Many people do not think about the plumbing work that is necessary for a doctors or dentist office to operate. It might even surprise them to know that the medical gas used during their procedure has been installed by a plumber. Not just any plumber can install medical gas, however. In order to meet safety and health regulations, even master plumbers must be certified and licensed by the National Inspection Testing and Certification Corporation (NITC).
What are the common medical gases installed?
- Oxygen (O2)
- Nitrogen (N2)
- Nitrous oxide (N2O)
- Medical air
- Medical vacuum
- Cryogenic liquids
Less common gasses used are:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Helium (He)
- Ethylene (C2H4)
These gases have various uses throughout doctor’s offices, dentist offices, laboratories, hospitals and even veterinary clinics. Regardless of their application extreme care must be used in their installation because these gases are used in life-saving machines and during operations.
Medical gas airlines must be installed with copper. Copper has unique properties that make it an ideal choice for sensitive medical applications. Copper piping has the ability to stand up to extreme heat and will not melt or burn at lower temperatures. The inner lining of copper piping also has a resistance bacteria build up. The inner layers of copper piping are impermeable.
This is important because it means that the gas flowing through the pipes will not be contaminated or take on any properties of the copper such as smell.
Another aspect of installing medical copper piping that is interesting is that the pipes are packaged and handled with the same care and sterilization as medical products. Just like syringes, the copper piping is capped and placed in sealed packaging to help ensure that these vital systems are not exposed to germs or viruses during the installation process.
Medical gas installation is a complex and fascinating trade. This is our first blog on the subject but we will regularly update our blog with more information and industry news. If you have any questions about medical gas installation please let us know in the comment section below.