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MSC Completes Custom Air Handler Reconditioning Project

A northern New Jersey hospital was considering replacing their existing 15,000 CFM air handler servicing several small operating rooms. The custom unit had originally been installed in 1994, and over the years there had been multiple coil repairs, and the fan motor and bearings had recently failed. Additionally, the unit was terribly inefficient as compared with today’s HVAC equipment energy standards. It quickly became apparent to the hospital, however, that what they thought would be a straightforward project came with a number of challenges and a hefty price tag. With current lead time challenges, it would take several months to fabricate and deliver a new custom air handler, and equipment prices have been on the rise. Also adding to the price were higher labor costs due to the old unit being tightly hemmed into the crowded mechanical room by an array of piping and electrical conduit.

Knowing the unit was critical for maintaining environmental conditions in the operating rooms, MSC proposed reconditioning the existing air handler in place, and the hospital agreed. With a lead time of five weeks for new parts and components, MSC performed a temporary fix on the failed fan motor and bearings to keep the unit operating until their arrival.


Once the new parts arrived, the five-day project got underway. It was crucial to complete the project within this time period as the operating rooms could not be in use during the renovation. MSC team members quickly got to work removing the cooling and heating coils, the single backward incline fan, controls, and condensate pan, leaving just the shell of the unit. Next, the interior of the unit wasre-sheathed with new galvanized metal, and an oversized stainless-steel condensate pan was installed. Also installed were new Modine Heatcraft coils and a draw-through fan wall system.


Other new parts, controls, and components included fan wall VFDs, high-quality temperature and pressure transmitters, a new stainless-steel filter rack for MERV 14 filters, and a new humidifier wand. The reconditioned unit was started and commissioned on day five, and air and water balancing were performed. It was found to be operating perfectly, maintaining the OR rooms to within +/- 1°F to the hospital’s complete satisfaction.