The Importance of Location and Placement for Fume Hoods in a Laboratory


Fume hoods are essential equipment for laboratories that handle hazardous chemicals, vapors or fumes. They provide protection for the workers and the environment by capturing and removing the contaminants from the work area. However, whether it’s a used fume hood or a new one, not all fume hoods are the same, and their performance depends largely on location and placement in the laboratory.

Location, Location, Location!

According to the National Fire Protection Association, you must place a fume hood at least 10 feet away from any door or exit to prevent a fire or chemical release from blocking the exit. Additionally, fume hoods should be located away from high-traffic areas, air supply diffusers, doors, and windows to minimize interference with their performance. The layout of the laboratory is also an important factor in determining where to place fume hoods. For instance, do not place them near doorways or exits.

What factors go into determining where to place fume hoods?

The placement of fume hoods in a laboratory is not a trivial matter. It can affect not only the performance and safety of the fume hoods themselves, but also the overall ventilation, comfort and energy efficiency of the laboratory. Some of the factors to consider when placing fume hoods are:

  • The type and size of the fume hood: There are different types of fume hoods, such as ducted, filtered or workstation extraction systems, that have different requirements for space, ventilation and maintenance. The size of the fume hood should match the size of the work area and the equipment inside it.
  • The location of the exhaust fan and ductwork: To minimize pressure losses and energy consumption, the exhaust fan and ductwork should be located as close as possible to a used fume hood. Design ductwork to avoid sharp bends, obstructions or leaks that may reduce air flow or cause noise.
  • The distance from other equipment or sources of air disturbance: Place fume hoods away from doors, windows, air supply vents, fans or other equipment that may create air currents or turbulence that can interfere with the air flow through the hood. Install the fume hood away from heat sources or electrical equipment that may generate sparks or flames.
  • The orientation of the fume hood: Orient fume hoods so that the worker faces the hood when working inside it, and does not have to turn their back to other hazards or distractions in the laboratory. Orient them so that they do not face each other or create cross drafts that may compromise their performance.
  • The accessibility and visibility of the fume hood: Place fume hoods so that they are easily accessible for workers, maintenance personnel and emergency responders. When determining placement, ensure that they provide a clear view of the work area inside them, and do not obstruct the view of other areas or activities in the laboratory.

Placement and Location = Efficiency

Whether it’s a used fume hood you are installing, or a new manufactured unit, LEI Sales has a huge collection for you to choose from. But remember: location and placement matters! These are vital for laboratory safety and efficiency, but their proper location and placement is important for them to function efficiently. By considering these factors, laboratory managers can ensure that their fume hoods provide adequate protection for workers and environment, while minimizing energy consumption and operational costs.

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