Two independent equipment failures at Henle Village and Harbin Hall affected hot water systems this week, and students living in Henle remain without access to hot water during peak hours.
A water pump failure in Harbin due to a mechanical malfunction led to a reduction in hot water capacity, while a simultaneous problem with a hot water valve affected a shower cluster on the seventh floor of the building.

The pump in Harbin was replaced within two days, and the valve was repaired after just one day.
Meanwhile, in Henle, a hot water heat exchanger failed and left the system unable to meet the demand during peak usage times.

According to Vice President of Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey, the materials needed to replace the heat exchanger have been ordered, and he anticipates the system will return to normal early next week.

“We periodically experience hot water issues in residential and academic buildings, which are usually attributed to mechanical or electrical failures,” Morey wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It is fair to say the issues we experience are not alarming considering the campus is comprised of approximately 6,000,000 square feet of space.”

Aging campus infrastructure was not to blame for the two problems, according to Morey.

“Our infrastructure challenges are fairly similar to our peers in higher education and facility management in general,” Morey wrote. “Our challenge lies in being able to effectively respond to such failures and to provide quality services while repairing.”

Harbin Hall Community Director Ashley Kockler expressed a similar sentiment in an email she sent to Harbin Hall residents during the outage.

“It is never easy to keep a building this active and amazing running smoothly all the time, and sometimes unfortunate situations arise,” Kockler wrote.

Despite hot water being returned in a matter of days, the incident inconvenienced a number of residents.
Harbin resident Katelyn Shahbazian (SFS ’18) said that the outage came at a particularly bad time, when she and a number of residents were ill.

“Unfortunately, I was actually sick during the time of the outage, so I especially wanted to have a hot shower,” Shahbazian said. “I actually didn’t shower for a few days, personally. A friend and I dashed over to the guy’s cluster in our towels because they still had hot water.”

Meanwhile Henle residents were told to shower in Darnall Hall or Yates Field House until the hot water system is fully restored.

Marla Abadilla (MSB ’17), who was also sick when the hot water failed, said that the situation was frustrating.

“I understand that one of the tanks is still operating, but I’m constantly worried that the hot water will run out any second,” Abadilla said. “Having to worry about taking a warm shower creates a huge inconvenience.”

Hoya Staff Writer Andrew Wallender contributed to reporting.

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