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Author Archives: Saige Avery

  1. 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.

     

    A patient in our hospital isolation room with doctor and nurse

     

    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.

     

    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)

    See 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.