There are a lot of problems you can encounter in your lab that have less to do with the work you’re doing, and more to do with the environment you’re working in. But don’t worry… you can troubleshoot these too.
If you’re experiencing problems with humidity, perhaps you live in a warm climate… Florida…, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier for your lab. A regular dehumidifier that you can buy off Amazon can reduce at least some of the humidity you’re experiencing. If the problem is extreme, there may be something wrong with your HVAC system that you want to have investigated. Check outside air input and whether or not your facility is setting back the thermostats at night.
If you’re having the opposite problem, you can purchase a humidifier that will increase the humidity, if you are in a very dry lab. Also check out using dryer sheets, static guard, or wet gauze for reducing static in dry labs.
Humidity in the lab isn’t just an issue of your comfort. The reagents also don’t like things to get too toasty. Many products and equipment will have a temperature and humidity range that they are meant to be kept in and this is something that regulatory agencies such as CLIA will want to see documented. You should check the manuals for the equipment and supplies you are using to find the range of humidity that is tolerated.
There are also steps you can take to reduce the odor of your laboratory, including using a portable air purifier. Many histology vendors sell ones specifically designed for eliminating chemical odors like formaldehyde. If you do purchase one of these, you will need to make sure to change the filter. Length of time between filter changes varies but is usually around 6 months. You will have to make sure to budget for the filters, as they can get pricey, but are worth it if you want to keep your lab smelling clean.