3 Factors That Affect Fume Hood Performance

Almost all types of labs — from research to bio labs and others — are incomplete without a fume hood. After all, a hood does a critical task of removing harmful contaminants and particles from the lab space and keeping lab workers safe and healthy. This makes it one of the essential lab equipment, which demands your meticulous attention now and again. 

Often, a fume hood tends to underperform because most lab owners either don’t pay attention to it or install an inferior quality hood bought from any lab furniture vendor. But even if you have one of the best-branded hoods, it may fail to deliver the best performance. The culprits for its poor performance can be right under your nose. But if you know what affects a hood performance, you can boost its efficiency and extend its lifespan, keeping your employees safe and sound. 

Here are three factors that affect the performance of a lab hood:

An incorrect fume hood design

A fume hood is designed to smoothly throw the air out without creating any reverse airflow into the lab. Its design has to be aerodynamic, which means the airfoil should allow the proper flow of air above and below it when the sash is closed. Plus, the sash handle and corner posts should have an aerodynamic shape, and the export port should have the right size. These elements together make a perfectly-working fume hood. If any of these factors are out of place, the hood’s performance is going to take a hit. 

Wrong exhaust system

A fume hood is unlikely to serve its purpose without the right exhaust system, which comprises a blower and ductwork. The right size of the exhaust blower and suitable ductwork are critical to smooth airflow. The blower capacity decides the fume hood face velocity, and the position of dampers — hood dampers, branch dampers, bypass dampers — in the ductwork determines how efficiently the hood will work. Make sure to keep the complete exhaust system in sync with the hood’s other components for the best performance.  

Incorrect exhaust stack design

A poorly-designed exhaust stack design will not only spread the fumes generated in the surrounding areas but will also push chemical fumes back into the lab. This is one of the most common problems that most labs face with their fume hood. Make sure to keep the stack height as per the local pollution control rules or keep it at least 10 feet above the rooftop. 

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