Standard for Anesthetic Vaporizers


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Standard for Anasthetic Vaporizers



The standards and procedures described below provide guidance to all researchers and animal handlers for maintaining safe and effective anesthetic vaporizers.

Scope of Applicability

All personnel engaged in the use of anesthetic vaporizers in studies involving research animals.

The UNC-CH Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee expects that anyone involved in animal work at the University will comply with this Standard. Requests for exceptions to this Standard must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC and/or Department of Comparative Meidicine (DCM) Management.


To maintain safe and effective operation, all anesthetic vaporizers must periodically be serviced by a trained professional. Service and maintenance should be performed on an established schedule, consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The manufacturer of your vaporizer should have recommended intervals for calibration and maintenance. Please keep a copy of the manufacturer’s service and maintenance recommendations with your vaporizer available to the IACUC for review. If no such recommendation exists, or can be documented, vaporizers must be evaluated every two years. It is the investigator’s responsibility to provide the IACUC with the manufacturer’s specifications for calibration frequency. All calibrations should be documented and readily available during IACUC laboratory inspections. A sticker applied to the vaporizer by the servicing agent will document any service or calibration to a precision vaporizer. The certification label should contain the name of the servicing agent and the date of service.

Additional indications of the need for vaporizer service includes the following:

1. Discoloration (yellowish brown) in the "Fill" sight glass of a vaporizer

2. Sticking valves or knobs

3. Subjects not responding (as anticipated) to the level of anesthesia provided

4. Cracked or damaged hoses

[Note: There is a difference between services performed on-site and sending the vaporizer to the manufacturer for preventive maintenance. During most on-site calibrations, the vaporizer is checked to ensure it is delivering the amount of anesthetic as reflected by the setting. When vaporizers are sent in for preventive maintenance, a detailed maintenance is performed that includes cleaning and replacement of worn gaskets and other parts. Note that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (Health Care Workers Guidelines/Chap5) states that all anesthetic equipment must be regularly monitored for leakage, improper design, or defects. This includes the anesthesia machine as well as the vaporizer since anesthetic machines can develop improperly functioning components such as flutter valves, gaskets, and scavenging equipment.]


Requests for exceptions to this Standard must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC.


IACUC: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

DCM: Department of Comparative Medicine

NIOSH – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

University Standard: The minimum acceptable limits or rules used to achieve Policy implementation, enforceable by the IACUC.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

NIOSH – Guidelines for Protecting the Safety and Health of Health Care Workers

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

For more detailed guidance, please refer to the University Policy on the Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals for Research, Training and Teaching Purposes.

Contact Information

Contact Information Table
Subject Contact Telephone

Animal Health

DCM Vet Services


Annual on campus calibration service

DCM Vet Services


Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver: 10/2018; UNC IACUC
  • Revision and Review Dates, Change notes, title of Reviewer or Approver: 04/2018; UNC IACUC

Approved by: UNC IACUC

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Article ID: 132186
Thu 4/8/21 9:25 PM
Sun 7/18/21 12:26 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
10/21/2020 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor for Research
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
10/21/2020 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
10/21/2020 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
09/05/2019 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Research-Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee