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354th Civil Engineer Squadron brings the heat

Alaska’s notoriously cold winters can be hazardous to people, vehicles, and even buildings if the heat goes out for long enough. 
Luckily, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning shop works tirelessly all year to ensure buildings have heat when the temperature starts to plummet.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Auger, a 354th Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician, removes faulty belts from a return fan Dec. 27, 2017, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Auger inspected all parts of a facilities heating system and found a leaking glycol pump and frayed belts on a return fan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

Alaska’s notoriously cold winters can be hazardous to people, vehicles, and even buildings if the heat goes out for long enough. 
Luckily, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning shop works tirelessly all year to ensure buildings have heat when the temperature starts to plummet.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Auger, a 354th Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician, removes a leaking glycol pump during emergency maintenance on a facility Dec. 27, 2017, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The pump is responsible for moving the heated glycol throughout pipes which ultimately heat the building. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

Alaska’s notoriously cold winters can be hazardous to people, vehicles, and even buildings if the heat goes out for long enough. 
Luckily, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning shop works tirelessly all year to ensure buildings have heat when the temperature starts to plummet.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Auger, a 354th Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician, repairs a leaking glycol pump Dec. 27, 2017, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The pump, which is essential to the building’s heating system, required a new seal to stop the leak and return to normal function. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

Alaska’s notoriously cold winters can be hazardous to people, vehicles, and even buildings if the heat goes out for long enough. 
Luckily, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning shop works tirelessly all year to ensure buildings have heat when the temperature starts to plummet.

A mock heating system within the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) shop Dec. 27, 2017, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. This large array of pipes, valves, and gauges is used to train HVAC Airmen on steam heating systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

Alaska’s notoriously cold winters can be hazardous to people, vehicles, and even buildings if the heat goes out for long enough. 

Luckily, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning shop works tirelessly all year to ensure buildings have heat when the temperature starts to plummet. 

“Eielson’s mission wouldn’t be possible without heat, so almost everything we do during the winter contributes to keeping the heat on and the mission going,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Auger, a 354th CES HVAC technician. 

Though it may seem like a simple task, Master Sgt. Jason Tye, the 354th CES HVAC NCO in charge, says they maintain heating for over 1,100 facilities each year.

“During the summer months we do preventative maintenance on the base’s heating systems so they are ready to go each winter,” said Tye. “Once winter is here, we switch over to emergency maintenance on broken or malfunctioning systems.” 

If the systems are broken it can quickly lead to other problems, such as the pipes freezing. The HVAC shop responds quickly to bring the heat back online and are able to provide emergency heating equipment if the job takes too long. 

Even the way Eielson heats its buildings provides a challenge for HVAC Airmen who are new to Alaska.

“Most Air Force bases use natural gas and hot water to heat their buildings, but Eielson uses steam,” said Tye. “For this reason there is a small adjustment period where many of our new Airmen have to familiarize themselves with a different way of heating.” 

Even through Alaska’s tough climate, the HVAC shop rises to the challenge and brings the heat. Fighting off “Old Man Winter” and keeping Eielson’s Airmen ready to go at 50 below.