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Ayden approves HVAC repairs to the town hall


The Ayden Board of Commissioners approved repairs to the HVAC system at town hall to mitigate mold problems at Monday’s board meeting.


By Amber Revels-Stocks
The Times-Leader

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

AYDEN — Repairs at town hall should have staff and visitors breathing a little easier.

The Ayden Board of Commissioners has approved repairs to the building’s HVAC systemto mitigate mold problems.

“This building originally had a boiler and a chiller,” said Wayne Hardee, Ayden’s chief code enforcer. “About 10 years ago, they redid the heating and cooling system and put in units. The duct work under the building was buried right in the soil. It’s rusted through.”

The floor vents were not completely sealed, resulting in fetid air being pulled into the manager’s office and police department, according to Ayden Manager Steve Harrell.

“This past fall, we started noticing a smell,” Harrell said. “It finally got to the point where the mold was bad enough for us to detect.”

In addition, the system is not properly balanced, according to Hardee. This results in pulling in open air.

“For downstairs, it’s pulling open air from the ceiling. … It’s pulling it in from the roof. It’s just sucking in open air. Anything could be sucked in,” Hardee said. “Up here (on the second floor), it’s using open air from the maintenance closet. … It’s sucking fumes out of the janitor’s closet and everything else. It’s not pulling in fresh air.”

When Hardee discovered the problem, he invited in Eneco East to do air quality checks.

“Some of the checks were negative,” he said.

Town staff hoped the repairs could wait until July when Ayden entered a new fiscal year. However, the mold issue needs to be handled sooner, according to Harrell. The town received a quote for $21,075 for repairs from Eneco.

Commissioners Raymond Langley and Cynthia Goff asked why the mistake had not been noticed sooner.

“We contracted this out 10 years ago, and nobody checked on the repairs to make sure they were right?” Langley asked.

“How wasn’t it discovered sooner?” Goff asked “None of the maintenance being done found it?”

Hardee explained that he could only speak for the last three years, but if the previous maintenance staff did not know what to look for, they “might not never know.”

“I’ve got experience with this. If he was just changing filters, he wouldn’t know anything was wrong, even if he knew to look for it,” he said.

The maintenance staff will put in place a procedure to check ductwork in the future, Harrell said.

“This quote is dated December,” Langley said “Is this quote still good?”

Hardee confirmed it was. If he received a higher quote when scheduling repairs, Harrell agreed to return to the board for a new approval.

Mayor Pro-tem Ivory Mewborn said the planned repairs would fix the problem.

Langley made a motion to approve repairs, which Commissioner Phyllis Ross seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Mayor Steve Tripp was not in attendance.