If you’ve spent time in a lab environment, you know how critical a fume hood setup is. In fact, much of what we will be talking about in terms of lab construction may be old news to a pro like you. However, it’s important to understand how critical proper fume hoods are to your lab design and construction project.

Not all labs need fume hoods to function and meet regulatory standards. This lab design feature is dependent on several different factors. The main factor that determines the need for a fume hood is if you are using any of the following chemicals in any of your lab processes:

  • Toxic volatile materials
  • Flammable chemicals
  • Known carcinogens
  • Toxic gases
  • Odorous materials

This is not a comprehensive list of the chemicals and reactions that require a fume hood by any means; however, it’s a good place to start. Most laboratories use processes involving at least one of the above. In order to carry out processes, like chemical etching or biochemical experimentation, labs need to have fume hoods. Perhaps your lab works at innovating new plastics, you’re probably going to need multiple fume hoods.

Fume hoods function due to a pressure process that involves a large venting fan on the roof of your facility. The fan has to go on top of the roof in order to make sure that all dangerous fumes are fully removed from the building, including the duct system, so that the fumes cannot exit through holes in the duct work. The fan on the roof creates a lower pressure system in the duct to make sure the duct is fully evacuated of any dangerous fumes.

Additionally, the sash, which is the glass protection that can be raised and lowered at the front of the fume hood, should always be kept at an appropriate level. Wide open is almost never an appropriate level for the sash. By keeping the sash near the safe sash opening marker, you make sure that the airflow is properly maintained in the fume hood and the dangerous fumes are vented. The sash is also an additional layer of protection against substances that may be volatile and explosive. A sash has blast resistant qualities to help protect you as fully as possible.

While you may be familiar with fume hood basics and utilization for your labs purposes, it never hurts to refresh. Check back on our blog here at LCS Constructors for further information about the critical importance of fume hoods in your lab design and construction.