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Author Archives: Saige Avery

  1. Negative and Positive Pressure Room Requirements 101

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    Negative or positive pressure rooms are often necessary to prevent contamination and maintain a climate-controlled environment in various applications. While these rooms are somewhat similar, there are certain differences between their designs and requirements. Here we’ll give an overview of both of these types of environments, including their intended applications and design requirements.

    Negative Pressure Rooms

    Negative pressure rooms have air pressure that is lower than the external air pressure. Negative pressure is achieved through the use of an exhaust system that frequently includes a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter connected to a sealed room. These rooms can trap potentially dangerous particles to prevent cross-contamination in external air. This is why they’re often used to isolate infected patients while keeping people outside of the room consistently safe. 

    Design Requirements

    Negative pressure rooms are designed to contain airborne infections. To do so, there are various design requirements that these rooms must follow, which are outlined by CDC Guidelines, ASHRAE standards, and Healthcare Design Construction Guidelines. As summarized in these guidelines:

    • Negative pressure rooms must undergo at least 12 total room air changes every hour.
    • They need to maintain a negative pressure differential of at least 0.02’’.
    • Exhaust from these rooms and any connected anterooms or toilet rooms needs to travel directly outdoors with no chance of contaminating exhaust from other spaces. 
    • If an anteroom is included in the setup, airflow needs to travel into the anteroom via the corridor. From there, it should be channeled into the patient isolation room.
    • The quantity of air exhaust needs to be higher than the supply airflow to maintain a consistent pressure differential.
    • The exhaust grille must be located in the ceiling and near the head of the bed.
    • All exhaust air must be discharged through a HEPA filter if the fan is below the roof line.

    Misconceptions About Negative Pressure Rooms

    One potentially dangerous misconception about negative pressure rooms is that medical personnel are safer when performing aerosol-generating procedures on patients in these rooms. This is due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that these procedures be performed in isolation rooms. However, negative pressure rooms do little to protect individuals inside the room. Their main purpose is to help protect people outside of the room by keeping aerosols and other particles within the room.

    Positive Pressure Rooms

    A positive pressure room is intended to protect patients from infectious diseases if they’re immunocompromised. While this type of room is somewhat similar in concept to negative pressure rooms, it features certain differences in its function and design. Positive pressure rooms contain a higher pressure in the containment area than the external environment, preventing air from leaving the room and circulating back inside. This prevents occupants in the room from being exposed to any outside contaminants, including potentially harmful particles and germs. 

    Design Requirements

    Positive pressure rooms must follow various design requirements to keep patients protected from outside contaminants. Included in these requirements are the following elements:

    • Positive pressure rooms require at least 12 air changes every hour.
    • They must maintain a minimum positive pressure differential of 0.01’’.
    • If anterooms are used, the airflow must travel to the anteroom from the patient room and then into the adjacent corridor.
    • Normally, a 150 to 200 CFM airflow difference is sufficient for maintaining the ideal pressure differential in these rooms.
    • HEPA filters are required to supply clean air. These filters are normally located at the room’s supply terminals or the main air-handling unit.
    • Airflow to the room needs to stay at a constant volume for consistent ventilation.

    Create Custom Positive and Negative Pressure Environments with Air Innovations

    IsolationAir® Portable Contamination Control System

    If you require flexible positive or negative pressure rooms for your application, Air Innovations has the expertise and solutions you need. Our IsolationAir® unit offers a portable contamination control system that can efficiently convert standard-sized patient rooms into either positive or negative pressure environments. Some of the features of our IsolationAir® system include ductwork, UV sterilization, and HEPA filtration connections. The system also allows for temperature control, isolating the room from the central HVAC system.

    For more information about our systems, contact us today. You can also request a quote to get started on a custom solution for your project.

  2. How to Create Negative Pressure in a Hospital Room?

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    Negative pressure rooms control airborne pathogens by exhausting contaminated air from the building while preventing the air from leaking into other parts of the facility. These rooms are a necessity to maintain the safety of guests, patients, and hospital staff.

    At Air Innovations, Inc., our expertise in negative pressure HVAC systems will ensure that your hospital’s negative pressure rooms comply with industry standards.

