laboratory fume hood

Designing an Efficient Laboratory Fume Hood System: Tips and Recommendations

Laboratory fume hoods are critical components in ensuring the safety of laboratory personnel and maintaining a clean working environment. They are designed to contain and exhaust hazardous fumes, gases, and airborne particles generated during laboratory experiments and procedures. Designing an efficient fume hood system requires careful consideration of several factors, including the type of fume hood, proper placement, airflow requirements, and maintenance protocols. Global Lab Supply recognizes the importance of designing an efficient laboratory fume hood system and offers expert insights to help you create a safe and productive working environment. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key tips and recommendations for designing an efficient laboratory fume hood system.

Determine the Type of Fume Hood

There are different types of laboratory fume hoods available, each with specific features and applications. Consider the following factors when selecting the type of fume hood for your laboratory:

Ducted Fume Hoods: Ducted fume hoods are connected to an exhaust system, which removes hazardous fumes and releases them safely outside the building. These hoods offer excellent containment but require proper ventilation and ductwork design.

Ductless Fume Hoods: Ductless fume hoods use filters to capture and remove hazardous fumes before recirculating the filtered air back into the laboratory. These hoods are suitable for laboratories where ductwork is not feasible or cost-effective.

Biosafety Cabinets: Biosafety cabinets are specialized fume hoods designed to provide both personnel and product protection in microbiological research and handling of biohazardous materials. These cabinets have specific airflow patterns and filter systems to maintain sterility and containment.

Proper Placement and Location

The proper placement and location of fume hoods within the laboratory are essential for their effective operation and safety. Consider the following guidelines:

Adequate Distance: Maintain a sufficient distance between fume hoods to prevent airflow interference. Avoid placing hoods directly opposite each other to minimize cross-drafts.

Access and Visibility: Ensure that fume hoods are easily accessible and visible to laboratory personnel. Proper lighting and unobstructed pathways are essential for safe and efficient operations.

Consider Adjacent Equipment: Take into account the proximity of other laboratory equipment and processes when placing fume hoods. Avoid placing hoods near heat sources or areas with excessive vibrations, which can affect the performance of the hood.

Traffic Flow: Plan the placement of fume hoods to accommodate the laboratory’s traffic flow and minimize congestion. Consider the movement of personnel, equipment, and materials within the laboratory.

Determine Airflow Requirements

Proper airflow is crucial for the effective containment and removal of hazardous fumes within the fume hood. Consider the following airflow requirements:

Face Velocity: Determine the appropriate face velocity for your fume hood, which is the velocity of air entering the hood’s face opening. The recommended face velocity may vary depending on the type of hood and the substances being used. Consult relevant guidelines and regulations to determine the appropriate face velocity.

Sash Height: Proper sash height is important for maintaining proper airflow and containment. Ensure that laboratory personnel are aware of the correct sash height and adhere to it during operations.

Ventilation System: Design an efficient ventilation system that provides sufficient airflow for the laboratory, including the fume hood system. Consider the overall ventilation requirements, including exhaust fans, ductwork, and air balancing, to ensure effective air exchange and removal of contaminants.

Monitor and Control: Install airflow monitors and alarms to continuously monitor the face velocity and alert personnel in case of deviations from the recommended levels. Consider using variable air volume (VAV) systems to adjust the airflow based on the actual usage and maintain energy efficiency.

Maintenance and Testing Protocols

Regular maintenance and testing are vital to ensure the continued performance and safety of the fume hood system. Establish the following protocols:

Periodic Inspections: Conduct regular inspections of the fume hoods, including the sashes, filters, alarms, and other components. Check for any signs of damage, wear, or malfunctioning parts.

Filter Replacement: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for filter replacement intervals. Replace filters as needed to maintain the proper containment and airflow efficiency.

Sash Calibration: Calibrate and adjust the sashes periodically to ensure proper operation and adherence to the recommended face velocity. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for the specific calibration procedures.

Airflow Testing: Perform regular airflow testing to verify the face velocity and overall performance of the fume hood system. Use calibrated airflow measuring devices and follow industry standards and guidelines for testing procedures.

Training and Awareness: Provide comprehensive training to laboratory personnel on the proper use and maintenance of fume hoods. Emphasize the importance of adhering to safety protocols and maintaining a clean and efficient working environment.


Designing an efficient laboratory fume hood system requires careful consideration of various factors, including the type of fume hood, proper placement, airflow requirements, and maintenance protocols. By following the tips and recommendations outlined in this guide, you can create a safe and productive working environment for your laboratory personnel.

Global Lab Supply understands the importance of efficient fume hood systems and offers a range of high-quality fume hoods and related equipment to meet the diverse needs of scientific laboratories. Trust Global Lab Supply for your laboratory equipment needs and ensure the safety and productivity of your laboratory operations through efficient fume hood system design.

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