Older lab equipment doesn’t last forever. Equipment typically gets replaced every now and then or when something breaks. It’s easy to look at a big machine or a counter top and think it was built like a truck, but this is erroneous and dangerous, especially when it comes to fume hoods. A recent survey of laboratories showed that roughly one-fifth of them were going to replace their fume hood; a whopping one-third of those replacements were due to old age! If you’ve recently completed a safety checklist but aren’t sure if the issues you found require the equipment to be replaced, use this guide to keep your lab safe.
Failed Safety Tests
Upgrading your custom fume hood isn’t just about getting a new shiny piece of equipment. It’s all about keeping you safe. The moment you realize your fume hood isn’t doing enough to keep you safe is when you should look into a replacement.
A big red flag is if your hood fails to pass its annual filtration test but the filters are new or in good condition. This sometimes happens due to other variables, but, more than likely, it’s your 30-year-old fume hood breaking down. The fact of the matter is that older fume hoods don’t have the technological or safety features modern-day hoods have.
Material degradation is another reason to replace a fume hood. Obvious signs of this include discoloration of the material inside the hood, etches or scratches, or fogging of the windows that can’t be (or isn’t easily) cleaned off.
If the interior doesn’t physically look like it’s made of one material throughout, then its structure may be weakened and becoming unsafe. This can get bad enough to the point where the internal parts of the hood start degrading and corroding.
One sign of this is a loud fan that makes noises or inconsistent spinning speeds. These signs are due to prolonged exposure to chemicals, in general, or an exposure to a wide variety of chemicals that older hoods were not designed to handle.
Replacing something by virtue of its being old may seem like an unimportant condition and a bit like excessive spending, but it’s important to note how much technology has changed over the last few decades. Older fume hoods don’t keep pace with newer chemical applications.
Laboratory space is at a premium; you may need more time or space with your fume hood than you can feasibly get with your current setup. If you’ve hired on more staff or are running more experiments, the hoods you have may not be able to keep up.
Older hood hardware can be an issue, too. It may be too expensive to upgrade, too difficult to adjust, or simply impossible to bring up to code. It will degrade faster if you’re using the hood with chemicals it wasn’t designed for. Using these chemicals can create buildup on the viewing glass, scratch and corrode the interior, and corrode the internal parts of the hood and ducts.
This can all lead to the hood not working as intended or potentially breaking completely in the middle of an experiment.
Need to replace your fume hood? Genie Scientific offers a broad range of hoods to serve many laboratory needs. Shop for parts, hoods, supplies, and more right from your laboratory, now, by browsing our extensive catalog located on our website.