While you may be a pro at using a fume hood in a lab environment, designing the setup for a lab with fume hoods is probably not your forte. This can include understanding the differences between a fume hood that vents to the outside via a roof fan and a ductless fume hood system. As far as you know, once you turn on the fume hood fan, wherever it may be located, you’re safe. This isn’t always the case. Understanding how your fume hood functions and what type of chemicals are best suited for it is of the utmost importance.

Ductless Fume Hoods Need Regular Maintenance

A ductless fume hood system works by pulling the air in the fume hood up and through a filter before returning it to the main working space. This means you are fully relying on the filter to remove all dangerous vapors or toxins from the air before you breath it in the lab space. Not all filters are able to do this, and if they can, these hazardous chemicals can build up in the filter, causing them to be released into the lab space. This part can be prevented with regular maintenance, generally by a contractor who would replace and dispose of the filter.  

Along with choosing the right type of fume hood system for you new lab design or construction, knowing the best ways to use it is exceptionally important. Because fume hoods function on a change in air pressure in order to remove hazardous chemicals, there are several ways in which to prevent vapors from coming out the wrong way into the lab space.

  • Make sure to keep the lab doors and windows shut in order to better improve the low pressure gradient removing the vapors.
  • Don’t allow much foot traffic near the fume hood when in use. The fewer people near the fume hood, the better.
  • Keep the chemicals you are working with at least six inches back from the sash to allow the hood to capture as much of the vapors as possible.
  • Never block the space that would allow the sash to close completely.

Fume hoods are intended to protect yourself and everyone else in the lab space. Designing, installing, and using a fume hood properly will help to insure that everyone is able to stay healthy. Contact LCS Constructors today for help designing and constructing your lab space into the best working environment you could dream of!