     

    What Are Negative Pressure Rooms?

    Negative pressure rooms have inside air pressure that is lower than the air pressure outside of the room. This serves to prevent contaminated air from exiting the room while allowing non-contaminated air to flow into it. Contaminated air flows through a controlled HVAC system, where the air is purified using specialized filters before it exhausts from the facility. 

    HEPA filtration

     

    Creating Negative Air Pressure in a Hospital Room

    Negative pressure rooms are crucial in hospital settings as they isolate airborne diseases like COVID-19, SARS, and MERS from the rest of the facility and prevent them from spreading to patients, staff, and guests. A negative pressure room requires a dedicated space, where a barrier will keep the room as air-tight as possible. For isolation rooms in more open areas, a heavy plastic curtain can block air circulation. If the area has a door, it is important to block any gaps to create a tight seal. 

    When establishing an isolation room in a hospital, the HVAC system will require adjustments to ensure the room has a continuous inflow of fresh air. The contaminated air must be forced out through exhaust vents with a filtration system to purify the air before it exits the facility. An existing HVAC system may be suitable, or a portable contamination system can be used to focus on a particular area.

     

    Types of Negative Pressure Isolation Rooms

    There are two classes of negative pressure isolation rooms, class N and class Q. A class N room isolates airborne diseases within a room to protect the facility from exposure. They are typically near the entrance of an inpatient ward to prevent the spread of the disease during patient transport.

    Class Q rooms also isolate airborne diseases but implement stricter safeguards. Some primary features include an anteroom, self-closing doors, a private restroom to keep the isolation room sealed, and a ventilation system that prevents exhausted air from re-entering the isolation room. Class Q rooms also feature a monitoring system that alerts staff if the pressure changes. These are all crucial features to ensure optimal infection control. 

     

    Hospital Spaces to Negatively Pressurize

    Various hospital spaces should be negatively pressurized for safety and compliance. According to ANSI/ASHE/ASHRAE standard 170-2017 of the 2018 FGI guidelines, negative pressure spaces include but are not limited to:

    • Isolation Rooms for Airborne Infections
    • Autopsy Rooms
    • Bathrooms
    • Public Waiting Areas and Radiology Department Waiting Areas
    • Emergency Department Decontamination Bays
    • Various Laboratory Work Areas
    • Triage
    • Janitor’s Closets
    • Sterile Processing Areas and Soiled Decontamination Areas
    • Soiled Workrooms and Holding Rooms
    • Soiled Linen Sorting and Storage Areas

    General patient examination, X-ray, and nursery areas typically do not require negative pressure rooms.

     

    Testing and Monitoring Room Pressure

    Monitoring for consistent low pressure in an isolation room is vital to ensure the safety of a facility. While a tissue or smoke capsule can confirm if the room is pressurized, modern equipment provides continuous monitoring of the room’s pressure. Electronic monitoring devices can be placed inside the isolation room and outside to trigger an alarm when the pressure reaches a set threshold. Regular inspection is necessary to ensure the devices are not contaminated or broken.

     


    Contact the Experts at Air Innovations for Custom HVAC Systems

    Negative pressure rooms are vital to controlling airborne diseases in a hospital facility. When setting up a negative pressure room, the experts at Air Innovations, Inc. can create a custom HVAC solution for your facility.IsolationAir unit

    Air Innovations offers specialty environment control units to meet the needs of various critical applications. Our IsolationAir® portable contamination systems deploy quickly to isolate a sterile environment and prevent cross-contamination. These systems come equipped with UV sterilization, HEPA filtration, and ductwork connections. Whether you need to turn a room into a negative or positive pressure environment, our IsolationAir® system offers the ideal solution.

    IsolationAir Datasheet

     

    Our expertise will ensure your isolation rooms are compliant with ASHRAE, AIA, and CDC guidelines to protect patients, staff, and guests. Contact us to speak with a representative or request a quote to learn more.

