When Should A Biosafety Cabinets Be Replaced?

Average unit life expectancy is from 15 to 20 years and maintenance cost increase from there. So when should a biosafety cabinet be replaced?

This is a question we get asked a lot as a lab safety service provider. The answer will vary depending on how well the unit has been taken care of over the years and a number of other factors. In this article we share the most important things to consider when deciding if you should replace your biosafety cabinet.

Average Lifespan And Other Considerations

The average biological safety cabinet has a 15-to-20-year life span. When your unit begins to approach this age the financial case for purchasing a new unit becomes stronger. A unit at 15-to-20-years of age will start to require more extensive service. This may involve blower motor or electrical system replacement which can be expensive and cost prohibitive on an old unit.

At this stage replacement parts can also become harder to source and in some cases may not be available at all.

NSF standard changes are another, albeit, less common thing to consider. The last big change took place in 1992 in which BSC were required to pass new tests to meet the updated standards. According to Nuair, the revision to NSF Standard 49 required:

“These new tests included direct inflow measurement of inflow velocity, motor/ blower performance and biological safety containment performance tolerance testing… Since the revised standard was effective in 1992, any BSC submitted after 1992 would include these new tests.”

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Energy Savings

Energy savings alone are sometimes reason enough to replace an older unit. According to Baker, a biological safety cabinet manufacturer;

“If your lab uses a biosafety cabinet that is 15 or more years old, and you replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient cabinet, you can expect to receive an annual operating cost savings of up to $1,900 per unit. Or $28,500 over that same 15-year period of time, when run under optimal conditions.”


Due to increasing service and repair costs, dwindling availability of replacement parts, and increased energy consumption, replacement is a viable option for aging units. The energy efficiency increases alone can often pay for the new units in a matter of a few years. At Balcon, we can help evaluate your system and give you recommendation on what is right for you. Give us a call at (712)-309-3680 or contact us online.