Is It Time to Replace Your Lab Fume Hood?

Working in any type of lab environment exposes you to a wide range of poisonous, flammable, corrosive—or otherwise hazardous vapors, chemical fumes, toxic fumes, and dust particles. Fume hoods are common lab furniture that can help reduce exposure to these dangerous substances and are the first line of defense against major hazardous materials.

Like any other type of lab equipment, fume hoods should be replaced to ensure the utmost safety of lab workers over time. Renovations are a necessary component of running a successful laboratory, and in this article, we will walk you through some of the things to look for that might indicate that it’s time to upgrade your fume hood.

Keep reading to learn more about when you should consider when it’s time to upgrade your fume hood and why LabTech Supply Company is the preferred laboratory supplies company for a comprehensive range of chemical fume hoods, lab tables, and lab equipment that raise the bar on laboratory performance.

When it Fails Safety Checks

The fundamental purpose of a laboratory fume hood is to keep staff safe. Every fume hood in your laboratory should be subjected to an annual safety test to ensure employee safety.

Laboratory Fume Hood Efficiency Test

If the fume hood fails a lab safety inspection or a filtering efficiency test—something is amiss, and it’s time to upgrade your fume hood.

In every lab setting, safety is a top priority. If there’s a problem with laboratory equipment, casework, or accessories, it needs to be fixed right away. It may be necessary to repair or replace a piece of equipment.

Chemical fume hoods, for example, are extremely long-lasting machines. They are, nevertheless, subject to corrosion. Heavy acids can cause the fume hood to corrode, especially if it wasn’t designed to tolerate them.

Upgrade Rusty Lab Fume Hood

A rusted sash should be replaced right away to preserve appropriate airflow and avoid breaking. Other sections of the vehicle could have safety hazards that aren’t as obvious.

Take, for example, the ductwork that connects a chemical fume hood to a roof-mounted blower. The ductwork is necessary to vent hazardous gases from the chemical fume hood and maintain a safe laboratory working environment. Ductwork safety issues may go unnoticed, but they are deadly to the entire lab if not handled soon.

It’s not just about acquiring a new sparkling piece of equipment when you upgrade a lab fume hood. It all comes down to keeping you secure. When you notice your existing fume hood isn’t keeping you safe enough, it’s time to start looking for a replacement.

Upgrade Lab Fume Hood if it Fails Filtration Test

If your hood fails its annual filtration test, although the filters are new or in good shape, that’s a significant red flag.

Other factors can cause this, but the most likely cause is your 30-year-old fume hood breaking down. The truth is that older laboratory fume hoods lack the technology and safety features that newer laboratory fume hoods have.

When its Technology is Out of Date

The most blatant sign that it’s time to upgrade your laboratory fume hood is its age. If the technology in old fume hoods is outdated, it may put laboratory employees at risk. They’re also more expensive to run because the filtration technology doesn’t last as long as modern hoods.

Fume hood efficiency is always improving as technology progresses. A new fume hood will perform better and reduce exposure than old fume hoods. Filtration technology in newer fume hoods can last longer and handle more harsh chemicals, making them safer to use.

While this may appear to be a simple sign, it is quite accurate. Product efficiency improves as technology progresses.

Without a doubt, a contemporary fume hood will be able to better reduce exposure to chemicals and will handle your procedures more efficiently. If your fume hood is older than ten years, it’s time to replace it.

It is critical to keep a laboratory up to date in terms of safety and technological advancements. New laboratory fume hoods are more effective than old ones, they efficiently reduce exposure to potentially dangerous vapors. Continuing to utilize substandard or overused fume hoods could endanger the health of laboratory employees.

When it Begins to Degrade

Material discoloration, persistent fogging on the sash, and loud noises originating from the internal fan are all symptoms of a fume hood nearing the end of its useful life. Yes, a fume hood will continue to work as it deteriorates, but the time for a replacement is approaching.

The sash is the first item to disappear when it comes to fume hoods. This is because regular use puts a lot of strain on the cables, pulleys, and sash glides, causing them to wear out faster.

If the sash is broken on your lab’s fume hood, it’s probably cheaper to buy a new one in the long run. The newer type will provide a greater return on investment and will cost less to simply replace the old sash.

The sash is usually the first component to wear out since its cables and sash glides are subjected to constant tension. If the sash or other components located on the fume hood are broken and cannot be replaced or repaired, it is recommended that you acquire a new fume hood.

When Your Lab Changes

If your laboratory has grown since you purchased it, it may be time to modify your fume hood. The fume hood may be used more frequently as a result of the increased number of employees. A larger amount of work will be able to be accommodated by a modern, more efficient fume hood.

If your lab has been around since you initially bought your fume hood, but you haven’t added any more units, you should think about updating. Additional operations normally entail more chemicals, which your regular fume hood may not be able to handle.

