Choosing a fume hood is not an easy task. One way to make it easier is by narrowing down the choices by knowing what processes the fume hood will facilitate. It also helps to know how much room is available in the lab for the hood.

Knowing the types of chemicals being used can make selecting the proper hood a simple process. Meet with a sales representative from several manufacturers of fume hoods to get an exact chemical assessment done before viewing the selection of hoods compatible with various solvents, chemicals, and acids. Once the assessment has been completed, it makes choosing a ducted fume hood versus a ductless one a more obvious choice. These are the two basic types of fume hoods available.

In addition to choosing the hood to match the work being done in the lab, consider where to place the unit. It has to be placed away from doorways and air conditioners in order to safely remove toxins, dust and particulates from the air. Knowing where to position it helps narrow down the choice more. There is a basic option to buy a table-top model or a full sized walk-in model. Other options to choose include adding an airflow monitoring device, the worktop type, adding automatic sash sensors and circuit protection boards. The type of enclosure is also something to think about.

Airflow monitors will sound an alarm if the hood’s velocity dips below the required range. It also sounds in case the velocity reaches extreme speeds which could cause injury to a lab technician working in the vicinity. As with the processes being used determining the type of fume hood, choose the worktop based on the same criteria.

Save electricity with automatic sash sensors that will close the sash when it detects that there is no movement near it for a set amount of time. Fume hoods are a considerable expense in and of themselves. Take advantage of features like these to help save on the cost of the electricity needed to operate them. Circuit protection boards are another feature to consider. They protect the unit in the event of sudden current fluctuations.

Choose an adequate enclosure. It should allow at least six inches of room behind the sash in order to create the safest working space. It should also leave enough room so that equipment used inside the hood does not touch the airfoil at the front of the surface. When working with solvents, look for a bench top unit rather than a hood. These units are capable of capturing hazardous chemical vapors.

These are basic considerations to make to get on the right path to choosing the most suitable and energy efficient fume hoods. Energy efficiency is one aspect of these lab necessities that has not been improved upon until recently.

The most popular concept was the variable-air-volume or VAV process which keeps from drawing air when the unit is not in use. An even more energy efficient and money-saving option in fume hoods is dual positioned or two-speed systems. These units cost less initially than VAV unit and offer money-savings up front.

Ductless hoods are among the most cost-efficient, however, they are not right for every single chemical process. This is one reason a chemical assessment is the first step that should be taken before shopping for a new fume hood for the lab.

Choosing the best fume hood is a task that needs to be undertaken with care. However, keep the basics discussed above in mind and the process should be a much easier and more cost effective one. Whether you’re building a new Lab or upgrading your existing one, you will find a remarkable selection of Casework, Workstations, Fume Hoods and related lab products at National Laboratory Sales.