A Basic Guide to Hospital HVAC Systems

Posted on Thursday Mar 28, 2024 at 01:00PM  


When patients enter a hospital, they trust that measures and systems are in place to improve their health and protect them from new illnesses. Hospital HVAC systems have a critical part to play in creating that safe environment.

Proper heating, ventilation, and air conditioning keep the air clean and prevent dangerous contaminants and airborne bacteria from spreading throughout hospital buildings. When designing an HVAC system for a healthcare facility, it's essential to understand the various components and how they can affect patient health and well-being.

Importance of Hospital HVAC System Design

When planning an HVAC system for a hospital, the comfort of patients and staff should be top of mind. Using the right system design ensures that you can maintain ideal temperatures, humidity, and airflow within the building.

However, concerns about HVAC systems in healthcare facilities go beyond room temperature. A flawed design or improper installation could have serious health effects on patients and staff. HVAC systems contribute to effective infection control, helping to contain airborne pathogens and prevent hospital-acquired infections. Studies have shown that poorly maintained or designed HVAC systems are associated with infection outbreaks.

Types of HVAC Systems Used in Hospitals

Hospitals use a range of HVAC systems to control and optimize their indoor air quality, including:

  • Ventilation systems: Opening a window is the most basic form of ventilation, but it's not enough to provide sufficient fresh air for a healthcare facility. Instead, hospitals use ventilation systems that push out old air and bring in clean air from outside.
  • Filtration systems: Rather than pulling in new air, filtration systems clean and reuse existing air within a building. During this process, they remove contaminants, dust, and particulates.
  • Air conditioning systems: Hospitals use air conditioning systems for temperature control. In addition to filtering the air, these systems can also cool it.

Some healthcare facilities have separate systems for different purposes, while others use designs that incorporate cooling, filtration, and ventilation into one comprehensive HVAC system.

Products Required for Hospital HVAC Systems

Hospital HVAC systems have a series of components that work together to keep the air clean and the environment comfortable. While the size and design of a building determine exactly what products you'll use, some are essential for virtually every facility.

HVAC Units

Air handling units (AHUs) are the core elements of HVAC systems. They condition, cool, and circulate the air throughout a particular space. Large healthcare facilities often use central air handling units, which connect to ducts that run through the building. Hospitals might also use individual room units, which offer greater control over the temperature for a smaller area.

Air Filtration Products

Air filters are often built into heating and cooling systems. They reduce airborne contaminants and capture dust and other particulates so they don't circulate throughout the building.


Controls and sensors are essential tools for hospital HVAC ecosystems. Humidity sensors detect the amount of moisture in the air, which directly influences the comfort level of people within the building. Using sensors to measure humidity allows you to make adjustments to the system if the air becomes too dry or too humid.

Similarly, temperature sensors monitor the temperature of a particular space. HVAC systems are one of the most common applications for temperature sensors, and automated systems instantly adjust temperature settings when environmental temperatures are too low or high.

Some hospitals also use pressure sensors to determine the amount of air pressure that's moving through ducts and filters. This allows them to improve their energy efficiency and maintain adequate airflow.

Regulatory Compliance and Standards

Agencies and regulatory bodies in the United States have implemented strict rules and regulations for indoor air quality. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have guidelines and standards for ventilation in healthcare facilities.

Failing to meet these standards could harm patient and staff health and result in compliance violations. A hospital's HVAC system should help ensure that it consistently follows healthcare facility guidelines.

Monitor Your Hospital HVAC System

The design of a hospital's HVAC system can have life-altering implications, so it's crucial to use the right components and monitor system performance. Veris has a full line of humidity, temperature, and pressure sensors so that you can optimize your system and protect your patients, visitors, and staff. Contact the Veris team to discuss your needs and find the right solutions for your facility.

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