The Secrets of Negative Pressure Containment

The Secrets of Negative Pressure Containment

The average hospital lasts more than 40 years, and often as many as 100 years. If you've ever considered buying an old house, or seen others do it on TV, you know just how much renovation and maintenance they require. Now multiply the square footage by more than 10, and you can imagine how much renovation is consistently needed in hospitals not only to keep them going but to continually improve services and meet changing building requirements.

While renovation and maintenance projects may pose little more than an inconvenience to homeowners, they require special attention in healthcare facilities because of the danger that airborne particles, spores, and pathogens released into the air by construction pose to patients. In order to carry out essential construction and maintenance work without harming patients, construction zones must be sealed off from patients, and air must be filtered and diverted away from vulnerable patients. 

To do this, facilities must perform Negative Pressure Containment. 

What is Negative Pressure Containment?

By its very definition, a negative pressure room has more air exiting it then entering. There is less air inside the room compared to the other rooms, hence why it is negative. What this does is ensures that any airflow outside of the HEPA exhaust is flowing into the room to fill that vacuum. Because airflow can only flow in one direction through the cracks or designated makeup air locations, the contaminants cannot escape the room.  Always check regulations when exhausting inside a healthcare facility as regulations can vary.

How to create Negative Pressure Containment

There are four key steps to creating negative pressure containment:

1. Construct a physical barrier around the area. 

Product Tip: You can do this with Abatement Technologies' AIRE GUARDIAN® SHIELD

2. Seal off any HVAC Returns

Tip: This ensures that dirty air does not escape into the rest of the building. 

3. Filter air in the sealed room with a portable air scrubber (PAS)

Product Tip: Use a HEPA-AIRE® or PREDATOR® series Portable Air Scrubber (PAS) from Abatement Technologies.

4. Use a PAS (portable air scrubber) to exhaust the filtered air out the construction zone through duct work

Product Tip: Find compatible duct here

Get it right everytime

Before attempting to create negative pressure, use our air change calculator to determine your airflow needs. Once you’ve followed the four steps above, use a portable differential pressure monitor for the most accurate reading of your negative pressurization. 

Ready to learn more about Abatement Technologies? Contact us today!

Critical Environment Protection

Critical Environment Protection

HEPA based high-quality air filtration equipment

A Critical Environment is any area where something can be easily affected by external contamination. Our experience working with companies that have to do dirty jobs in critical environments started in the 80's with asbestos abatement. The job of removing asbestos required contractors to enlist preventative measures to control dangerous dust particles and that's where we found our niche and specialty. Making high-quality air filtration equipment that incorporated HEPA filtration to remove 99.97% of any airborne particulate that was 0.3 microns or larger.

This created a natural expansion into healthcare construction, as infrastructures age the need to renovate facilities without shutting them, because these types of renovations would be happening alongside occupied patient areas and patients, especially those that are immunocompromised and susceptible to infection from the slightest airborne contamination our specialized equipment was again brought into play, by allowing contractors to contain their construction site and use negative pressure and HEPA level filtration to help prevent the spread of those dangerous contaminants to patient occupied areas.

Recently we have seen the expansion of what would be considered critical environments. These include Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Storage Facilities, Electronics Manufacturing Facilities, Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Data Centers and Server Rooms as well as the expanded concern about construction around employees in any operational work environment.

Our high-end selection of HEPA based air filtration equipment, portable containment solutions, temporary barriers systems, and pressure monitoring equipment combined with our knowledgeable sales consultants make Abatement Technologies the perfect partner for a project in any critical environment.

Principles and importance of negative pressure containment

Dust control equipment and containment barriers create a cleaner, healthier environment for employees, sensitive equipment and manufacturing processes.

Learn how our dust control and air purification products can help maintain a productive indoor environment during construction in government facilities, office buildings, schools & universities, retail operations, storage facilities and manufacturing operations.

Product selection and application assistance

High-efficiency, HEPA-filter dust control equipment and containment barriers from Abatement Technologies® can help isolate and remove particles released into the air during construction, renovation and day-to-day maintenance activities. Our state-of-the-art, cost-effective solutions are used every day to help protect workers, building occupants and production lines from exposure to hazardous pollutants and odors that can negatively impact employee health, comfort and damage sensitive equipment. Abatement Technologies® particle control products can also save time and money by reducing clean-up labor during and after the job.

Learn how our dust control and air purification products can help maintain a productive indoor environment during construction in government facilities, office buildings, schools & universities, retail operations, storage facilities and manufacturing operations.

Contact us for more information! 

Things To Consider Before Comparing Airflow Ratings

 

Things to Consider Before Comparing Airflow Ratings

Why airflow ratings can be very misleading and the cheapest units are often the most costly.

No industry-standard airflow rating method

There is no standardized method that manufacturers use to rate the airflow of their air filtration devices. Different methods can produce widely varying and often misleading results, and make direct comparisons between brands difficult if not impossible.

Compare ‘Apples & Oranges’

The most overstated and inaccurate method used bases device airflow ratings on the AMCA “free air” blower rating, which is a test bench measurement of the airflow the blower can produce at various motor horsepower levels with no static resistance. Since actual peak airflow with the cabinet and filters in place is typically 50% to 80% lower, free air is essentially meaningless when it comes to rating the device itself.

Inlet or outlet readings with an air-straightening duct attached to reduce turbulence are far more accurate. This testing is generally done using a computing vane anemometer or pitot tube traverse to determine the average velocity (in feet per minute) and airflow (in cubic feet per minute) flowing through the air straightening duct. Attempting to measure airflow at non-laminar inlet and outlet openings is not recommended.

