Heating & Cooling

Problems that might qualify as a heating or cooling emergency:

  • Active leaks (more than a drip) from any heating or cooling device.
  • No heat for an entire building during winter
  • No cooling for an entire building during summer

General Heating and Cooling Information

The heating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) in nearly all university buildings cannot simultaneously operate both air conditioning and heat.  Facilities Services uses extended weather forecast and historical weather data to determine when the systems should be switched each fall and spring.  Generally, heat is turned on mid-October and air conditioning is turned on mid-April, although allowances are made for variable weather patterns.

All HVAC system air filters are cleaned and replaced regularly.  If you believe your air filters haven’t been cleaned, place a FixIt request.  AC units in some residence halls may have drainage pans installed overhead for condensation.  If the drain begins to leak during AC season, make sure to close all windows and that steam from the bathroom is not directly hitting the vent.  If you have a leak, move your belongings out of the way and call Facilities Central at 202-994-6706.

How will I know when the air conditioning/heat is turned on in my building? 

Impending changes will be posted on FixIt.  Long-range weather forecasts are used to determine the best possible time frame to initiate the seasonal transition.  A full campus transition may take a few days to accomplish, so some buildings may change over before others.

Can I control the temperature in my room?  

Central heating/cooling units in most buildings operate within a maximum/minimum temperature range.  Units in individual rooms may be somewhat adjustable within that range either by wall mounted thermostats or unit control panels with on/off, hi/low fan speeds, and cooler/warmer dials.  Window-mounted air conditioning units have their own controls located on the units, although occasionally there may be wall-mounted thermostatic controls.

What if it is too hot in my room or office during the air conditioning season or too cool during the heating season?  

There can be wide swings in daily temperature during early fall and spring in the DC area before building systems are transitioned.  Transitioning mechanical systems from heating to cooling, and vice versa, may take a few days to accomplish.  During the cooling transitional period, turn off heating units, turn on ventilating fans if available, and open windows (unless it’s raining).  During the heating transitional period, use layered clothing and blankets as needed.

Have a maintenance request?

Submit your maintenance issue through FixIt, our on-line maintenance portal. 

Emergency requests should be called into Facilities Central at 202-994-6706 option 2.