By now, you are aware that we’re huge fans of safe equipment. By keeping your equipment properly maintained, you ensure the safety of users, the workplace and the environment. Not to mention, you’ll also extend the longevity of your equipment, prevent potential high cost and reduce unnecessary downtime. Biological Safety Cabinets and Ductless Fume Hoods are no exception to these rules.

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Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC) and Ductless Fume Hoods are designed to act as a barrier, preventing infectious agents from contaminating the user, the product and the environment. To maintain this high sense of protection, both pieces of equipment must be properly maintained year round. Your plan should include proper cleaning, changing HEPA filters and more.

Proper Cleaning

Your BSCs and Ductless Fume Hoods should be wiped down before and after each use with a disinfectant to ensure the safety of users and the work environment. The EPA suggests doing a more thorough cleaning once a quarter. At this time, removable parts, such as the panel and grill, should be taken off and cleaned as well.

Incorrect products are a commonly made error in cleaning BSCs and Ductless Fume Hood surfaces. Make sure to use a disinfectant with  70% alcohol, or a similar non-corrosive anti-microbial agent, to keep your stainless steel unit in top condition.

Replacing HEPA Filters

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters should be checked every month and typically need to be replaced every six months. During your monthly check, make sure to look for punctures and potential airflow issues. Prior to removal, the filter must be decontaminated of hazardous microorganisms through the use of formaldehyde gas.

Proper HEPA filter replacement in Ductless Fume Hoods is one of the most important steps in preventive maintenance procedures. The life of a filter can range from 2 months to two years depending on chemicals used, evaporation rates of those chemicals and more. For the health of users and the life of the equipment, the HEPA filter should be safely replaced in accordance to the filter’s respective predictive life and at the discretion of the facility owner or operations manager.

It is becoming commonplace for units to have an alarm that triggers when airflow is low, but these alarms should not be solely relied on. Thorough notes of replacements, repairs and testings should be kept in Monitoring and Maintenance Record Forms.

Ultraviolet Light & Blower Motor Checks

Ultraviolet lights in BSCs should be wiped down with a clean cloth lightly soaked in alcohol to prevent a decrease in effectiveness. As part of certification, ultraviolet lights will be annually checked for intensity as well as integrity. If you notice a decrease in either between required certification testing, you should replace the light, or lights, to maintain safety.

Blower motors in both BSCs and Ductless Fume Hoods should always be turned in compliance with manufacturer recommendations, typically several minutes before use, to ensure proper operation. If a decrease in airflow occurs between uses or during your use, discontinue use of the unit, and have an accredited service provider replace the blower.

Testing & Certification

To ensure that your preventative maintenance is keeping your environment safe for your employees, you must have your BSC and Ductless Fume Hoods tested and certified by an accredited field certifier. A series of tests, including but not limited to a HEPA filter leak, downflow blower speed and intensity of the ultraviolet light, should be run at the time of install, when a unit is moved, after any major repair or at least once a year. Depending on the governing industry, more frequent tests may be required. Not sure of your governing industry and frequency? Contact us for a free consult.

Proper maintenance is critical to reducing future issues, company costs and downtime. These simple preventative plans for Biological Safety Cabinets and Ductless Fume Hoods also ensure the safety of users, the workplace and the environment. By following these plans and consulting with your single source provider, Rasmussen Mechanical Services, you will operate both safely and efficiently.

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