Peak airflow is only part of the story

Even when accurate, peak airflows can be misleading because they provide only a small part of the performance picture. It's often a mistake to automatically conclude that the performances of two devices are equal just because their peak airflows are similar. The airflow of all filtration devices drop off as resistance to airflow increases due to filter loading, external collars or flex duct. The magnitude and frequency of these losses; and therefore how frequently filters must be replaced to restore acceptable airflow levels can vary greatly.

Peak static capacity of the blower and filter dirt holding capacity are the main factors that determine 'real life' airflow and filter life. As a rule, a backward curved blower can move more air than a cheaper but less efficient squirrel-cage blower, due largely to its ability to operate at much higher 'tip speeds' and therefore overcome higher levels of resistance. This higher capacity, in turn, extends the useful life of the filters and can make a higher price but more efficient system far less costly to operate.

Build in a sufficient margin of safety

To compensate for airflow losses, users should build in a safety margin when estimating how many units are required to provide a given number of ACH (air changes per hour). If the objective is 6 ACH, designing for 8 or 9 ACH at peak airflow should be more than adequate to ensure sufficient airflow throughout the filter loading cycle provided that the peak airflow rating is reasonably accurate.

See which, and how many units you would need for the appropriate amount of air changes per hour based on your room size with our Air Change Calculator

Contact us for more information!

 

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Reusable Modular Walls Are Becoming The New Standard

5 Reasons Reusable Modular Walls are Becoming the Standard for Temporary Dust Barrier Walls

Air quality in healthcare facilities is a worldwide concern. In March 2022 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the            Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, a call to action for building owners of all kinds to take measures to reduce risks from airborne viruses and other containments indoors. This challenge encourages healthcare facilities, and others, to create an action plan for clean air, optimize air ventilation/filtration, and to showcase their efforts to building occupants and on social media. However, this challenge does not fully explore how maintenance and renovation efforts in healthcare facilities can negatively impact air quality.

Standard practice for healthcare facilities in the United States and Canada  is the requirement of a temporary dust barrier wall during renovation and maintenance operations. Depending on the amount of dust expected to be disturbed during construction activity, contractors may opt to contain their area with plastic sheeting, drywall or with the latest innovation - a reusable modular containment system.

Ultimately, patient safety is a priority for healthcare facilities worldwide but worldwide government initiatives are driving the need for proper containment with new regulations. . Construction can cause substantial dust contamination and scatter large amounts of fungal spores, like aspergillus, to patients without protective measures. Here are five reasons why a re-usable,  modular containment system is the new method your team should be deploying and why they are becoming the standard. 

1. Successful Containment 

Contractors should choose the best tools for the job to ensure Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) compliance and superior infection control. They need a temporary containment system that seals, is easy to assemble and seamlessly incorporates other infection control equipment including HEPA level portable air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums and air pressure monitors. 

Truly successful temporary containment should also not disrupt the flow of the hospital. These re-usable, modular containment barrier walls provide contractors with a professional look that easily hides construction activities from patients and healthcare workers. To ensure clean visuals, some companies offer that the containment panels can be customized with the facility’s personal logos and graphics.

2. Maintain Pressure and Airflow

Contractors must have the necessary equipment to filter and monitor airflow within the containment area created by the temporary dust barrier walls. 

One of these necessary items would be portable air scrubbers with HEPA level filtration exhausted to either an existing indoor ventilation system or direct ventilation to the outdoors through an exit point such as a window or wall portal. Another would be a fixed or portable differential air pressure monitor that has visual or audio alarms, ensuring that the pressure and airflow is constantly controlled and recorded.

3. Reduce Hospital Acquired Illnesses 

Hospital-acquired-illnesses are of a significant concern for everyone who steps foot in a hospital, including patients, visitors, or employees. This is especially important for patients that are immunocompromised and susceptible to infection from the slightest exposure to dust contaminants.  Inhalation of indoor air pollutants from construction can negatively impact patients with chronic lung diseases but this can be prevented with effective dust control through containment units and barriers.

A modular containment system deployed before and during construction, where containment is properly ventilated and airflow is HEPA filtered, will prevent further infection and liability to the hospital and its workers. 

4. Reduce Costs and Speed Up Construction Timelines

The upfront fees and the time it takes for contractors to build traditional drywall barriers can be high, as the costs include materials, labor, disassembly and disposal of materials. Modular containment systems may appear more expensive initially but when you factor in the overall time savings at the build site in addition to compounded savings job over job, going modular far outweighs the cost of drywall assembly.  

A modular, adaptable containment system can fit into any job site and if it is reusable, you're not creating waste when it's time to move to the next job, compounding materials savings over time.

5. Promote Proactivity 

Throughout the history of healthcare construction new innovations have made a huge impact in patient and worker safety. Now, modular containment systems are the next generation of temporary dust barrier walls since they can get construction started with less labor, less time, and virtually less dust.

Since they are able to easily incorporate existing hospital construction equipment, they are simply superior to other temporary methods. Through standardization, the re-usable panels and doors are helping contractors to become more efficient and more environmentally friendly with each project.

How do I get started?

Easy-to set-up temporary dust barrier walls from companies like Abatement Technologies® can remove additional stressors from maintenance operations with adaptable designs for every job. The AIRE GUARDIAN® SHIELD is modular and is designed to reduce contamination challenges for contractors working in critical environments and can help you achieve the five points above and more.

If you are a building operator in the United States or Canada and would like to find out more about Abatement Technologies offerings, please reach out on our website and you will hear from our team shortly.

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