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Airborne Isolation Room

A regional hospital has two Airborne Isolation Rooms (AIR).  As a normal course of business, they requested that Induspec verify air flows and differential pressure gradients in these rooms as part of an air survey.  The rooms had been recently constructed (within the last 5 years) and appropriate diffusers and exhaust grates were evident.  The control system showed “green” indicating all was fine and the pressure differential indicated it met CAN/CSA Z317-15 requirements.

Taking nothing for granted, Induspec used a laser to measure the room volume,  a calibrated balometer to measure supply and exhaust flow, and a high resolution differential pressure meter to verify the pressure gradient between the corridor, anteroom and AIR.

The instrument readings indicated a problem.  The supply air was a considerably higher in volume than the exhaust air, making it impossible for the AIR to be under negative pressure.  The supply air was also well short of the hourly air exchanges required by the Standard, and the anteroom had only a supply diffuser and no exhaust installed at all.  The differential pressure reading indicated that the differential between the AIR and anteroom only existed because the sealed anteroom was highly pressurized. In fact as smoke testing showed, the anteroom was constantly leaking significant air into the corridor.

The immediate priority was to correct the pressure gradient.  The hospital staff and Induspec worked together and sealed off the supply air to the anteroom.  Next, the team sourced a suitable exhaust fan and installed significant, additional exhaust into the two AIRs.  Induspec verified that, although still less than required by the standard, the pressure gradient is now in the correct direction.

Induspec verified the temporary system and ultimately designed and supplied a custom HEPA exhaust system so that AIR exhaust could be safety dealt with.  All of this work was performed in a matter of days, in cooperation with custom manufacturers and hospital staff.

  • Date May 1, 2020
  • Tags Facility Management, Safety