HVAC systems are designed to remove unwanted and potentially harmful pollutants from the air, creating a bacteria-free environment whereby certain work processes can be better conducted. This is particularly true to the health care industry, and even more so considering the demand for health care will only rise in conjunction with population increases.
But the buildings that house health care facilities themselves are of equal importance to the overall practicality of improving public health and meeting the collective and individual needs of patients. Because hospitals, medical practices and emergency rooms are filled with sick patients on a daily basis, optimal atmospheric conditions are a necessity.
With the amount of activity going on inside of these buildings, indoor air quality can suffer considerably, especially when factoring in the amount of illnesses and airborne pathogens present.
A study from the Medical Science Monitor found hospitals are not only at risk for biological pollutants, but chemical ones as well. Latex allergens and nitrous oxide are just a few of the chemicals that routinely escape into the air – air that is breathed in by sick patients.
Further, a report from the Journal of Family & Community Medicine indicated that IAQ levels inside of hospitals were also heavily impacted by outdoor sources of pollution, mainly from vehicle traffic.
Without following standard protocols and installing several systems of controls and sensor modules, these facilities cannot operate in an efficient and safe way that benefits public health. An optimized HVAC system with consistent and proper testing and controls is the only way remove impurities and contain the outbreak of potentially lethal diseases.
Ventilating clean airflow
One of the largest problems with air quality inside of health centers is that stagnant air possibly carrying pathogens may remain indoors for too long without necessary ventilation, according to ACHRNews. The best way to mitigate issues that may arise from this is to make sure the HVAC unit is filtering in clean, cold air to create a more stable balance of airflow.
The key is to regulate pressure levels throughout different parts of the facility, so that clean air can be moved into contaminated areas. This is the task of the exhaust fans, however, if there are leaks, corrosion or damages present in the HVAC unit, then maintaining these pressure levels will be difficult, which will allow for dirty air to coalesce.
Using coatings to reduce bacteria
While the HVAC system must be monitored continually, if the HVAC coils are not maintained or cleaned often, then they could allow mold, mildew and bacteria buildup to seep into clean areas. These particles can find their way into operating rooms, into patients' bloodstreams or on the medical equipment that doctors use, which can significantly impair medical results, particularly for those who are more prone to infection.
Because patients and health care providers typically spend a large quantity of time indoors, the chance for infection is higher, especially in the presence of contaminants. To ensure HVAC coils are not contributing to poor air quality, an engineer or technician should inspect the condition of the coils. If rust, buildup, leaks or other damages are present, they should be replaced immediately.
In some cases, repair measures may improve short-term durability of HVAC coils, but a better long-term strategy is to install HVAC replacement coils. This will keep the HVAC system running more efficiently while noticeably improving IAQ.
The key to better coil performance is HVAC coil coatings. By applying multiple layers of superhydrophobic polyurethane to the coils inside of the HVAC unit, coils are able to withstand corrosion and deter water from gathering. These coatings effectively remove the conditions for bacteria to survive and increase the lifespan of the copper or aluminum metals.
Health care facilities must be more attentive to the performance of their HVAC coils than other large commercial or industrial buildings due to the increased risk of patient infection and possible spread of illnesses. Focusing on temperature, pressure and ventilation controls while replacing damaged HVAC parts is the most efficient method to improve indoor air quality and save money on maintenance and energy costs.
Rahn Industries has a full lineup of spray and immersion (dip)/ Bake protective coatings to meet your needs.