Fume hoods have contributed in no small part to many modern-day discoveries and conveniences because they allow scientists and laboratory technicians to work in close proximity to potentially dangerous materials. In some cases, it protects people from serious health risks, including death. Failure to maintain a properly functioning fume hood and safe working environment in your lab could result in fines over $7,000 per instance and, potentially, the loss of your lab.
There are a lot of variables that determine how well a fume hood works. Current laboratory testing protocols (specifically the ANSI Z9.5-2012 and the ASHRAE 110) require fume hoods to be tested as manufactured, as installed, and as used. It’s the “as installed and as used” part that is most important and also most overlooked.
Getting it right the first time
Understanding laboratory design and expert knowledge of fume hoods can preempt future problems with fume hood operation. If you work with qualified lab design professionals you can be sure to get the right product, of optimal efficiency, and have it installed in the right location.
Fume hood selection and installation are dependent on many variables:
- Materials in the hood
- Hood designed spec for application
- Hood choice for safety and efficiency (energy efficiency)
- Type of air diffuser for supplying air
- Hood type
- And much more
Working with laboratory design professionals means they know the questions to ask and make sure you get the right hood so that it passes the safety tests not just “as manufactured” but specifically “as installed and as used.”
Standards and regulations for fume hood operation are not static. In recent years, fume hood codes and regulations have evolved from requiring specific measurements to more quantitative performance measures, specifically the ASHRAE 110 protocol.
The American National Laboratory Ventilation Standard (ANSI Z9.5) was originally published in 1992, updated in 2003 and the most recent version is ANSI Z9.5 – 2012. The 2012 version recognizes that the environment plays a significant role in how a fume hood will perform. It requires that every hood be tested using the ASHRAE 110 method to establish a quantitative baseline of performance. In future years a less rigorous method can be employed.
The sophistication of fume hoods ranges from very simple to complex. The testing technician must be able to test and verify all facets of operation in compliance with ANSI/ASHRAE 110 Test Method and other published standards. The qualified testing personnel must be able to pinpoint the deficiencies and prescribe solutions to resolve any shortcomings. A person qualified to evaluate a fume hood is:
- Familiar with current codes, requirements, and governmental regulations
- Expert in fume hood technology, operation, and installation
- Able to create a plan for corrective action, if any problems are reported.
At the end of the day, what we have learned is that proper planning with knowledgeable professionals prevents future challenges that may not be recognized until the lab is operational. When you partner with the right design team up front you won’t have to worry about failed tests and corrective action later on.
The professionals at Lab Furniture and Fume Hoods, Inc. understand laboratory design and will work with you and your mechanical design team to ensure each hood provides maximum containment and safety. We offer FULL service no cost, no obligation laboratory planning and we will work with your team to ensure proper selection, proper placement, proper containment, and safe operation.
We make it easy for you
Fume hood testing from LabTech Midwest, a division of LFFH, Inc. has you covered. Our expert and qualified staff will set up and execute all the relevant safety tests for your lab, report the findings, propose the solutions and even perform the needed repairs and adjustments for you, if needed. Call us to set up an initial consultation today.
262-204-7600 or contact us online at https://labfurnitureandfumehoods.com/contact-us/