When Should We Replace Our Biological Safety Cabinets
Biological Safety Cabinets Have a 15 Year Useable Life
Several considerations should be made of BSC’s in this age group.
- Will the BSC need extensive service?
(i.e. HEPA filter replacement, blower/motor replacement, electrical system replacement? etc.).
- Can an older BSC be commissioned after it has been in storage or purchased as a resale?
- Will original test reports/manuals be available or will the BSC be commissioned to current NSF standards?
After 15 years, replacement parts may or may not be available due to electrical or mechanical changes at the factory or industrial part suppliers. For example, magnetic ballasts and T12 fluorescent bulbs are no longer readily available since the year 2010.
In addition, today’s BSC’s have evolved through the years with many improvements in safety containment performance, ergonomics, serviceability, and energy efficiency that should be considered in a repair versus replacement decision.
IMPROVEMENTS IN SAFETY CONTAINMENT PERFORMANCE has been driven by many factors over the years. Product design, airflow optimization, improved HEPA filters and testing methods have all had a major impact on safety containment performance improvement. However, the single largest impact was the 1992 Revision of the NSF Standard 49. BSC’s that were submitted to NSF for product testing after 1992 had several new tests performed on them that required each manufacturer to adjust and/or improve their BSC’s to assure compliance to the revised standard. These new tests included direct inflow measurement of inflow velocity, motor/ blower performance and biological safety containment performance tolerance testing. As stated above, each of these new tests provide a higher level of safety containment performance. The direct inflow measurement test provides the certifier a more accurate and consistent method to assure proper airflows are being set during the certification process. The motor/blower test assures a minimum HEPA filter loading capacity (NuAire provides greater loading capacity). The biological safety containment performance tolerance test assures maximum product and personnel protection through the entire settable airflow range optimizing containment performance. While the previous NSF standard only required biological testing at the nominal airflow setpoint. The revised standard requires biological testing at multiple airflow setpoints challenging the BSC for abnormal airflow conditions that provides a more robust safety containment system.