Unique Challenges Faced in Healthcare Plumbing

Unique Challenges Faced in Healthcare Plumbing

Healthcare Plumbing Problems

Plumbing in a healthcare facility faces many issues that differ from standard plumbing. The piping networks installed in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes all must adhere to stringent requirements that go beyond that of residential or industrial plumbing Such requirements have been put in place to ensure the safety of patients who may be predisposed to worsening conditions given an unsatisfactory plumbing system. A healthcare facility should be a dependable place for people to get their ailments taken care of. A pristine plumbing system will have a major impact on the quality of such a place.

Plumbing refers to any piping or ductwork that directs fluid to precise locations. The network of pipes and ducts carry fluids such as air and water throughout the building. The plumbing system faces many challenges, including materials of construction, network design, and additional equipment requirements. Let’s take a closer look at each type of plumbing line and the issues faced by them.

HVAC Plumbing

Climate Control in a hospital is a complicated labyrinth of ducts that, when installed professionally, will then be able to control the temperature and humidity efficiently for every room in the building. The biggest issue facing the HVAC design is deciding on the specific codes that the system must adhere to. Depending on room occupancy, room sizes, and other factors, the requirements must not only consider temperature and humidity, but also predetermined air change rates and filtration minimums. For hospitals, this can be extremely complicated due to the varying climate control needs between hundreds of individual rooms.

Maintaining an HVAC system can also introduce complications down the road. Expenses on maintenance of HVAC systems can be quite expensive, as HEPA air filtration is largely used in the healthcare industry. These types of filters can be very expensive, costing over 30 times as much as a household filter per each filter, and even more for the high end HEPA filters used in surgical rooms. Ultraviolet sterilization is also expensive, but widely used to prevent biological contaminants from entering the air as well.

Water Plumbing

Water lines in a hospital are depended on to deliver clean, fresh water. Without a proper system, water can become unsanitary, which is the opposite of what anyone wants in a place where sanitization is of utmost importance. In healthcare facilities, the water supply is sourced from two separate water mains. In the case where a water main has an issue, the building can still have a water supply from the other water main until it is fixed. Pipe materials must also be chosen from an approved list, usually of copper, stainless steel , or hard plastics such as PVC. Lead pipes are an example of a poor choice in pipe material as the lead content can be harmful.

Water used in medical processes such as hemodialysis also needs special treatment before arriving at the end user. Most healthcare facilities will use a combination of reverse osmosis and carbon bed filtration systems to purify the water before use. These systems can be quite expensive to install and manage, but are of necessity when it comes to use in medical procedures.


Plumbing in a medical facility is so much different than standard plumbing systems. The strict requirements and specialized filtration systems can be expensive and difficult to manage. The design team must plan carefully to ensure all the pipes and ducts can fit throughout the building. A healthcare facility requires an intricate plumbing system, but patients inside can rest assured that the environment will be of superior quality and reliability.