• Some experimentation requires the lab personnel to access equipment or materials toward the upper portion of the chemical hood. If the chemical hood is equipped with a vertical sash, it may be necessary to raise the sash completely in order to conduct the procedure.
ο The laboratory chemical hood must provide adequate containment at that sash height. Thus, the chemical hood must be tested in that position.
ο With the sash completely raised, it no longer provides a barrier between the chemical hood user and the materials within the hood.
ο If the only way to keep the sash in a fully raised position requires the use of a sash stop, the laboratory personnel may get into the habit of leaving the sash in this position, potentially reducing the safety and energy efficiency of the chemical hood.
• The standard operating position for the vertical sash may be comfortable for the majority of users. However, shorter laboratory personnel may find that this position does not provide an adequate barrier from the materials within the chemical hood and may need to adjust downward. Taller laboratory personnel may need to raise the sash more in order to comfortably work in the chemical hood.
For chemical hoods with horizontal sashes, the intended operating configuration is to open the panes in such a way that at least one pane is between both arms, providing a barrier between the user and the contents of the chemical hood. In addition,
• Do not remove panes. Permanently removing panes may decrease the safety afforded by the sash barrier and negatively affect containment and waste energy.
• Working with all panes moved to one side or through an opening in the center of the laboratory chemical hood provides no barrier between the user and the materials within the chemical hood. The chemical hood is not intended to be used in this configuration.
Sash panes should be equal width with a maximum of 15 in. (375 mm) to accommodate use of the sash pane as a protective barrier with operator arm on either side.
Conventional glass or plastic sashes are not designed to provide explosion protection per ANSI/NFPA (ANSI, 2004; NFPA, 2004). Sash panes and viewing panes constructed of composite material (safety glass backed by polycarbonate, with the safety glass toward the explosion hazard) are recommended for chemical hoods used when there is the possibility of explosion or violent overpressurization (e.g., hydrogenation, perchloric acid).
For all laboratory chemical hoods, the sash should be kept closed when the hood is not actively attended. Lowering or closing the sash not only provides additional personal protection but also results in significant energy conservation. Some chemical hoods may be equipped with automatic sash-positioning systems with counterweighting or electronic controls (see section 9.H.2).
9.C.2.7 Constant Operation of Laboratory Chemical Hoods
Although turning laboratory chemical hoods off when not in use saves energy, keeping them on at all times is safer, especially if they are connected directly to a single fan. Because most laboratory facilities are under negative pressure, air may be drawn backward through the nonoperating fan, down the duct, and into the laboratory unless an ultralow-leakage backdraft damper is used in the duct. If the air is cold, it may freeze liquids in the hood. The ducts are rarely insulated; therefore, condensation and ice may form in cold weather. When the chemical hood is turned on again and the duct temperature rises, the ice will melt, and water will run down the ductwork, drip into the hood, and possibly react with chemicals in the hood.
Chemical hoods connected to a common exhaust manifold offer the advantage that the main exhaust system is rarely shut down. Hence, positive ventilation is available on the system at all times. In a constant air volume (CAV) system (see section 9.C.4.1), install shut-off dampers to each chemical hood, allowing passage of enough air to prevent fumes from leaking into the laboratory when the sash is closed. Prudent practice allows 10 to 20% of the full volume of flow to be drawn through the laboratory chemical hood in the off position to prevent excessive corrosion.
Some laboratory chemical hoods on variable air volume (VAV) systems (see section 9.C.4.2) have automatic setback controls that adjust the airflow to a lower face velocity when not in use. The setback may be triggered by occupancy sensors, a light switch, or a timer or a completely lowered sash. Understand what triggers the setback and ensure that the chemical hood is not used for hazardous operations when in setback mode.
Some chemical hoods do have on/off switches and may be turned off for energy conservation reasons. They should only be turned off when they are empty of hazardous materials. An example of an acceptable operation would be a teaching laboratory where the