Bacteriological aspects of air-conditioning plants

Whyte, W. (1968) Bacteriological aspects of air-conditioning plants. Epidemiology and Infection, 66(4), pp. 567-584. (doi: 10.1017/S002217240002831X) (PMID:4303954) (PMCID:PMC2130670)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Extract: An investigation was carried out into the bacteriological performance of three air-conditioning plants in a hospital ward. Two of these plants had the facility for recirculating part of the ward air. An equation has been derived comparing the concentration of bacteria which would be expected to be given off by the humidifiers in the ventilation system, with the concentration of bacteria in the recirculatory tank. The bacterial particles given off by these humidifiers were of nuclei droplet size, and were found to penetrate the filters used with a fair degree of ease. Although the number of bacteria in the humidifier water remained insignificant with a constant overflow of water into the recirculatory tank, on one occasion a build-up of bacteria was demonstrated when the overflow ceased. For hospital use humidifiers of a non-recirculatory type should be used. The concentration of bacteria on the surface of the recirculatory ducts was assessed, as also were those on the surface of the supply ducts under full fresh air and recirculation. The concentration of bacteria in the supply ducts was low and the use of terminal filters was not merited, although care should be taken to prevent the build-up of bacteria in inlet grills and diffusers. The bacterial concentration in the exhaust ducts was found to be quite high. It was therefore thought that in critical areas, where the ventilation plant may be shut off, the use of some device to prevent reversed air flow may be necessary. The count of various types of micro-organisms in the fresh air and two-thirds recirculated air are given along with their size distribution. The results of the effect of filtration on the concentration of bacterial particles throughout the air-conditioning plant is given under full fresh air and recirculation. These concentrations appear quite satisfactory. It was found that one set of filters had been overgrown by mould because of free water being brought over from the humidifier. Measures have been suggested to overcome this. When primary or prefinal filtration was approximately 90% efficient to Aloxite 50 (B.S. 2831 Test Dust no. 2) it was demonstrated that a fair approximation to the final filtration figure could be obtained by reference to the quoted efficiency of the final filter to Aloxite 50. After similar primary filtration it was demonstrated that the final filtration of filters against recirculated and fresh air was approximately the same. Owing to the higher number of Staph. aureus in recirculated air, higher efficiency filtration may be required. Standards of filtration efficiency for critical and non-critical zones are suggested.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whyte, Dr William
Authors: Whyte, W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering
Journal Name:Epidemiology and Infection
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-4409
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1968

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record