Optimal HVAC Performance
Maintaining a cleanroom is an ongoing chal- lenge and requires keeping up-to-date on the best equipment and tools to meet the standards. Contamination can come from a
variety of sources ranging from particles entering the
room through the air conditioning system to the hair,
clothes, skin, and cosmetics from individuals coming
in and out of the room.
Whether the cleanroom exists in an organization that focuses on electronics, computers,
medical devices, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, aerospace, agriculture, or food, even the smallest misplaced dust particle is considered a contaminant.
Cleanrooms require the ultimate amount of care
and attention to ensure contamination levels are
kept at an acceptable level.
One area that needs close attention is also one of
the more complex systems — your HVAC system.
By nature, HVAC systems are designed to move
air from one location to the next in order to provide climate control. This action can pose unique
challenges to maintaining air quality. However, an
HVAC system is also comprised of other systems
that need to be maintained in order to operate high
performance cleanrooms safely and effectively.
What steps can you take to keep your HVAC system
Cleanrooms are equipped with multiple filtering
system including pre-filters, standard filters, and
high efficiency filtering systems to virtually guar-
antee the airflow remains free of contaminants and
particles down to sizes less than .03 microns. Lack
of proper maintenance of these filter systems is a
major cause of contamination. Plan and implement
a filter maintenance program
that cleans filters at least every
four to eight weeks depending
on various factors.
Cleaning your coils is a fundamental maintenance point in a
HVAC system. Not only do clean
coils keep the system operating
at high efficiency levels, but they
also mitigate the changes of bacterial growth within the system.
Clean regularly at planned system shutdown intervals and treat
with EPA-registered mold and
mildew inhibitors. Additionally,
properly maintained coils can be
an important part of managing
humidity in a cleanroom environment — a critical concern.
Blowers in air handler units (AHU) can be magnets
for dirt and debris. Make sure to properly visually
inspect and clean these often overlooked, yet critical, components of the HVAC system. These should
be cleaned at regular maintenance intervals.
Duct cleanliness is often overlooked in commercial
HVAC systems, and most of the time can be with
little ill effect. The opposite is true in cleanrooms.
Ductwork should be inspected during routine filter
change periods and cleaned if necessary.
Clean other major components
Other major components of HVAC systems can
include cooling towers and boilers. Regularly vacu-
uming your tower and tower fill helps to maintain
peak system efficiency and performance. The build-
Frank Intrieri Jr.