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Jasper Co. Commissioners Seek to Replace Aging Boilers at Courth - KOAM TV 7

Jasper Co. Commissioners Seek to Replace Aging Boilers at Courthouse and Jail

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Boilers need to be replaced Boilers need to be replaced
 Jasper  County officials work to solve a problem with aging and inefficient boilers both at the courthouse and the county jail.

Jail inmates rinse and wash pans after preparing lunch.

With laundry and showers, hot water is a must at the Jasper county jail..

But one water heating unit from the 1980's hasn't worked for several years. And the other, while newer,  is rusting and leaks.

 Sheriff Randee Kaiser says, "It holds  a nine hundred gallon capacity.  You don't want that thing to spring a leak and flood the facility." 

The sheriff would like to replace the gas heated tank system with two smaller hot water on demand units that cost about  twenty  thousand dollars each.

 Kaiser says, "Hot water on demand is more efficient  because you're only using it heating water as its being used. That's what we're looking to go to, something that's a lot more energy efficient.  It's also for future maintenance needs. It's a lot easier to maintain."

Maintenance is  a problem now for the boiler in the courthouse basement which dates back to 1965. It was once fueled by coal, then oil and now uses natural gas to create steam heat.  

Commissioners say they've been lucky to find crews able to work on the system but parts are another story.

Western district commissioner Darieus Adams says,  "What happens  is that they have to fabricate  the part. You can't just go find a piece for this and put it on. They need to build something. We've  kind of been held prisoner in a sense. We're at their mercy."

And for courthouse employees there's no consistent comfort level.

Darlene Wolf a circuit court clerk says, "To me it always feels hot ."

"I'm always cold, " says Kari Epperson.

They both work in the circuit clerk's office with its high ceilings. 

Epperson says, "I run my space heater  all the time, everyday, almost all day."

Others have fans and in the summer window air conditioners are needed.

Clerk Jeanne Babb says, "If we didn't have those and the air goes off, it will be a huge problem."

But little units can add up to bigger energy costs something commissioners hope a new system will change as it has in other courthouses.

Adams, says "They've noticed somewhere around a half savings, fifty  percent savings on their  utility bill. So it something its certainly worth pursuing."

     Commissioners received request for qualifications submissions from two companies to design new systems for heating and cooling the courthouse and as water heater at the jail.

     They plan to choose in the next two weeks which will then lead to the next step of getting  cost estimates.

Sheriff Kaiser says hot water on demand units can sell for twenty thousand dollars and he would need two for the jail. He said there would also be the cost of dismantling the old water heating systems.

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