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Ducted or Recirculating Fume Hoods – How do you choose the right type for you?
Chemical fume hoods, aka fume cupboards, play a crucial role in laboratories and industrial settings by providing a safe working environment for handling hazardous chemicals. When it comes to fume hood systems, there are two primary types: ducted chemical fume hoods and recirculating chemical fume hoods. Each has its own unique features and benefits, making them suitable for different applications. Here, we will explore the differences between these two types of fume hoods, shedding light on ways to determine which type of fume hood is best for your lab.
Ducted Chemical Fume Hoods:
Ducted chemical fume hoods are widely used across industries and research facilities. They rely on a ventilation system that connects the hood to an exhaust duct, allowing the capture and removal of hazardous fumes, gases, and vapours from the workspace. Here are some key features and benefits of ducted chemical fume hoods:
Effective Containment: Ducted hoods offer superior containment capabilities by directly venting the captured fumes outside the building. This ensures that hazardous substances are completely removed from the working environment, reducing the risk of exposure to researchers, and minimising the potential for cross-contamination.
Versatility: Ducted fume hoods can handle a wide range of chemicals and applications, including highly toxic or corrosive substances. The continuous extraction of fumes allows for long-term usage without concerns about filter saturation or reduced efficiency.
Recirculating Chemical Fume Hoods:
Recirculating chemical fume hoods, also known as filtered fume hoods, utilise filtration systems to remove and neutralize hazardous substances from the air. Instead of venting fumes outdoors, recirculating hoods clean the air and recirculate it back into the laboratory, here are some benefits offered by this type of fume hood:
Portability and Installation Flexibility: Recirculating/filtered hoods are easier to install and locate/relocate compared to ducted hoods since they do not require complex ductwork or modifications to the building's infrastructure. This makes them suitable for laboratories with space constraints or when frequent reconfigurations are needed.
Energy Efficiency: Recirculating hoods typically consume less energy than ducted hoods as they do not rely on exhaust systems to remove fumes.
Cost-Effectiveness: For facilities where ductwork installation is not feasible or is cost-prohibitive, recirculating hoods can offer a more economical solution. Their lower installation and maintenance costs, coupled with reduced energy consumption, make them an attractive option for certain applications.
Making An Informed Choice – Important Considerations:
While both types of chemical fume hoods have their advantages, it is essential to consider which most suited to your specific requirements when taking these important considerations into account:
Contamination Containment: Ducted hoods may be more suitable for handling certain chemicals that require immediate removal from the workspace. Filtration/ recirculation systems have limitations in terms of their ability to capture and neutralise certain hazardous substances in entirety. Recirculation hoods only handle a certain quantity of chemicals, so for more than 15, a ducted fume hood system is likely to be a more effective solution
Filter Maintenance: Recirculating fume hoods require regular maintenance, including filter replacements, to ensure optimal performance. Filters must be checked, cleaned, or replaced as per manufacturer guidelines and industry regulations to maintain the appropriate level of safety and air quality.
Application-Specific Needs: The choice between ducted and recirculating fume hoods depends on the types and quantities of chemicals used, the nature of experiments and safety regulations governing the specific application. Consulting with safety professionals and considering local regulations is crucial to ensure compliance and safety.
In conclusion, ducted chemical fume hoods and recirculating chemical fume hoods are both valuable tools for ensuring laboratory safety and preventing exposure to hazardous substances. Ducted hoods excel in providing effective containment and removing fumes directly from the workspace, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. Recirculating hoods offer advantages in terms of installation flexibility, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, but their use may be limited to certain chemicals and applications. Selecting the appropriate type of fume hood depends on careful consideration of specific requirements, safety regulations and the nature of the chemicals being handled.
At Biopharma Group, we pride ourselves on our expertise in airflow technology. Our close partnership with Faster s.r.l. makes us ideally placed to provide reliable advice and solutions, no matter the complexity of the task at hand. Our commitment extends to helping you make informed decisions, and success across projects.
For more information and to explore our range of fume hoods, click here to contact us.