Lab Ventilation & Fume Hoods

  • Research Safety & Services
  • Occupational Safety & Risk Management
  • Facility Support Services
  • Ventilation Systems

    Ventilation systems for laboratories are normally designed to provide 6 – 12 air changes per hour at a slightly negative pressure relative to hallways and office space. It is important to keep lab doors and windows closed as much as possible for proper pressure balance and ventilation of the lab.

    Fume Hoods

    Chemical fume hoods are intended to remove vapors, gases, and dusts of toxic, flammable, corrosive or otherwise dangerous materials. It is important for lab staff to understand how the chemical fume hood in the lab functions.

    Proper Use of Fume Hoods

    With the sash lowered to the indicated level for proper airflow, laboratory fume hoods can also afford workers protection from such hazards as chemical splashes or sprays and fires. Sash heights are posted and updated annually on the EH&S sticker attached to each hood.

    If the hood’s low airflow alarm is sounding, the lab staff must immediately end their work in the hood, close all chemical containers and close the sash. Contact the appropriate maintenance department to have the ventilation system repaired. Do not ignore or disconnect any fume hood alarm.

    The use of heated or evaporating perchloric acid requires a specialty fume hood to avoid potentially explosive conditions. Do not use heated perchloric acid before consulting with and obtaining approval from EH&S.


    Lab VentilationEH&S profiles each hood annually as mandated by the State Fire Marshal and National Fire Protection Association. The EH&S profile sticker will provide information on the type of hood, intended use and sash height settings. If your fume hood has not been profiled in more than a year, please contact us at

    Fume Hood Repairs

    If a hood needs to be repaired, it is the responsibility of the lab staff to stop all work in the hood, submit a work order, clear the hood of chemicals or equipment, and clean the hood of any potential contamination. A fume hood can be cleaned by wiping all surfaces with soap and water.

    Please visit the Fume Hood Inspection Schedule for the anticipated date EH&S will inspect your unit.