Canadians spend only 10% of their time outdoors, therefore airflow systems indoors are important in our everyday lives. They ensure that the air around us is clean, pollutant-free and free of contaminants.

However, the mechanisms that allow them to do so differ greatly because they can only be positive or negative airflow systems.

Here’s a detailed explanation of how positive and negative airflow systems work, when to use them as well as maintenance tips.

How Positive Air Systems Work

Positive airflow systems bring in clean air.

But the air pressure inside the space must be higher than outside, to make it circulate easily. This also ensures that the air inside is always replaced with clean air easily.

However, for this to work perfectly, positive air systems require a fan to force filtered fresh air into the property through ceiling vents. Then, it displaces damp air and expels it through gaps around doors, windows, and other leakage areas.

Therefore you can use positive air systems to:

  • Reduce indoor pollutants, allergens, or odors at home
  • Prevent the spread of airborne contaminants in medical facilities
  • Reduce humidity levels by replacing damp air with dry air
  • In commercial buildings with limited natural ventilation, to improve indoor air quality, enhance occupant comfort and potentially boost productivity

But positive airflow systems, especially those integrated with HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. 

So always contact a professional to do the maintenance for you to avoid messing up with its internal components while doing maintenance.

How Negative Air Systems Work

Negative airflow systems purify already existing air by creating a lower air pressure inside a controlled environment compared to the surrounding areas.

This results in clean, purified spaces that prevent contaminants, pathogens, or particles from spreading from the controlled area to the outside environment.

And that’s what makes negative air systems perfect for:

  • Preventing the spread of infectious diseases and maintaining a sterile environment in isolation wards
  • Preventing the spread of dust, asbestos fibers, mold spores, or other hazardous materials
  • Handling potentially hazardous materials at crime scenes
  • Controlling and containing toxic fumes, volatile chemicals, or harmful particle emissions

However, negative air systems heavily rely on proper sealing to prevent unintended air infiltration and also comply with health regulations. So you should regularly carry out maintenance on your negative air flow systems.

Maintenance of Positive and Negative Air Flow Systems

Systems with positive and negative airflow require similar maintenance in some cases. These include:

  • Regularly replace intake or exhaust filters
  • Regularly clean or replace clogged filters
  • Check fan blades and components operation and noise
  • Inspect seals and gaskets so that there are no blockages or leaks that could compromise the airflow
  • Monitor pressure differentials
  • Ensure balanced airflow distribution prevents uneven air exchange and containment breaches

Positive and negative airflow systems, however, function differently and are designed differently. 

The table below briefly lists the different maintenance tips for systems using positive vs. negative airflow.

Maintenance Aspect Positive Air Pressure Systems Negative Air Pressure Systems
Filter Replacement Regular replacement of filters to ensure clean air intake. Regular replacement of filters to maintain air quality.
Fan Maintenance Occasional cleaning and inspection of fans for efficient operation. Regular cleaning and maintenance of exhaust fans for proper airflow.
Seal Inspection Periodic checks for airtight seals to maintain positive pressure. Regular inspection of seals and barriers to prevent leakage.
Noise Reduction Regular checks for noise and vibration issues. Monitor and address noise issues related to exhaust fans.

Keep in mind that maintenance varies on the specific design and components of the air pressure system, as well as the facility’s requirements and regulations.

So, always check the manufacturer’s recommendation or consult air system experts like A Touch Of Brass.

Get a Clean Air System From A Touch Of Brass

Positive and negative airflow systems may have a ton of benefits that purify the air or ensure containment.

You require the services of clean air systems experts like A Touch Of Brass because of the complexity of these systems and the critical nature of their operation.

At A Touch Of Brass, we incorporate ventilation and sheet metal fabrication expertise into the process of implementing air flow systems. This elevates the overall quality and performance of these systems.

Also, we custom-make our designs to fit your space layout, needs, and industry regulations. Where necessary, we integrate the air systems with existing HVAC systems to ensure compatibility and effectiveness.

With our expertise, we design, install, and optimize your clean air solution to ensure you breathe in fresh air or maintain hazardous containment.

Contact us today for a consultation on a customized air system suitable for your business.