For example, if you start using acids in your typical fume hood, you’ll notice etches in the sash, making it impossible for your personnel to see. Acid can also cause a build-up in the hood’s inside, which is hazardous to both you and your laboratory employees.

Laboratory Expansion

It’s time for a new fume hood if the size or function of your lab has grown. Fume hoods are designed to keep your employees safe first and foremost. You’re putting them at risk if you don’t have the right model.

In the same spirit as lab expansion, you may want a new fume hood if your current one is simply too small for your processes.

It’s time to update if you notice staff performing processes outside of the fume hood or if it’s difficult to execute a significant process in a tiny fume hood. A larger, more modern fume hood will boost efficiency and streamline the operation.

To achieve adequate airborne pollutant ejection, a laboratory expansion will necessitate the purchase of additional fume hoods. Expansion of laboratory operations and substances frequently leads to an increase in chemical and fume exposure. The addition of fume hoods improves worker safety.

Your HVAC System Has Reached its Max

The state of your air system is a final consideration before upgrading to a new fume hood. Traditional, older-style fume hoods use ducts to pull chemical vapors out of the air and push them into the exhaust system.

While these fume hoods perform effectively, they can place a strain on your lab’s upper dilution air supply and create significant temperature changes. Consider modern fume hoods as a way to make your lab’s air supply use a little bit lighter.

These fume hood alternatives are incredibly efficient and provide your lab with a little more versatility. They can be placed wherever in your lab, and they don’t need to be connected to your air supply or ventilation because they’re ductless.

These fume hoods are fantastic solutions if your mechanical system is outdated and you’re concerned about overloading it. They save you money on energy and supply air, and because they can be placed anywhere, they also give you extra space.

Too Much Wear and Tear

Even the highest-quality items succumb to wear and tear over time. Some evidence of use is just unsightly, while others indicate safety concerns.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of wear and tear:

Corrosion or Rust

If your equipment is rusting, it needs to be replaced right away.


Most stains aren’t a cause for concern. It’s only an eyesore at best.


A fume hood sash’s glass must be changed if it has warped. Stainless steel, like any other metal, can deform over time.

Sashes on Fume Hoods with Cracks

Burns, like stains, are usually merely undesirable evidence of use rather than a safety concern.

Of course, you’re free to change out whatever laboratory equipment you choose, even if it’s simply for the sake of aesthetics. Newer products could be more resistant to wear and tear, therefore, they’re worth the money.

Old chemistry lab worktops, for example, might be covered in burns and stains, whereas newer epoxy-resin countertops are designed to tolerate them.

Your Lab is Going Ductless

Ductless fume hoods have finally been introduced thanks to modern technology. Many labs benefit from ductless hoods because of the flexibility they provide. They can be placed and moved in any area, regardless of the ductwork or ventilation.

If a lab manager is concerned about overtaxing an already overburdened mechanical system, fume hoods without ducts should be considered. The exhaust system isn’t the only thing to think about—you also need to consider the supply of air.

A ductless fume hood can save a lot of money when it comes to new lab buildings. Additionally, replacing traditional fume hoods with ductless fume hoods saves energy efficiency both in terms of hood operation, and heating and cooling costs.

There is a significant loss of warmth up via the ducts in traditional fume hoods. The hood is used to expel heated or air-conditioned air. There is no energy loss with ductless fume hoods since they filter and exhaust the air back into the room.

Inadequate Abilities

If you’ve had your laboratory for a while, you’ve probably noticed that it’s increased in size and function. Due to the expansion of analytical equipment and personnel, fume hood space may be limited.

Additional procedures may increase or decrease the services required by your fume hoods, such as air, gas, or vacuum. Due to mechanical pipework or the position of your fume hood, it may be too challenging to add new components to an existing fume hood.

Finally, if your fume hood isn’t up to the task, it’s time to get it replaced. If you start employing severe acids inside a normal hood, the acids can etch the sash and block the operator’s view. Acids in a normal hood can lead to a dangerous build-up of residue in the hood’s interior and ductwork.

Update Laboratory Fume Hoods with the Help of LabTech Supply Company

Labs can suffer several negative repercussions in terms of efficiency and laboratory personnel safety if they do not undergo regular and essential modifications. If you’ve noticed that your laboratory fume hoods may need to be replaced, don’t hesitate to find a laboratory supplies company that can help you upgrade your fume hood.

Our top priority at LabTech Supply Company is to assist you in constructing the greatest laboratory possible at an affordable cost.

We’ve been providing customers with a complete variety of lab benches and laboratory furniture for all types of laboratory work environments for over 30 years. All of our laboratory furniture and equipment is assembled in the United States, ensuring that the scientific community workers receive only the highest quality laboratory equipment that fits their budget and meets all industry standards.

Do you want to improve your science lab but don’t know where to begin? Discover more about the wide range of fume hoods and lab equipment available, and how our experienced and professional installation team can help you with the installation process.

Contact us at LabTech Supply Company today!

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