Fume hoods are ventilated enclosures where hazardous or toxic fumes, flammable vapors, and gases are trapped and safely disposed. These hoods may customarily be made to vary in size ranging from simple modifications to large plant enclosures. They may also incorporate different design and material specifications.
Every year, custom fume hoods are inspected and tested to assess its performance standards. However, it’s upon you to use a fume-hood safely.
What Makes A Good Custom Fume Hood?
When designing or installing a fume hood, consider the following crucial parameters:
- Efficient airflow
An effective airflow system ensures that non-contaminated air in the laboratory is sucked into the hood and directed towards outside. But, for the fume hood to function properly, there needs to be enough volume of air available so that it will be able to suck in sufficient volume and dispose of at an acceptable level of concentration.
- Reliable Sash protection
Sashes provide physical protection from chemical splashing and vigorous reactions. The most popular configurations for the sash protection are a vertical slide, horizontal slide or a combination of both. In addition, safety glass is commonly used as it does not form cracks when exposed to compressed fumes.
- Explosion-proof protection
Where highly flammable or explosive substances are used, explosion-proof devices such as switches and receptacles should be installed by a certified technician. This prevents escape of flames that may ignite flammable materials.
- Convenient service fixtures
Service fixtures include connections to vacuum, gas, water, and air through service valves. They should be clearly marked and controlled from outside the hood to ensure safety. Also, they should be easily accessible whenever maintenance and repair are to be carried out.
- A reasonable working space
The working area is important since it is where toxic fumes are generated and apparatus are set up. Fume hoods should have a maximum width of 24 feet, and the actual working space should be 5-10 inches less than the width.
- Durable liner material
For all types of custom fume hoods, the quality of the liner material used should be durable, and able to withstand chemicals, open flames, and heat.
Safety Measures When Using Custom Fume Hoods
- The exhaust should be in proper working condition to ensure adequate airflow
- Maintain a minimum distance of six inches from the face of the hood whenever in operation
- Always wear protective equipment such as goggles and gloves to prevent catastrophic injuries
- The sash should be kept closed when not in use to conserve energy
- To reduce the risk of intoxication, hazardous materials should only be removed from the hood after decontamination
Fume hoods are vital safety devices that require proper handling to give ample and adequate ventilation. In the end, it’s rewarding to have general knowledge about how they work in order to take precautions and ensure the safety of the lab personnel.