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Demystifying Negative Air: Creating Clean and Secure Environments


When it comes to environmental control, is your facility taking all of the precautions to keep patients and staff safe? While you may be meeting regulatory requirements, you might be working harder than necessary to make safety a reality. With an understanding of infection control practices and highly efficient equipment, your healthcare facility can more powerfully combat airborne contaminants using negative air. 

In this blog, we will unpack the general concept of negative air as well as how to use negative air machines as a part of your overall infection control strategy to create a safer and more secure environment. Whether you're a healthcare provider, facility manager, or an individual eager to improve air quality, understanding the potential of these machines can make a massive impact on the health and safety of your medical center. 

Join us as we explore negative air rooms, the functionality of negative air machines, and the equipment that empowers these systems.

What are Negative Air Rooms?

Negative air rooms are so-called for the “negative” air pressure that is created inside a sealed area. What does this mean? Using machinery that can alter the air pressure, facilities can create a manufactured air flow so that air only moves into a space rather than out of it. 

Think about a pipette that has been depressed in order to fill with water. When the pipette is released, the liquid is then held inside. The same idea is how negative air rooms work to contain contaminated air in a medical center. A negative air machine creates a lower air pressure, maintaining an environment where air is only pulled in rather than allowed to escape. This also means that when a door or window is opened, no infected air is able to escape, but rather, the clean air from outside of the negative air room rushes in. Negative air rooms are ideal for containing infection and provide an even higher level of defense against communicable diseases in a healthcare setting. 

There are several ways that airflow within a room can be effectively controlled to create a safer environment for patients and staff within your facility. A few methods include:

  • Controlling the quantity and quality of the air being put into and out of a room.
  • Managing the air pressure between adjacent rooms or areas.
  • Designing specific airflow patterns for certain clinical situations or procedures.
  • Diluting infectious air or particles with large amounts of clean air.
  • Filtering the air to remove dangerous airborne particles from the environment.

What You Should Know About Negative Air Machines:

While cleaning and sanitizing can go a long way in controlling the transfer of infection, negative air limits the movement of contaminated air in a powerful way. Negative air machines work diligently to purify the air and maintain the desired pressure balance between the negative air room and the area outside of the sealed space. Particularly during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, when infection control was at its peak importance, negative air machines were able to provide an additional layer of protection. They allowed hospitals and medical centers to reconfigure single-patient rooms or active construction areas into isolation chambers by forcibly filtering the air through a HEPA, high-efficiency particulate air, filter and remove the dangerous particles from the area. 

Setting Up Your Negative Air Configuration:

Interested in setting up a negative air room in your facility? There are several ways to set up a highly efficient HEPA filtration configuration:

  • HEPA to Corridor: This option vents the air to the corridor outside the room and through an anteroom or other vestibule to duct the air out. With an anteroom in place, there should be a minimum of five feet of width in the corridor to maintain a safe walkway for patients and staff. 
  • HEPA to Outside: For this method of air movement, the return air grill in the patient room is closed, which allows the HEPA-filtered air to be carefully directed outside the facility rather than back into the medical center. 
  • HEPA to Return: While this option is similar to the “HEPA to corridor” pathway in that it keeps the air within the building, this strategy involves directing the HEPA-filtered air straight to the HVAC system's return air grill. For this method to work, the air return grills inside of the room must be well sealed.

Why Should You Harness Powerful HEPACART® AIR Negative Air Machines and Scrubbers in Your Facility?

For infection control, few types of equipment can make as much of an impact as a high-quality negative air machine. That’s why at HEPACART, we prioritize health and safety with our line of AIR Negative Air Machines and Scrubbers. With powerful air pressure control, your medical facility, factory, commercial building, job site, or other confined spaces can be better protected from the harmful effects of mold, asbestos, lead, and other contaminants. 

Are you looking for even more protection? Consider an optional HEPA filtration system to equip your AIR Negative Air Machine with up to medical-grade protection at 99.97% filtration of airborne particles down to .03 microns in size. From lighter construction tasks to more intense, dust-producing activities, a negative air machine or scrubber can take your infection control measures to the next level. 

The AIR Negative Air Machine & Scrubbers are built to impress — both aesthetically and through their unwavering performance. The exterior housing has a smooth, clean finish and individually riveted construction, with hospital-grade, non-marking casters allowing for easy portability. All of the machine’s critical seams are silicone-sealed before and after riveting to ensure that contaminated air will not bypass the HEPA filter. Additionally, AIR Negative Air Machines boast easy-to-sanitize aluminum housing and are thoughtfully designed to last job after job and year after year.

Breathe Easier with HEPACART Equipment

Taking a deep breath of clean, safe air should be given in a healthcare setting. By taking advantage of negative air in your facility, you’ll make it easier than ever to keep your hospital air quality healthy for all. 

When paired with other containment equipment, a negative air machine makes all the difference to keep contaminated air from wreaking havoc in your facility. Consider using your new negative air machine with an anteroom, dust containment equipment, and other infection control procedures to keep everyone in your facility safe from the harm of airborne particles and disease. 

Are you considering an upgrade or investment into negative air equipment for your facility? Or maybe you’re looking for the right combination of equipment to help your existing negative air machine work harder? Whatever your goals, explore our pricing guide to find your perfect lineup of infection control equipment and set up your medical center for infection control success. 

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