FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Whether snow, wind, rain or sunshine: Fairchild can experience every season within 24 hours and for Airmen working in the unpredictable weather, having a comfortable haven to retreat to, is a must.
The 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration Airmen contribute to rapid global mobility by ensuring Team Fairchild’s $5.7 billion mechanical infrastructure operates at peak performance.
“Every day in the HVAC/R shop is full of surprises, we never know what the next service call will be,” said Staff Sgt. Ilya Demchuk, 92nd CES HVAC/R supervisor. “We troubleshoot and repair every kind of HVAC equipment from large chillers and boilers to small window air conditioning units and space heaters.”
The HVAC/R shop provides 24-hour emergency heating and cooling services to the entire installation including the 92nd and 141st Air Refueling Wings, the 336th Training Group, 21 diverse tenant units and 14,000 feet of flight line. They also service the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency and Clear Lake Resort.
“We strive to cool in the summer, heat in the winter and clean the air you breathe throughout the rest of the year and we are not comfortable until you are,” said Staff Sgt. Bradley Molnar, 92nd CES HVAC/R NCO in charge. “We also focus on energy conservation in the spring and fall.”
When the temperature outside is between 60 and 75 degrees, HVAC/R takes two to three weeks in the spring and fall to conserve energy by shutting down the heating or cooling systems except for in mission critical facilities, saving the Air Force hundreds of thousands of dollars.
HVAC/R technicians work with high voltage systems, dangerous mechanical systems, tight spaces and different refrigerants and chemicals on a daily basis. Safety, training and education play a huge role in everyday operations, said Demchuk.
“The HVAC/R shop focuses on safety numerous times a week with constant reminders and safety briefings,” Molnar said. “We ensure all technicians are properly trained on use of personal protective equipment and are up to date with all training.”
With only 10 Airmen and six civilians, the HVAC/R shop maintains the heating and cooling systems for every building on base, maintains refrigeration for both dining facilities, keeps Airmen in the dorms comfortable in their living spaces and ensures mission critical buildings remain functional.
“There are so many different systems and every day could present a different problem,” Molnar said. “You just never know what the next thing is going to be.”