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Troubleshooting Common Issues with Ductless Fume Hoods

Ductless fume hoods are invaluable tools in laboratories and research facilities, providing a safe and controlled environment for handling hazardous substances. However, like any complex equipment, ductless fume hoods may encounter common issues that can affect their performance and compromise safety. It is essential to be aware of these issues and know how to troubleshoot them effectively. Cleatech, LLC understands the importance of maintaining optimal functionality in ductless fume hoods and offers high-quality solutions for various industries. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore common issues that can arise with ductless fume hoods and provide troubleshooting techniques to address them.

Insufficient Airflow

Insufficient airflow is a common problem in ductless fume hoods and can impact the containment of hazardous substances. Causes and troubleshooting steps include:

  1. Clogged Filters: Over time, filters can become clogged with particulates and contaminants, reducing airflow. Regularly check and clean or replace filters as necessary, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Inadequate Fan Speed: Ensure that the fan speed is appropriately set to achieve the desired airflow. Consult the fume hood’s user manual or contact the manufacturer for guidance on adjusting fan speed settings.
  3. Blocked Air Vents: Check for any obstructions or blockages in the air vents. Clear away any debris or objects that may hinder airflow and ensure unobstructed ventilation.
  4. Incorrect Hood Usage: Verify that the ductless fume hood is being used correctly. Ensure that the sash is in the proper position and that the hood is sealed properly to prevent air leakage.

Odor or Contaminant Leakage

A critical aspect of ductless fume hood performance is containing odors and contaminants. If you notice odor or contaminant leakage, consider the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Sealing Issues: Inspect the seals and gaskets around the fume hood to ensure they are intact and in good condition. Replace any damaged or worn seals to maintain proper containment.
  2. Airflow Disruptions: Check for any gaps or leaks in the fume hood’s structure that may allow odors or contaminants to escape. Ensure that all components are securely fastened and that the hood is properly assembled.
  3. Inadequate Filter Efficiency: If odors or contaminants persist, it may indicate that the filters are not capturing them effectively. Verify that the filters are correctly installed, clean, and functioning properly. Consider replacing the filters if necessary.
  4. User Behavior: Educate users on proper fume hood usage and best practices to minimize odor or contaminant leakage. Encourage them to follow recommended protocols, such as keeping the sash closed when not actively working.

Alarm or Warning Notifications

Ductless fume hoods are often equipped with alarm or warning systems to alert users of potential issues. If you encounter alarm or warning notifications, follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Read the User Manual: Consult the user manual provided by the manufacturer for guidance on interpreting specific alarm codes or warning notifications. Understand their meanings and suggested corrective actions.
  2. Check Sensor Functionality: Verify the functionality of sensors, such as those monitoring airflow, filter saturation, or pressure differentials. Clean or replace sensors as recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Calibration Issues: If the alarm or warning notifications persist, it may indicate a calibration issue with the sensors. Contact the manufacturer or a qualified service technician to perform calibration procedures and ensure accurate readings.
  4. Power Supply Interruptions: Check the power supply to the fume hood and ensure that it is stable and uninterrupted. Power fluctuations or outages can trigger false alarms or malfunctions.

Filter Replacement Schedule

Regular filter replacement is crucial for maintaining the effectiveness of ductless fume hoods. Troubleshooting steps for managing filter replacement schedules include:

  1. Consult Manufacturer Guidelines: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the recommended frequency of filter replacements. These guidelines are typically based on factors such as usage, types of chemicals used, and air quality standards.
  2. Monitor Filter Saturation: Utilize filter saturation indicators or monitoring systems, if available, to track the lifespan of the filters. These indicators provide a visual or digital indication of when filters need replacement.
  3. Record Filter Replacement Dates: Maintain a log or record of filter replacement dates to ensure timely replacements and compliance with safety standards. This documentation serves as evidence of proper maintenance and can be useful during audits or inspections.
  4. Establish Preventive Maintenance Program: Implement a preventive maintenance program that includes regular inspections and filter replacement schedules. This proactive approach ensures that filters are replaced before reaching saturation levels, optimizing fume hood performance and safety.


Proper troubleshooting and maintenance of ductless fume hoods are essential for maintaining a safe and controlled working environment in laboratories and research facilities. By addressing common issues such as insufficient airflow, odor or contaminant leakage, alarm or warning notifications, and filter replacement schedules, you can ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your ductless fume hood. Cleatech, LLC offers high-quality ductless fume hoods and solutions designed to meet the stringent requirements of various industries. With Cleatech’s expertise and guidance, you can effectively troubleshoot and resolve issues to maintain a safe and productive workspace in your facility.

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