Cardiovascular hospital uses duct sealing tech to solve a mystery
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute turned to an innovative approach to duct sealing to solve one problem, and wound up solving two.
When a hospital monitor detected an isotope in part of the building away from where the chemical was produced and supposedly quarantined, administrators needed to figure out what was going on. Through the process of elimination, building engineers figured the isotope must have been traveling from one part of the building to another through leaks in the facility’s various ventilation shafts.
“To access the shafts, we were looking at having to actually rip into the walls or worse, build a completely new ventilation system,” said UOHI project manager Michele Emond. “Both of these options would have been completely disruptive and prohibitively expensive. Luckily, someone on our team had heard about a breakthrough duct sealing technology called aerosealing. That made all the difference.”
Since aeroseal works from the inside of the duct system to seal leaks, the process was quick, easy and non-disruptive. The actual sealing process took less than a day to complete.
With aeroseal, you typically don’t have to knock down walls or otherwise disrupt normal business operations to do the sealing. As you can imagine, the hospital administrators in this case were extremely concerned about ensuring the safety of their patients and workers as well as protecting the expensive equipment inside the facility. Aeroseal proved completely safe even in this extreme environment.
Aeroseal experts did the majority of their work from the building’s rooftop – connecting to the ventilation system through a single access point. The aeroseal sealant was pumped into the inside of the shaft where it sought out leaks and sealed them.
With the vents sealed, UOHI’s engineers were able to locate the renegade isotope problem – turns out it had something to do with malfunctioning laboratory equipment. But after the duct sealing process was completed, building managers noticed something else – the hospital’s ventilation system was running much more effectively.
"Previously, we were running the exhaust fans at full power just to get adequate ventilation,” said Emond. “After aerosealing the ducts, we were able to turn the fans way down and still get much better venting. Aeroseal worked. We now are experiencing better ventilation, improved air quality and lower energy use. We are now looking at using this approach on the other ventilation shafts throughout the Institute.”