     

     

  3. A Guide to Building Hospital Isolation Rooms

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    At Air Innovations, we’ve designed, manufactured, and tested custom environmental control solutions for OEMs and non-OEMs for over 30 years. This extensive experience provides us with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver appropriate systems for a wide range of industries. One of the key markets we serve is the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals know they can rely on us for products that keep their patients and personnel safe and healthy, such as hospital isolation room systems.

    Below, we provide an overview of hospital isolation rooms, outlining the types available and key considerations to keep in mind when building one for a healthcare facility. Additionally, we highlight the products we offer that can be used to help build isolation rooms.


    Key considerations to have when building an isolation room


    WHAT ARE HOSPITAL ISOLATION ROOMS?

    In hospitals and other healthcare facilities, controlling the spread of infectious diseases is critical to keeping patients, personnel, and visitors safe and healthy. An important element of a comprehensive infection control strategy is the use of isolation rooms. These specialized rooms are designed to decrease the likelihood of cross-infection among people within the facility by controlling the flow of air within the room to reduce airborne infectious particle levels. They can achieve this goal in a number of ways, including by controlling the quantity and quality of intake or exhaust air, maintaining an air pressure differential between adjoining areas, directing airflow in a specific pattern, diluting room air with large volumes of clean air, and cleaning the air with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

    A patient in our hospital isolation room with doctor and nurse

    TYPES OF HOSPITAL ISOLATION ROOMS

    Isolation facilities can be configured in several ways, including the following:

      • Standard Rooms. These rooms utilize standard room (neutral) air pressure levels. They have normal HVAC systems and may or may not have a clinical handwash sink, en suite shower and toilet facilities, and a self-closing door. While they are generally used for patient contact isolation applications, they can be used for normal patient care when isolation is not required.
      • Airborne Infection Isolation (AII) Rooms. These rooms—also referred to as infectious isolation rooms—utilize a negative-pressure differential. They have lower pressure levels than adjacent rooms so air will rush inward rather than outward when the room is opened. This design prevents airborne infectious particles from escaping into other areas of the healthcare facility. They are employed as single-occupancy rooms to isolate patients with suspected or confirmed airborne-transmissible infections.

    Airborne Infection Isolation (AII) Rooms

      • Protective Environment (PE) Rooms. These rooms utilize a positive-pressure differential. They have higher pressure levels than adjacent rooms so air will rush outward rather than inward when the room is opened. This design prevents airborne infectious particles from entering the room from other areas of the facility. They are utilized to protect immune-compromised patients from airborne-transmissible infections.

    Protective Environment (PE) Rooms

    KEY CONSIDERATIONS WHEN BUILDING AN ISOLATION ROOM

    Due to their critical function, isolation rooms must be designed and constructed carefully. Otherwise, there is an increased risk of cross-contamination between patients, personnel, and visitors. While there are many factors to consider to ensure an isolation room will work properly, some of the key ones include air changes per hour, HVAC, pressure control, temperature control, and supplemental controls.

    AIR CHANGES PER HOUR (ACH)

    As per the infectious disease control guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), isolation rooms should have a minimum of 12 air changes per hour using medical-grade HEPA filters. These filtration units are designed to remove 99.97% of airborne particles that are ≥0.3 µm in diameter. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) further specifies that a minimum of 12 air changes per hour are required for new facility constructions and renovations, while a minimum of six air changes per hour are required for existing facilities.

    HVAC

    HVAC systems play a vital role in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. In addition to regulating airflow and maintaining comfortable temperature levels, they also help minimize the transmission of airborne diseases. When properly implemented, they can prevent the spread of contaminant-laden air through air purification, improved ventilation, and airflow control.

    • Standard rooms do not require a specialized HVAC system.
    • Negative pressure rooms require dedicated supply and exhaust systems separate from the building’s systems that do not permit any return air. A HEPA filtration should be connected to the supply system if the room will be used for isolating immunosuppressed patients. Additionally, the air conditioning system should be connected to an emergency power supply to prevent depressurization in the event of power loss.
    • Positive pressure rooms can share an air system with the building as long as the minimum outdoor air requirements meet local requirements and restrictions. However, the supply air inlet should be fitted with a HEPA filter.

