly insulated and drafty.

    Whatever the reason, good ventilation in a harsh environment apparently poses real problems.


    Throw in a little physics as well. Heat rises, cold sinks. The upper floors of the upper case dorms are the ones hat are hot, while often the bottom floors are cold. I usually ask for a bottom floor room, but sometimes they can be very cold. Once the temps hit 20 below or so, the showers pretty much always have ice forming on the floor. The air is warm, but sit on the floor long enough and the cold will get to your bones.

    One design problem they face is that if they build on the ground with a good insulated foundation, huge drifts form on the downwind side of a building. Sometimes blocking exits in storms. The current buildings are built on stilts to allow the wind to sweep away the snow. If you are on the bottom the floor becomes a second exposed surface.

    Two of the older dorms have a furnace in the center of the building. The heat flows from the center to the end rooms. The center rooms are hot the end rooms are cold.

    Most of the lower case dorms are comfy

    Baghdad Jim


    So ask for a lower and outward room if possible…

    got it.

    Mike, do McMurd-ites still do the roommate thing in the summer? If so, they’re gonna just luuuuv me…I snore.


    Pole has had chronic problems with the subfloors getting cold, this creates low temperatures in the bottom floor rooms. If the facilities guy (me) screws up and cranks the AHU to get more heat into the bottom rooms, then the top rooms get hot. The problem isn’t too bad to take care of, but when we have fast changes in weather or a lot of wind it can be hard to maintain even temperature distribution on the first floor rooms, namely A4, B1 and B4. A1 pretty much has all the bugs worked out. And after we had sodas exploding on the floor and the pipes freezing we decided it was worth the extra energy to heat the subfloors when it got COLD (below -80.)

    It seems the second floor rooms are usually not problematic, we did have a belimo actuator go out early in the winter and lock open on the heating coil for A1, we had rooms as hot at 90 degrees. Most of our setpoints for berthing are 65, and the rooms are generally in the high 60’s. The design of the station makes for a controls nightmare though, so if you come down be prepared for your room to be where you want it plus or minus maybe 7 degrees. Please don’t bitch too much, it IS the south pole and no matter how hot/cold your room is, it’s a hell of a lot better than sleeping outside.


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