What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Ducted Fume Hood

What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Ducted Fume Hood

What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Ducted Fume Hood

Posted on the 29th of Jun 2016 by admin

Ducted Fume Hoods are the traditional type of fume hoods and are fixed in position with a ducted system in place so that fumes are expelled up through the ducts and out of the building. As this type of fume hood also requires services such as ductwork, exhaust fans, and mechanical systems, you can see how the setup of a ducted fume hood is a significant investment. There are a few considerations that you should take into account before making a purchase of a ducted fume hood. For the purpose of this article, fume hood refers to a ducted fume hood. Ductless fume hoods are beyond the scope of this article and will be covered separately at a later stage.

Location of Fume Hoods


The location of a fume hood is something that needs to be considered prior to purchase. Australian Standards AS/NZS 2243.8:2006 outlines the positioning requirements of fume hoods in a laboratory. In positioning a fume hood, you need to take into consideration the below requirements:

  • Proximity to traffic areas – There needs to be at least 1m between the sash (which is the protective barrier between the experiment and the researcher) and any traffic area. This means that there should be a 1m undisturbed zone between the sash and the traffic area. In saying that, the standards also state that if the laboratory traffic area is in frequent or continual use, the minimum distance of the traffic area should be 3m.
  • Proximity to benchtops – If the fume hood is near an opposing benchtop, a minimum distance between the sash and the benchtop should be at least 1.5m. This is applicable where the same operator is using both the fume hood and the benchtop or where only occasional traffic is anticipated.
  • Proximity to walls, other obstructions, and other operators – An opposing wall, other major obstruction, or an opposing bench used by another operator must not be within 1.8m of the sash.
  • Proximity to architectural obstacles
    • Walls or similar – a fume hood should not be closer than 300mm from each side of the fume hood to a wall or similar smooth obstruction that extends past the line of the face of the fume cupboard.
    • Other obstructions – obstructions should not have the face of the column in front of the plane of a sash.
    • Doorways – a doorway should not be within 1.5m of the sash or should not be within 1m from the side of the fume hood.
    • Maintenance access – a fume hood should have adequate access for maintenance as specified by the manufacturer’s requirements.

Commissioning of Fume Hoods


To be compliant with AS/NZS 2243.8:2006, commissioning testing must be carried out in accordance with Australian Standards to ensure proper functionality and proper ventilation. The commissioning tests will need to include a smoke test, face velocity, noise level, and illuminance. AS/NZS 2243.8:2006 outlines all requirements of commissioning testing in detail and states that testing shall only be carried out by a competent person. Results of the test need to be recorded with copies available with the operating and maintenance manuals. It is also important to supply a copy of the test results to laboratory managers.

Maintenance of Fume Hoods


On top of commissioning your fume hood, it is important that you subject your fume hood to regular maintenance and testing. When maintenance is occurring, the fume hood should be removed from a power source and tagged ‘system under maintenance-do not use’. All chemicals should also be removed from the fume hood whilst maintenance testing is being conducted. Six-monthly, and annual maintenance checks should be conducted on fume hoods as outlined in AS/NZS 2243.8:2006 and reports of the maintenance checks should be submitted to the laboratory manager. Weekly checks may also be required if you have air-cleaning devices installed.

A ducted fume hood is a significant investment for any laboratory. It is important that you plan where it will be situated prior to purchase to ensure that you are in accordance with Australian Standards. Be sure to keep in mind what will be required for installation and that you have arranged commissioning by a competent person upon installation. By planning the installation of a fume hood upfront and including all the additional areas that require consideration, you will have an understanding of all costs upfront as well as all components of an installation. This will ensure that you enjoy a smooth installation process and that no hidden costs occur throughout the project. For more information, you can download a copy of the relevant Australian Standards (purchase required).

Requiring a Ducted Fume Hood? Contact us for a proposal, we can also provide commissioning services – 1800 358 101 or sales@westlab.com.au.

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