    PRESSURE CONTROL

    The recommended minimum differential pressure between the isolation room and adjacent rooms is 2.5 Pa (0.01” water gauge) for both negative and positive rooms.

    TEMPERATURE CONTROL

    Isolation rooms must be appropriately heated or cooled to maintain an average temperature of 75°F.

    SUPPLEMENTAL CONTROLS

    Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation can be used as a supplemental air-purifying measure.


    ACHIEVING CONTAMINATION CONTROL WITH AIR INNOVATIONS

    We offer a broad selection of products that help control contamination in healthcare facilities. For example, our IsolationAir® portable contamination systems can be used to turn standard-sized rooms into negative-pressure or positive-pressure isolation areas for patient care or containment in as little as 30 minutes. They quickly and easily create a sterile environment in an isolated space that prevents cross-contamination, ensuring patients and personnel are better protected against infectious diseases. IsolationAir systems have several key features:

    Standard hospital contamination control systems

    • Pressure control to create a positive or negative pressure differential between the room and adjoining spaces
    • HEPA filtration unit to capture and remove airborne contaminants
    • UV-C sterilization unit to deactivate viruses and bacteria that have accumulated on the HEPA filter
    • Heating/cooling to keep patients comfortable within the space

    The system meets all the relevant guidelines outlined by the following organizations:

    • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
    • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
    • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

    Download our IsolationAir brochure for more details about our line of standard hospital contamination control systems.

    CONTACT US FOR YOUR ISOLATION ROOM ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL NEEDS

    In medical facilities, dedicated isolation rooms are a critical tool for controlling airborne disease transmission. These spaces can be expensive to build and often require extensive airflow control measures to prevent cross-contamination with the rest of the facility effectively.

    At Air Innovations, we understand the importance of airborne disease control in the healthcare industry. Our CDC, AIA, and ASHRAE-compliant IsolationAir® contamination control systems help hospitals, extended care facilities, and emergency preparedness centers improve their surge response capabilities and infectious disease preparedness. The portable units can be quickly and conveniently deployed to convert standard rooms into isolated environments for a number of applications, saving healthcare facilities time and money.

    To learn more about our environmental control solutions and how they can benefit healthcare facilities, contact us today.

  4. ULPA vs. HEPA Filters | Air Filter Selection Guide

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    All heating and cooling air duct systems naturally collect dust and contaminants. Clean rooms, such as those used in the electronics, pharmaceutical, and medical industries, require a controlled environment free of dust, airborne particles, and other contaminants. Ultra low particulate air (ULPA) filters and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are used in commercial air filtration systems to trap extremely small particulate contaminants.

    Hepa filter in hvac cleanroom

     

    ULPA vs. HEPA Filter

    Ulpa vs. hepa filter

    ULPA and HEPA filters share many characteristics but differ in some crucial aspects. Both filters use layers of dense fibers to create a fine mesh filter that removes contaminants as air is forced through them. Both HEPA and ULPA filters use a combination of three main methods to trap contaminants: diffusion, interception, and inertial impaction.

    ULPA filters trap more and smaller particulate matter than HEPA filters. ULPA filters are 99.999% effective at removing submicron particulate matter of 0.12-micron diameter or larger, while HEPA filters are 99.97% effective for eliminating particulate matter of 0.3-micron diameter or larger. HEPA filters can be combined with pre filters to trap larger particles before they come into contact with the main filter.

    The higher efficiency rating of the ULPA filter is due to the increased density of the filter medium, which allows airflow up to 50% lower than HEPA filters and requires more power to move air. HEPA filters have a lifespan of up to ten years, whereas the typical life cycle of an ULPA filter ranges from five to eight years. Choosing the right filter for your application depends on containment regulations and standards in your facility.

     

    Which Air Filter is Better – ULPA or HEPA?

    Which air filter is better – ulpa or hepa

    Filter manufacturers often stress the superior efficiency rating of ULPA filters when compared to HEPA filters. While ULPA filters trap more and smaller particulates, they are usually less effective at reducing the overall particulate concentration in a typical room than the same air filtration system equipped with HEPA filters. This is due to reduced airflow caused by the dense filter material of ULPA filters. ULPA filters typically pass 20-50% less air than HEPA filters, which results in the room having fewer air changes per hour.

