Medical gas piping and the related equipment is crucial when you’re going to operate your healthcare facility. For the success of your medical service project, there should be no professional negligence involved whatsoever. You require professional MEP engineering services for your medical gas piping system to comply with the terms and conditions set in the Plumbing Code of the City of Chicago.

The medical gas piping system

The piping system of medical gas can be very complicated because the supply of various types of gases is required according to the needs of the patients. Medical facilities don’t work with one gas. They require 4 to 8 different gases at the same time to meet the demand according to their treatment requirements. There are different types of gases used for this purpose including:

  • Oxygen
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Nitrogen
  • Helium
  • Vacuum
  • Ethylene
  • Waste Anesthesia Gas Disposal
  • Cryogenic Liquids

There has to be a continuous supply system for each one of them throughout the facility for uninterrupted services. As these pipes will be connected with a supply source such as tanks or compressors, safety should be a top priority.

The system is already very complex, and now it needs to be secure as well. Due to the complexity of the issue, the Chicago Department of State has provided detailed guidance in its Plumbing Code. There should be proper operations and pressure control along with adequate alarm systems to issue warning promptly in case of a leak. The Chicago MEP Engineering professionals will prove to be extremely beneficial if you want to comply with the Plumbing Code rules.


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Sizing of the medical gas pipes

All the sizing of the medical gas piping networks are sized based on following four factors:

  • The diversity element
  • The total connected rate of flow
  • The pipe’s equivalent length
  • Loss of friction allowable

Engineers will determine a pipe's equal length with the help of true measured-run along with the addition of 50-per centimeter of the measured run to cater the fittings. The total of all these numbers will be the equivalent length. After that, the engineer will divide this number by allowable loss of system to get permissible loss of friction every hundred feet.

Over-sizing some sections of the pipe network will enable the engineers to make any changes later on, and it also provides some room for expansions. The cost associated with replacing a small pipe with a large one is significantly higher than going for the over-sized pipe first hand.

Piping Type

Size

Medical Gas System

1/2-inch ID

Medical Surgical Vacuum Systems

3/4-inch ID

Individual Inlet & Outlet Stations

1/2-inch ID

   

Plumbing Fixture

Minimum Pipe Size

Urinal Flush tank

0.5-inch

Water Closet Flush tank

0.5-inch

Laundry

0.5-inch

Lavatory

0.75-inch

Dishwashing machine

0.5-inch

Kitchen sink

0.5-inch

Bathtubs

0.5-inch

Bidet

0.75-inch

Flow Rate

The Chicago Department has provided the details associated with flow rate and sizing size in its Municipal and Plumbing Code. The following table presents the details related to flow rates for each type of rooms. The Department has sent these benchmarks by determining the fixture units

Each of the units has a value that is based on water they use. As the pipe size directly influences the rate of flow, the Department has set the sizes relying on the concept that which fixture will get the water. As provided in the previous table the most common installation is 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch.

 

Outlet Rating Chart for Medical Gas Piping Network

 

Allowance of Free Air Cfm (L/min) at 1 atmosphere

Zone Allowances

Location of Medical-Surgical Vacuum Outlets

Per Room

Per Outlet

Air to Be Transported, cfm (L/min)ª

Simultaneous Usage Factor (%)

Operating rooms:

 

 

 

 

Major “A” (Open heart, radical thoracic, organ transplant)

3.5 (100)

--

3.5 (100)

100%

Major "B" (All other ORs)

2.0 (60)

--

2.0 (60)

100%

Minor

1.0 (30)

--

1.0 (30)

100%

Delivery Rooms

1.0 (30)

--

1.0 (30)

100%

Recovery room and ICU (a minimum of 2 outlets per bed):

 

 

 

 

The 1st outlet at each bed

--

3 (85)

1.5 (40)

50%

The 2nd outlet at each bed

--

1.0 (30)

0.5 (15)

50%

Emergency Rooms

--

1.0 (30)

1.0 (30)

100%

Patient Rooms:

 

 

 

 

Medical

--

1.0 (30)

0.1 (3)

10%

Surgical

--

1.0 (30)

0.5 (15)

50%

Nurseries

--

1.0 (30)

0.1 (3)

10%

Autopsy

--

2.0 (60)

0.04 (1)

20%

Examining & Treatment Rooms

 

0.5 (15)

0.05 (1)

10%

Inhalation therapy, instructional areas& central supply

--

1.0 (30)

0.1 (3)

10%

 Medical Gas Piping Types & Their Handling, Based on Materials

There are various kinds of materials used for medical gas piping for different purposes.

Systems for Medical Gas with Positive Pressure

  • ASTM B-819 Type L Medical Gas tube (less than 185 PSI pressure)
  • The ASTM B-819 Type K Medical Gas tube (more than 185 PSI pressure)
  • ASTM B-819 Type K Medical Gas tube, (all tubing over 3-inch ID or 3-1/8-inch OD)

The engineer must identify the manufacturer before installation. S/he must plug or cap this material and keep it sealed until prepared for the Installation process. All other components must also be kept sealed until the installation process begins. The engineer must furnish the documents to certify the piping materials fully comply with the rules and regulations.

Medical and Surgical Systems

  • ASTM B-88 (Type K, L, and M) Seamless copper water tube
  • The ASTM B-280 (type ACR) Seamless copper refrigeration tube
  • ASTM B-819 (Type K and L) Medical Gas tube

This piping also features a stainless steel tube and the engineer if using B-88 & B-280, must label to identify it from the medical gas tubing. The Engineer must clear the fittings for full Oxygen service, and the joints must also be brazed.

WAGD Systems

  • ASTM B-88 (Types K, L, and M) Seamless copper water tube
  • The ASTM B-280 (Type ACR) Seamless copper refrigeration tube
  • ASTM B-819 (Type K and L)Medical Gas tube

It also features a stainless steel tube and the engineer, if using B-88 and B-280, must label and identify it from the Medical Gas tube. The engineer must also clean the fittings for Oxygen service, and the joints must be brazed just like in the previous case.

Conclusion

There are plenty of factors for consideration before a medical gas piping system is installed at your medical facility. It's not just about coming up with a system that works at an optimal level for the facility, but the engineers must also comply with the terms and conditions that are set by the Chicago state department for medical gas piping. Compliance will avoid your business from any charges or fees, and it will also ensure the safety of the workers for many years to come.

Just make sure that you hire professional Chicago Engineers that have years of experience in this area. They will handle the job more carefully and will also keep the cost factor under check all the times.

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