For years, the most common method of monitoring filter banks in institutions such as hospitals and medical facilities has been the use of physical and digital manometers or pressure transducers. Mechanical (Magnehelic) and even fundamental (u-tube) manometers have been in use for many decades to monitor filter loading. This trend began to change when affordable electronic pressure transducers became available and were connected to building automation and facility monitoring systems.
This shift in monitoring methods took routine physical checks of the filter manometers and allowed them to become notifications on a system dashboard for facility engineers and operators.
While this has been an accepted method for filter testing, the pharmaceutical and compounding pharmacy industries employed much more stringent tests for their indoor air quality (IAQ), requiring microbiological testing to assess the sterile conditions in these critical environments. The organic or viable airborne particles intruding into these environments are a contributor to contamination.
Part of the solution in maintaining good IAQ and reducing the spread of disease and infection in compounding pharmacies, operatories and isolation rooms is through effective high efficiency filtration. This is an important factor but again, only part of the total solution.
As another means of insuring that a high performance filter bank is operating properly, facilities can also employ fixed particle monitoring tied in to their FMS or BAS systems. The particle counters would be installed upstream and downstream from the filters in their system. This allows for the operator to note that the total load upstream of the filters, as well as the downstream particle counts are within required standards.
The Particles Plus Model 5301P has been utilized by many institutions for filter bank monitoring. It can even be configured to work in installations with high static vacuum or excessive pressures, providing reliable particle counts in the air stream. Using particle counting in this application provides a great way to detect gradual or sudden failure of the filters to meet their ratings.
Particle counting is an effective tool as an installed sensor for monitoring critical environment filtration in conjunction with a host of other sensors (Temperature, Humidity, differential pressure, etc.) that all help ensure that these environments are meeting their intended design performance.
For more information on the Model 5301P, or to find out about Particles Plus particle counters and air monitoring instruments, their applications, technical questions, product specifications, or pricing, please contact Particles Plus today.