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Chemical Fume Hood Use 

Tips for Effective Fume Hood Use

  • Perform all work that involves hazardous and noxious materials in the hood.
  • Keep the sash height at or below the arrow on the hood inspection label. This indicates minimum working height to maintain the hoods face velocity at ~100 FPM.
  • Elevate large apparatus at least 2 inches from the hood deck to allow air to flow around the object and eliminate “dead-air” zones. (Except where rotating equipment is used that may become unstable if elevated.)
  • Work at least 6 inches into the face of the hood to reduce the effect of turbulence. Use a piece of tape to mark the deck of the hood.
  • Work extending arms under or around the sash, placing the head behind the sash, with the glass between the worker and the chemical source. The sash will act as a primary barrier in the event of spill, splash or explosion.
  • Assure that the controls for all services (i.e., vacuum, gas, electric) are located outside of the face of the hood.
  • Put the minimum amount of materials in the hood required for the current operation. Each additional item in the hood creates additional turbulence and potential for gas/vapor escape.
  • Have a safety plan that includes emergency operations for each procedure that you begin in the hood. What will you do if the hood breaks down or an accident occurs?
  • Collect large amounts of chemical vaporized in an operation by distillation or other means. Dispose of collected material as a waste. Minimize waste by adding a step to render the waste non-hazardous.
  • Do not walk directly behind someone working in a hood. (Your draft can pull fumes out of the hood.)
  • Do not Raise or lower the sash quickly. (Same drafts.) · Cover air vents, move ceiling tiles, use small fans, open windows or otherwise alter the air distribution patterns in the lab. Air distribution in the room affects hood function.
  • Never store chemicals, waste or equipment in the hood. They block the baffles and create “dead-air” zones.
  • Only use perchloric acid in a water-washed hood.
  • Only use chemicals in a chemical fume hood. Biosafety cabinets are used for infectious materials.

Hood Maintenance

  • Hood inspection stickers should be current within one year.
  • Face velocity should measure between 80 –120 fpm.
  • If you use flammable liquids be sure you have an explosion proof fan motor attached to your hood. (Vapors from some distillations can exceed 20 % of the lower explosive limit of some solvents.)
  • Report suspected hood malfunctions to Environmental Health and Safety to have the hood tested and ECU Facilities Services for specific repairs.