FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Corvias Property Management is in the midst of a project that will completely replace all of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the Allen Heights neighborhood and eventually increase the energy efficiency of homes throughout the post.
With an HVAC duct work replacement project more than halfway done in Allen Heights – 280 units are completed of the 550 homes in the neighborhood – and full-home renovations ongoing in Munson Heights, there are a lot of improvements going on and also on the horizon in Fort Rucker housing, according to Melissa Bryson, Corvias Fort Rucker operations director.
“These are very exciting times right now,” Bryson said. “We’re looking forward to seeing the completion of these projects and also excited about everything to come.”
One person also excited about the renovations, Col. Whitney B. Gardner, Fort Rucker garrison commander and housing resident, said the ongoing duct replacements and soon-to-be-started new HVAC system installations are all about prevention.
“With this area’s high humidity, outdated HVAC systems and faulty duct work can lead to serious moisture problems in our homes,” he said. “Corvias has come up with a smart, solid plan to fix an issue before it becomes a problem that could threaten Soldiers and families. It’s a solid investment – and one that will pay off sooner rather than later.”
Bryson said that condensation is a common problem with air conditioner ducts.
“It is typically caused by the temperature difference between the outside air and the air conditioning vent, improperly sealed air conditioning ducts and inadequate insulation around ducts,” she said. “The duct replacement project, and upgraded heating and ventilation systems are addressing the condensation concerns we have seen at Fort Rucker.”
The entire duct system in the attic space is being replaced with modernized, energy efficient and well-insulated ducts, Bryson added.
“The addition of gable vents in the attic space allows better airflow that reduces the attic temperatures,” she said. “The upgrades improve the overall efficiency of the system, greatly reducing condensation. “
The new HVAC systems that will be installed have a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rating to help offer better efficiency, as well, Bryson said. “Additionally, modernized equipment allows for better regulation of humidity.”
To go along with the new HVAC systems, Allen Heights homes will also receive weather-proofing in the interiors by sealing wall cracks, window and door frames, and vents with polyurethane sealant; weather-stripping around doors; and door-sweeps at the bottom of doors, she said.
But even modern systems with higher efficiency ratings need proper care and operation by residents to ensure no problems arise in the homes, Bryson added.
“Thermostats should be set between 70 to 78 degrees, and windows and doors should be kept closed while the air conditioner is running,” she said. “Leaving windows or doors open while the air conditioner is running creates an environment prone to moisture accumulation.”
Air conditioning filters should be changed as needed – at a minimum every three months, Bryson said, adding that Corvias offers free filters as a part of its self-help program available to all residents.
“Maintenance concerns should be reported to Corvias without delay, so our team of professionally trained technicians can quickly address them,” she said. “Emergency maintenance is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.”
Corvias is undertaking an additional project, forecast to start in mid-October, designed to increase the energy efficiency of all on-post homes, Bryson said.
The improvements include:
* Replace all existing light bulbs with new LED bulbs;
* Replace all existing thermostats with new smart thermostats;
* Replace all existing kitchen and bath sink aerators with new water-efficient aerators;
* Replace all existing showerheads with new water-efficient showerheads; and
* Replace all existing toilets with new water-efficient toilets.
The result of all of these projects will provide residents with upgraded, modernized equipment that will significantly decrease maintenance concerns, Bryson said.
“These new products and systems will also positively impact residents’ comfort by creating an easy way to maintain a uniform desired temperature within the home with the new programmable thermostats and highly insulated ducts,” she added. “It will also lessen our overall impact on the environment by exceeding Energy Star-recommended ratings and reducing the consumption of utilities.”
Unlike the duct work project and Munson Heights renovations, work on the energy efficiency project will be conducted while residents are in their homes, Bryson said.
“We don’t have the exact schedule yet, but we will send out notifications to residents about a week out to let them know we’ve scheduled their renovations,” she said. “We’ll probably complete 10-12 homes each week. There will be minimal inconvenience to residents – the upgrades should be completed very quickly. If for some reason the time we have people scheduled for isn’t a good time for them, we can certainly move on to another house and come back.”
It will be the same for the HVAC system replacements, Bryson added.
“All of those mechanical closets are on the exterior, so the vast majority of that work will be done outside, but we will also have someone go inside to work, as well,” she said. “The systems shouldn’t be off for more than four hours, as long as no issues arise. The timeframe for starting this project is perfect with the temperatures probably cooling off in October, so that should limit any discomfort inside the home for residents.”
Since the work done so far has been completed on vacant homes, feedback has been minimal, Bryson said. However, residents will once again receive a chance to let Army leadership and Corvias know what they think of Fort Rucker housing when the fall Army Housing Survey launches in October.
“We hope residents will take a few minutes to provide feedback, so we can continue making improvements that mean the most to them,” she said.
“Corvias genuinely cares about those we serve,” Bryson added. “We maintain a cohesive and collaborative partnership with Fort Rucker leadership and work through challenges together. We listen to resident feedback and act accordingly. We recognize that we still have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to providing a positive housing experience.”
Residents can reach Corvias through the resident portal, by calling 334-440-8988 or sending an email to Rucker.Resident@Corvias.com.