The necessity of an exhaust hood is immense in biological or chemical laboratories. Needless to say, its existence in almost all parts of the globe. If you are someone related to the scientific world, you should definitely know this amazing invention that has been saving lives from toxic fumes for ages. This device is specialized to ensure that in a laboratory environment, work with lethal or toxic chemicals is safely performed in a hooded set-up and that the harmful fumes derived from such chemicals are evacuated through the exhaust hood.
Scientists are readily using such exhaust hoods for various purposes, and it is imperative for someone from such a background to know the basics of it. Therefore, if you happen to have questions related to this highly useful device, read along to clear the basics.
What are the most commonly used variants available?
In case you are setting up your own laboratory or assisting someone in the same, it is crucial that you pick up the right variant of laboratory exhaust hood for the purpose. In order to do so, you will need to have a comprehensive knowledge of all the commonly used variants of exhaust hoods.
Functionally, two variants are available, namely—ductless and ducted exhaust hoods. A ductless exhaust is an advanced variant, where the exhaust hood is not connected with ducts to the outside environment. At the same time, a ducted exhaust has a more efficient facility of evacuating the fumes by means of ducts that are connected to the outside environment.
Apart from these, there are variants on the basis of the metal used as well. Chemical resistant Polypropylene and chemical, heat, and moisture resistant Stainless Steel are among the widely used variants in this regard. Usually, these have a ducted facility and are used in most laboratories nowadays.
How to choose the right variant for you?
It is obvious to get confused by the range of exhaust hoods you can get for your laboratory or your own purpose. But it would be best if you remembered that only with the right selection will you potentially solve your purpose.
Here are some tips on how you can get the correct variant for you. You should know the purpose of buying it in the first place—if it is for a large-scale use or small-scale use, if you will need specialized features (high resistance to chemicals and lethal substances/moisture/heat) or if you will need to move it from one place to other. Answer each of these questions clearly to find out which variant is best for you.
Additionally, you may also consider the cost; however, quite often, people end up choosing the wrong variant due to having a strict budget. So, it is always safe to rank “cost” as the last criteria when deciding laboratory instruments and devices.
What is the difference between a conventional and laboratory exhaust hood?
In simple words, the mechanism of any exhaust system is similar to that of a ventilator. It is the most fundamental reason why exhausts are used in fumy environments. However, in case it is solely designed for the laboratories, it may have some additional mechanisms.
For instance, a conventional exhaust (e.g., one used in the kitchen) may not have a wide hood to cover most of the workstation, but such is not the case with laboratory exhausts. They are designed so that you can perform your work or experiment in a completely hooded atmosphere. This means you and your laboratory will be safe from any harmful exposure that you may come across when dealing with harmful chemicals.
Besides, conventional exhausts do not have a wide range of variants such as ductless, ducted, and even portable, which are found in the case of laboratory-based exhaust hoods. Also, the latter is resistant to harmful chemicals, which may not be the case for normal exhaust systems.
How to extend longevity?
It is important to understand that all laboratory devices need extensive care and maintenance throughout their use. You should take more care, especially if the devices are in regular use, such as an exhaust hood. The easiest way to do this is to set up a weekly routine of checking it carefully for any damages.
You need to follow the cleaning manual and repeat doing it weekly. You may alternatively get an expert to have a monthly check-up as well. The trick is to always be on watch, and your device will have a longer life. So, the next time you use your exhaust hood, make sure to book a date for its weekly check-up, or you may do it yourself.