What Are Negative Air Pressure Rooms?
In addition to softwall and rigidwall cleanrooms, Technical Air Products also manufactures isolation rooms. There are different types of isolation rooms. Some are built to protect people in the room from contaminants, while others are built to keep any contaminants inside the room in order to protect those outside. In this blog we will talk about one type of isolation room: the negative air pressure room. What are negative air pressure rooms, and how do they work?
Negative Air Pressure Rooms
In most cleanroom applications, the goal of the cleanroom is to keep the room free of contaminants so research or manufacturing tasks requiring a high level of cleanliness can be performed. Negative air pressure rooms operate on the opposite principle. They are built to keep any contaminants, such as bacteria or viruses, inside the room so that other people are not exposed to them. This type of isolation room is also referred to as a Class N room.
Obviously, in a time of pandemic, the necessity for this type of room is clear. Negative air pressure rooms have been a key element in hospitals’ strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19. The utility of these isolation rooms is not limited to COVID-19, of course. They are also used to control the spread of other contagious airborne diseases like tuberculosis, MERS, and measles.
How Does a Negative Pressure Room Work?
Negative Air Pressure Rooms are referred to as negative pressure because the air pressure inside the room is lower than that outside of it. If a door is opened, the pressure difference keeps the air – and any dangerous particles in the air – inside. Therefore, people outside of the room will not be exposed to it.
The airflow in the room is carefully controlled. Air flows into the negative pressure room, and contaminated air is typically removed from the room through filters. These filters clean the air before it is typically removed from the facility.
In order to maintain the negative pressure within the room, the exhaust system needs to remove more air than what is being supplied into the room. To prevent contaminated air from finding its way into non-contaminated areas, the isolation room’s exhaust air ducts should be independent from the building’s HVAC system.
The airflow within the room can be controlled in a number of ways, including designing specific airflow patterns within the room, diluting the air by supplying large amounts of clean air to the room, and filtering the air with HEPA or ULPA filters.
In some situations, where the need for contamination prevention is especially important, other measures can be taken, such as adding an anteroom to the negative air pressure room. An anteroom is an airlock room where healthcare professionals can change into or out of protective clothing and bring equipment and supplies in or out of the room.
Negative air pressure rooms are used for other purposes in the healthcare industry besides individual patient rooms. Wherever there is a need to carefully control contaminated air, negative pressure rooms can be used.
If you would like more information about negative air pressure rooms or Technical Air Products’ other isolation rooms, contact us today.