This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New at the library (updated)

If you have "liked" the Jasper County Library on Facebook, you probably know that the Rensselaer branch is still closed because of plumbing problems:
The Rensselaer Library remains closed today due to broken water pipes. Our DeMotte and Wheatfield Libraries are open regular hours. You may also visit us online at www.myjcpl.org.
or
Due to broken water pipes, the Rensselaer Public Library is in desperate need of barn fans and dehumidifiers. If you can provide please call...
 I needed some exercise this afternoon so I decided to stop by and see if I could learn more. I was surprised to see some big equipment parked next to the library.
A check on the Internet reveals that Dryco is a national company that specializes in climate control for structures, especially dehumidification. The nearest office is in Downers Grove, IL. Judging from the pictures on their website, it appears that the library is using a power generation and a desiccant dehumidifier.

Next to the machines is a small pile of insulation that implies that the water leakage was in the ceiling.
I wandered around to the front of the building looking for more information, and by luck I was able to connect with the librarian, the only one who was willing to talk. I learned that in the twenty plus years since the library was built, it has never had this problem, which indicates just how severely cold we were. Pipes froze in the ceiling and they were not part of a sprinkler system, as was the case at Purdue. The break was over a staff area that processes new items and there was some damage to those items. The break has been repaired and the water system is back to normal. So why is the library still closed? Because the water spread over more than half the floor, soaking the carpet. The library cannot open until the carpet is dry and no one is sure how long that will take. Pay attention to the library's Facebook page or the radio station for updates.

There is some good news. The insurance adjuster put the library in contact with Dryco, and I assume that means that at least some of the cost of cleanup will be covered by insurance.

I initially thought it was strange that the water pipes should be in the ceiling, but that placement makes sense. I think the library is built on a concrete slab, so the alternative to putting the pipes in the ceiling would be to put them in the slab, where a break would be really hard to fix. The timing of the closing is unfortunate because with school canceled for the fourth day this week, a lot of kids would normally be congregating there. And school may be canceled again on Friday--currently there is a two hour delay, but that is what was supposed to be the case today. 

I know the library is not alone with the problem of frozen pipes. One neighbor I know had their sewer line under the house freeze. The local plumbers could tell us a lot more about how much trouble the freeze caused--I suspect they have been busy.

We received a bit more snow today (you can see it on the insulation in the picture above) but the forecast  for tomorrow (Friday) is rain with temperatures as high as 40 degrees. (What a week--it had almost everything: bitterly cold, heavy snow, high winds, sunny, cloudy, and also wet and mild.)

Update: Rensselaer schools were open today (Friday). 

The big dehumidifier at the library was humming today. It had impressively big hoses connecting it to the library. 
 Something new today was a dumpster. That must mean that there will be a lot of things to throw away.
 

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