July 10


DOP Testing Explained

Last updated on July 10, 2024

DOP Testing

DOP Testing Explained: Ensuring HEPA Filter Efficiency in Your UK Laboratory

Clean air is the lifeblood of any laboratory. It is essential for protecting experiments, ensuring the safety of personnel, and maintaining compliance with stringent regulations. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are the frontline defence against airborne contaminants, but how can you be sure they're doing their job effectively? That's where DOP testing comes into play.

Welcome to our article on DOP testing for UK laboratories. We are Holliday Technical Services, a UK based specialist fume cupboard, laminar flow, biosafety cabinet and other fume extracted equipment service company based in West Yorkshire but covering the whole of the UK.

HTS is a family owned and operated business that has been providing fume cupboard testing for over 18 years and our group have been involved in thousands of installations large and small, from providing annual testing of university campus to providing small stand-alone laboratories and industry with one or two fume cupboards with annual fume cupboard testing. 

So, let's dig into this topic and ensure your lab gets the most from its HEPA filters.

What is DOP Testing?

DOP testing, short for Dispersed Oil Particulate testing, is a rigorous method for evaluating the integrity and efficiency of HEPA filters. It involves challenging the filter with a known concentration of aerosol particles and measuring how many particles pass through. This allows technicians to identify leaks, pinpoint areas of inefficiency, and verify that the filter is performing as expected.

Why DOP Testing Matters

HEPA filters are designed to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. This includes a wide range of contaminants, from dust and pollen to bacteria and viruses. In laboratories, where even the smallest contamination can compromise research and endanger personnel, the integrity of HEPA filters is paramount.

Here's a deeper look at the benefits of DOP testing:

  • Safety Assurance: By confirming that HEPA filters are functioning correctly, DOP testing helps create a safe working environment for laboratory staff, protecting them from potentially harmful airborne substances.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Many industries, especially pharmaceuticals and healthcare, are subject to strict air quality regulations. Regular DOP testing is often a mandatory requirement for maintaining compliance and ensuring product quality.
  • Performance Optimisation: Identifying leaks or weak points in the filter allows for timely repairs or replacements, preventing costly downtime and ensuring optimal air quality.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your HEPA filters have been thoroughly tested and are performing at their peak provides peace of mind and confidence in the integrity of your lab environment.

How DOP Testing Works: A Step-by-Step Breakdown

  1. Pre-Test Inspection: A qualified technician will start by visually inspecting the filter housing, seals, and gaskets to identify any obvious damage or signs of wear.
  2. Aerosol Generation: A specialised aerosol generator produces a calibrated concentration of oil particles (usually poly-alpha-olefin, or PAO). These particles are introduced upstream of the HEPA filter.
  3. Particle Measurement: A photometer, a device that measures light scattering caused by particles, is used to detect and quantify any particles that pass through the filter.
  4. Scanning and Data Collection: The technician systematically scans the filter face and surrounding areas with the photometer, recording particle concentrations at various points.
  5. Data Analysis and Reporting: The collected data is analysed to determine the filter's overall efficiency and pinpoint any areas of leakage or inefficiency. A detailed report is then prepared, outlining the results and any necessary recommendations.

Common Challenges and Solutions in DOP Testing

  • Uneven Aerosol Distribution: Ensuring a uniform distribution of aerosol particles is crucial for accurate results. This can be achieved through careful positioning of the generator and the use of mixing devices.
  • False Readings: Environmental factors, equipment malfunctions, or procedural errors can lead to false readings. Regular calibration of testing equipment and adherence to strict protocols are essential to minimise this risk.
  • Equipment Limitations: DOP testing requires specialised equipment with specific capabilities. Understanding these limitations is key to interpreting the results accurately.

Why Choose Holliday Technical Services for Your DOP Testing Needs?

Holliday Technical Services is a leading provider of fume cupboard and clean air testing services in the UK. Our highly trained technicians have extensive experience in DOP testing and HEPA filter maintenance. We serve a diverse range of clients, including prestigious research institutions, industrial facilities, and educational establishments. Our commitment to quality, safety, and regulatory compliance makes us the ideal partner for all your DOP testing and fume cupboard servicing needs.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ensure the optimal performance of your HEPA filters.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should DOP testing be performed? Frequency depends on industry regulations and the specific use of the HEPA filter. Annual or biannual testing is common in many settings.
  • Can I perform DOP testing myself? DOP testing should only be conducted by qualified technicians with specialised training and equipment.
  • Is DOP testing safe? Yes, when performed by trained professionals, DOP testing is a safe procedure. The oil particles used are non-toxic and pose no health risks.

Consider reaching out to Holliday Technical Services and speak to one of our team today. We have specialist technicians available for fume cupboard testing, laminar flow, biosafety cabinets, and other LEV equipment. Holliday Technical Services can also offer via our sister company HFH (Holliday Fielding Hocking Ltd) access to purchasing new and refurbished equipment which can be installed in any laboratory, school, business or university in the UK. Contact us on: +44 (0)113 245 4111.

Reach Out to Holliday Technical Services for Prompt Fume Cupboard Testing in the UK

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