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The good, the bad, and the better: examining ducted and ductless air filtration fume hoods that fit all lab applications and safety directives.

Understanding the confusion

In order to clear up the many misconceptions associated with the use of filtering ductless fume hoods a frank discussion of the facts versus misinformation, perceived as the truth, is necessary. In presenting an accurate description, safety standards, actual chemical testing processes, and sustainability issues need to be addressed.

It is easy to understand the pervasive reluctance to examine the benefits that a ductless fume hood brings to the laboratory especially when one considers that their use has been banned in many educational and industrial institution’s EHS handbooks. Taking a closer look, we find that the directive exists as an administrative effort to guarantee safety in the lab, no matter what chemicals or substances are actually being used. In other words, using ducted fume hoods takes the guesswork out of keeping lab personnel safe. This may be true, but the other side of the coin contains real value and deserves to be considered.

Upon closer examination

Let’s begin by examining the claim that when working with a more volatile range of chemicals in PollutionAndCleanAirthe lab a ducted fume hood may be required.

This is indeed a fact. It is also a fact that the contaminated air pulled through the exhaust ducts and fans is vented to the atmosphere. While this method ensures that hazardous fumes, vapors and particulates are removed from the workplace it is not a sustainable process as that hazardous air is dispersed into the greater community. Being an active shepherd of the environment is everyone’s responsibility, but until directive’s and codes are revised what is the alternative?

The solution is to minimize environmental impact

Whether a lab project is a renovation or is incorporated into a new building plan, the solution lies in minimizing the impact of the ducted hoods, admittedly necessary for some applications. This is ChemLabBeforeAfter done by installing portable, energy efficient ductless fume hoods or more permanent filtered fume hoods, both of which use a tested, high quality filtration system to eliminate contaminants, returning only clean air back into the lab. This solution minimizes the effect of bad air being expelled into the environment by limiting the instances where the ducted hoods are used.

Additionally, ductless and filtered fume hoods minimize the amount of ventilation ’make-up’ air required to be brought into the lab through the HVAC systems. Ventilation air, 100% fresh air by definition, requires significant energy to move, heat, and cool. When only ducted hoods are employed the spend on energy is literally vented to the atmosphere with every usage. This is neither cost effective nor sustainable.

Consider both sides of the coin

Labs and lab designers don’t have to make the choice between “Ducted” or “Ductless” fume hoods. Lab and facility managers already know what kind of chemicals are mandated for use with only ducted fume hoods. What they might not know is how over 700 tried and tested chemicals have been individually validated and assessed for customers using Erlab’s unique air filtration. WellesleyLab ductless fume hoods. To be clear this chemical assessment is robust, submitted in writing to the customer, and superior to other methods of testing. It is Erlab’s guarantee of safety for the user and lab occupants.

The reality is this: introducing this type of ductless fume hood into your laboratory plan will increase the safety for people in the lab as well as outside. These fume hoods are also more cost effective than ducted fume hoods, are swing space compliant, that is they are easily relocated when renovations are planned, decrease a lab’s carbon footprint, and allow for lower allocation of funding needed for new lab space.

So, by all means keep a ducted hood for when it’s needed, but give serious consideration to reviewing the Erlab ductless and filtered fume hoodsFiltering chemical fume hoods for the protection and safety of laboratory personnel and join the growing global community of clients who have found a better way to eliminate contaminated air in the laboratory and atmosphere.

About Erlab

As the inventor of the ductless laboratory fume hood and worldwide leader since 1968, Erlab’s passion is to focus on the research and development, design, and manufacturing of cutting-edge toxic gas air filtration in the laboratory. As an industry innovator, Erlab is committed to safety, performance, energy efficiency, and sustainability, and has remained number one in the world for ductless fume hoods.

© Erlab 2021