When we think of medical facilities, we often focus on the dedicated healthcare professionals, advanced medical equipment, and the paramount importance of patient care. Right now, 22 million Americans work in the healthcare industry. That’s 14% of all U.S. workers. No doubt, we are grateful for the talent and training of all those nurses, doctors, lab techs, therapists, social workers, and administrators who improve our medical care.
While these people are undeniably vital, there's another unsung hero that plays a critical role behind the scenes—air conditioning. Here are 5 reasons to celebrate HVAC in healthcare, a fearless warrior for wellness.
ONE: Air-conditioned, humidity-controlled medical facilities save lives
Imagine being ill or wounded and lying in a hospital without air conditioning, good ventilation, or any kind of air filtration.
Take a deep breath, and think about what it would smell like in a building that housed hundreds of patients who bleed, sweat, and suffer in the hot air.
That’s how hospitals used to be before the invention of air conditioning.
One study suggested that air conditioning has prevented 18,000 heat-related deaths in the United States since its invention.
If you have to go into a hospital, you might think about the unsung HVAC hero that’s making it easier for you to recover!
TWO: Precision in Patient Comfort
In the world of healthcare, patient comfort is paramount. Medical facilities need to maintain an environment that supports healing, comfort, and well-being. Here's where air conditioning comes into play.
Now, temperatures can be maintained in a precise manner, either through controlled and automated systems or with individual controls in each patient room.
Maintaining a precise and comfortable temperature is essential for patients' recovery. Fluctuations in temperature can exacerbate medical conditions, increase stress, and slow down the healing process.
In fact, one student published in the journal PLOS One found that a comfortable room temperature between 71-75°F (21-24°C) significantly improved patient comfort and overall satisfaction. These warmer temperatures are especially important in patient rooms and delivery rooms.
THREE: HVAC is a Hero Silently Fighting Infection
Proper air conditioning systems help manage air quality by reducing airborne pathogens and controlling humidity levels, which is critical in preventing the spread of infections within healthcare facilities.
Air conditioning helps maintain healthy humidity levels, eliminating mold, mildew, and environments that encourage the growth of germs. The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the importance of maintaining relative humidity levels between 30-60% to reduce the survival and transmission of infectious agents.
Hospitals also have massive air filtration systems that eliminate 99.7% of all dust, germs, molds, and pollens.
Thanks to the wordless warrior, HVAC silently pulls moisture and impurities out of the air and improves a patient’s chances of recovery. It also is quietly protecting the health of visitors and workers by helping to eliminate the transmission of viruses and bacteria.
FOUR: Preserving Medications and Equipment
Air conditioning plays a crucial role in preserving medications and sensitive medical equipment.
Many medications, especially vaccines and biologicals, require strict temperature control to remain effective. Since modern medical equipment generates heat, a strong HVAC system is needed to maintain a climate-controlled environment to operate optimally.
The storage of vaccines in healthcare facilities follows strict temperature guidelines, with specific temps for refrigerators, freezers, and dual units. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides detailed recommendations, specifying the required temperature range for each vaccine to maintain potency.
FIVE: Life-saving in surgical suites
The type of work done in different areas of a hospital mandates different, more complex HVAC needs than working in your kitchen does!
Hospitals need higher air change rates, bigger internal loads, and much stronger air filtration.
Nowhere are those requirements more important than in the operating room.
In surgical suites, precision and sterility are non-negotiable. Operating rooms must maintain specific temperature and humidity levels to ensure the safety of patients and the success of surgical procedures.
The recommended temperature range for surgical suites is typically between 68-73°F (20-23°C) to minimize the risk of infection and promote surgeon comfort, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Thanks to modern air conditioning, the temperature in different areas a medical facility can be adjusted and monitored, saving lives in the process.
“Temperature, humidity levels, and cleanliness can affect the equipment and procedures pertaining to operating rooms, isolation rooms, and other sensitive settings within hospitals.”
- United Mechanical
Fearless warrior for wellness
Air conditioning may not always take center stage in the healthcare narrative, but it is an unsung hero. HVAC in healthcare is a fearless warrior for wellness that quietly supports patient comfort, medication efficacy, infection control, and life-saving surgical arenas. It ensures that healthcare facilities can deliver the highest quality of care, aid in the healing process, and contribute to positive patient outcomes.
The next time you step into a medical facility, think about the amazing HVAC systems that are not just cooling the air, but saving lives and improving the quality of healthcare worldwide.
ServiceOne Air Conditioning and Plumbing keeps you safe and healthy, too
If you want to stay safe and healthy, call us. We will repair, replace, or maintain your HVAC equipment so that it controls your temperature and humidity. We can help you improve your indoor air quality with amazing air purification systems that kill 99.9% of bacteria and germs, including COVID. We can increase the quality of your tap water, make sure you don’t have plumbing leaks, and eliminate any nasty sanitation issues with clogged drains.
We’re here to help!