12. Fume hoods

Standard Fumehoods:

Fume hoods are an important piece of equipment in the laboratories. To be as safe as possible you need to understand how the fume hood system works. Most fume hoods in the ESB are on a line where up to five fume hoods are attached together with air ducting to a motor on the roof which runs continuously all year to create the draw on the entire line. (There are very few single stack fume hoods in the ESB.) In order for the fume hoods on the line to have maximum airflow and thereby operate as efficiently as possible there are a few procedures you must follow.

  • Leave the sash open no more than 10 inches when you are not using the fume hood in your area.
  • Do not store chemicals or equipment in a fume hood. Remove such items after you have used them for the experiments you were running. (You should never leave open chemicals in the fume hood to evaporate to dryness; pour all waste chemicals into labeled containers and dispose of as chemical waste.)
  • Do not store any items inside the fume hood, it is not meant as an extra storage space for rocks or maps. Do not stack items in front of the fume hood; this too will reduce the airflow of the entire line.


When you do not follow the procedures above, you reduce the airflow to the entire line of fume hoods. Even though the hood in your lab may not be heavily used, the other hoods may be used daily. Your simple act of leaving the sash wide open may be putting other EAS workers in danger because the fume hood in their lab is not drawing as efficiently as it could.


There is a yearly maintenance shutdown of the fume hoods so that the motors on the roof can be checked and services. These times will be posted and a notice will be sent out by e-mail to everyone in the department as well as a notice posted directly on the fume hood.


The lab should stop all chemical activities on this day – in the event of a spill one of the first things you need to do is put the chemical waste into a fume hood. If there are any emergency shutdowns throughout the year we will make every attempt to e-mail/contact people/post notices of the shutdowns. Emergency shutdowns will occur if there is a problem with the motors on the roof.

High Performance Fumehoods in CCIS:

The new types of fumehoods in the CCIS building require that all personnel working with these fume hoods are given training on how to use these hoods properly.  Therefore the Office on Environmental Health & Safety at the U of A have created an E-Class on the high efficiency hoods.  All University personnel who use the fume hoods in CCIS are required to take the E-Class training before using the hoods. To register to take the course – go to the EH&S Home page at:  CCIS Fumehoods and fill out the enrollment form.  You will receive an e-mail to let you know that you have been enrolled into the E-Course.  Once you are enrolled, Staff & Students will have three weeks to complete the course.  If you have any questions contact Michelle Rooker: mrooker@ualberta.ca

After you have received you enrollment confirmation, go to the U of A website and click on E-Class.  You will log under the Staff Learning & Professional Development button, (i.e. bottom button on the page).  Before you can access the course you need to sign in under the correct department; Earth & Atmospheric Sciences CCIS.  Then the information is available for you to read.  To complete the course there is a small test at the end.

The course is structured into two modules, one is a general module applicable to all fumehoods and the other modules covers the high performance fume hoods which are found in the CCIS building.  Then take the small test; you need 80% or higher to pass.  You will have three attempts to take the test and pass; after that you will need to contact Michelle Rooker;[mrooker@ualberta.ca] and have your quiz file reset.

Always check that your Fume Hood is working properly before proceding with any chemical work.