    There are a variety of HEPA filters available, some of which are more complex than others. These complex HEPA filters exceed the typical MERV scale of rating, making them the most effective and popular option for many industries.

     

    Choosing the Best Air Filter for Your Application

    Choosing the best air filter for your application

    Determining the best filter for your application requires a careful analysis of your needs and any containment regulations for your facility, including the minimum number of air changes required per hour. HEPA and ULPA filters are designed for use in a variety of applications, including industrial vacuum cleaners to remove asbestos, removing toner dust from office equipment, preventing the spread of airborne bacteria in surgical operating rooms, and other crucial medical air filtration applications.

    Industries such as pharmaceutical, photography, electronics, and more all rely on air filtration systems to protect their equipment and keep people safe. Understanding the requirements of your application and the level of effectiveness needed will help you choose the right air filter for your needs.

     


    Air Filtration Solutions from Air Innovations

    At Air Innovations, we are experts at designing and building air filtration systems for applications that are difficult to address with standard HVAC equipment. We specialize in creating custom solutions that meet containment regulations and any other standards required for your application. Our mission is to design and build an air filtration system that you can rely on to meet the precise tolerances and parameters you need. To request a quote for your application or to learn more about our air filtration systems, contact us today.

    Air filtration solutions from air innovations

  5. Micro Environments: Delivering Comfort And Control In Mission Critical Scenarios

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    There are a handful of professions serving mission-critical functions wherein personal comfort plays a vital role in productivity. From command centers to 911 call centers, having control over heating and air conditioning, as well as desk-lift functions, can make a difference when it matters most. In addition to providing control over environmental factors, Air Innovations has also prioritized making the functionality of the desktop management system as efficient and customizable as possible.

     

    What Do We Mean By Micro Environment?

    One person might feel most energized at a standing desk in a brisk 65℉ room. Another professional sharing the same office might focus best sitting down in a warmer space. Ensuring comfort is necessary when attention to detail and quick decision making is critical to the job function. At Air Innovations, a “Micro Environment” is a desktop management control system that delivers this level of custom comfort.

     

    Climate Control

    At the heart of a Micro Environment system is the ability to control the temperature around a desk. Users can adjust the speed of the cooling fan and regulate the output of the forced air heating. In addition, our Micro Environment units enable users to adjust the louvers to direct air to their liking.

     

    Moreover, the air circulating around the desk first passes through a filter that can trap airborne contaminants such as dust mites, carpet fibers, and mold spores.

     

    Efficiency

    Air Innovations’ Micro Environments systems were designed with efficiency in mind. The goal is to provide professionals with everything they might need—at their fingertips—to maximize productivity.

     

    Controlling the functions of a Micro Environment unit, including climate, lighting, and integrated desk-leg lift, which starts with a color touch screen. The consoles include a USB charger, light, and auxiliary power source to plug in a mobile phone charger or radio reducing the need to rummage around for cords and outlets. The digital control console is compatible with any type of office desk.

     

    Users may also take advantage of the motion sensor that is triggered after 10 minutes of no activity, which turns off any lights and deactivates the fan and heat. Once the person returns, the system activates and returns the fan, heater and task light to the last setting.

     

    The controls box  is made of a commercial-grade powder-coated, lightweight aluminum, taking up a small footprint on any office desks. One added benefit is that all of these accessories require the lowest power usage of any Micro Environment on the market.

     

    Customization

    Efficiency is one thing; being able to customize one’s office environment is what takes personal comfort and productivity to a new level. With our solutions, customization begins at installation.

     

    The controller is not fixed to the console so the user is able to place it either above or below the desk. The lighting is dimmable to provide professionals with options depending upon the time of day or their particular needs at any given moment. The desk-leg lifts can be adjusted to several sitting or standing levels to accommodate user preferences and heights.

     

    The ability to customize the main screen with a personal picture, eliminate or add apps, a memory function for multiple users, field upgradable software, a white noise machine and auxiliary input jack are additional features that round out the Air Innovations micro environment systems.