In any healthcare environment, it’s crucial that every aspect is managed in an effective and efficient way for the benefit of patients, visitors and medical staff. The many duties that need to be carried out and regulated may not immediately spring to mind, but without the production of food, for example, patients wouldn’t be able to eat the nutrients they need, just as a lack of proper cleaning and washing to bedding and facilities would potentially lead to an increased spread of harmful germs and diseases.
Another key consideration for the management of hospitals is how they’re heated. By heating a hospital in a way that reaches every room and comes into action as quickly as possible, patients are able to remain comfortable, friends and family members of patients can comfortably stay for the duration of visiting hours and doctors and nurses can do their jobs without being obstructed by unpleasant working conditions.
Hospitals are always open, so heating needs to be working continuously. If a healthcare facility doesn’t have suitable heating in place for any period of time, exposure to the cold could lead to certain conditions worsening, possibly impacting the health of patients. But how exactly does heating work within a hospital?
What does hospital heating run on?
Hospitals are heated using commercial boilers as they’re designed to distribute heat through a facility using multiple radiators and radiant heat systems. A domestic boiler simply wouldn’t be powerful enough to heat an area quickly or effectively, with some hospitals requiring multiple boilers in a boiler room to provide sufficient heating across the premises.
More specifically, most hospitals use steam boilers as they heat buildings quickly without having to rely on gravity for a large area to be covered.
Steps for how a steam boiler works to heat up a hospital are as follows:
- Cold water moves from the mains supply to the boiler system
- All dirt and debris are removed from the water
- A deaerator removes air from the water
- The water is moved into the boiler tank and heated
- Steam is created from the water being boiled
- The steam is directed into pipes that are spread around the property to heat different areas
- Condensation turns the steam back into water for future reuse.
How to control heat in a hospital efficiently
Every component that plays a part in keeping a hospital functioning requires continuous operation. This includes the electricity, air conditioning, lighting and heating. The consumption of gas for heating accounts for a large percentage of the hospital’s overall consumption of energy, and with the necessity for 24-hour use and peak times potentially adding to the need for reliable heating, it’s crucial that a hospital boiler is reliable and effective to match the demand. However, gas consumption can be decreased by carrying out annual maintenance, improving the level of insulation if the building isn’t suitable and installing thermal insulation on the boiler itself. Another way of benefiting gas consumption could be through changing oil to natural gas.
Any boiler in a non-domestic environment needs to be efficient to suit the needs of the users, whether that’s members of staff in an office, pupils in a high school or patients in a hospital.
To improve the efficiency of a commercial boiler, you could:
- Share the demand and have a backup in place by using a group of boilers
- Consider replacing storage vessels with plate heat exchangers
- Prioritise efficiency and energy consumption over size and power
- Install tools for controlling the usage and functions of the boiler.
Why is heating high in hospitals?
You may find that the heating in hospitals and other medical facilities is high. While this may make you feel uncomfortable either as a patient or a visitor, keeping healthcare settings warm is something that is done on purpose and there are several important reasons for this. For instance, hospitals are kept warm to comply with regulations and improve the experience of patients that are feeling cold as a side effect of their condition.
Heat is also a proven eliminator of germs and bacteria. Although this is typically done in temperatures as high as 40 degrees celsius or above, many healthcare professionals feel that it’s worth having the heating higher in hospitals even if it only has a minor effect on eliminating harmful germs and bacteria, helping to stop the spread of disease and infection.