If you are an enthusiastic cook and love spending time in front of your stove, you’re most likely aware of the importance of removing the lingering heat and cooking odors from your kitchen. The best way to do that is to have an effective, efficient range hood that suits your kitchen and the size of your range.
What Are Range Hoods and What are Their Benefits?
A range hood, often referred to as a vent or exhaust hood, is an enclosure for the area over your range. It contains a mechanical fan that can be switched on to remove grease, combustion products, fumes, smoke, heat, and steam from the air. If your range hood is vented, then unwanted air will be circulated through ducts to the outside. If your hood is unvented, the air will be cleaned and recirculated back into your kitchen.
A range hood can aid in removing potentially toxic pollutants and gasses from the air in your kitchen. It may also help to cut down on the growth of bacteria, germs and mold in your kitchen. Range hoods can cut down the amount of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide in your home, especially true if you cook on a gas range.
An added bonus is the extra lighting that a range hood provides to your cooktop area.
All range hoods fall into one of two categories: ducted (sometimes called vented), or ductless, (sometimes called recirculating).
Ductless Range Hoods – Pros and Cons
A ductless range hood does not exhaust the air from your cooktop area via ducting to the outside of your home. Instead, a metal mesh filter traps grease and other particles and then recirculates the cleaned air back into the room. These hoods have an additional layer of carbon filtration to trap smoke and odors. Most condos and apartments will have this type of range hood.
- Can be installed just about anywhere in your kitchen that you can install your range
- Installation process is easier
- Perfect for those who cook lightly or cook with less grease
- It can’t remove the heat or humidity from the kitchen
- Filter must be cleaned regularly or changed, usually 2 to 3 times per year for best performance
- Odors can be only partially eliminated
Ducted Range Hoods – Pros and Cons
A ducted range hood removes air contaminants and grease to the outside of the home by way of ductwork. A ducted range hood is strongly recommended with use of gas ranges in order to get rid of noxious gases.
For most new homes in Texas, vented range hoods are required to be vented to the outdoors and not anywhere else in the home. Non-vented range hoods are allowed as long as they are installed properly.
If you live in or purchase an older home, make sure the ducting is not going into your attic or crawl space. Moisture will stick to the surrounding surfaces and possibly cause mold. Old air may still be recirculated throughout the house.
- Considered the more effective option at keeping the air in your kitchen clean and noxious gases at a minimum
- More effective at removing heat, steam and humidity from your kitchen
- Generally quieter than non-vented hoods
- Limited choice of stove placement as the hood must be located in a location where an efficient ducting system to the outside can be installed.
- Installation usually takes longer and is more complex if you need to add ducting
- More expensive to install than a ductless hood
CFM, BTU Rating and Size are Important
Are you wondering what size hood you need and how powerful it needs to be?
Range hoods are rated by the amount of air they can pull out of an area. This is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). To be effective, the range hood should be rated for at least 100 CFM per 10,000 BTUs of your stovetop. For example, a 100,000 BTU stove needs at least a 1000 CFM range hood. For electric stoves, multiply the stove width by 10. So, for a 42” electric stove you want a range hood with at least 420 CFM. In general, ducted range hoods have more powerful blowers than non-ducted range hoods. CFM rates in non-ducted hoods go only to about 200.
Make sure that the width of your range hood is at least as wide as your stove to be able to catch all the emissions and effectively eliminate smoke and moisture. For even better performance, the range hood should be an extra 3 inches on either side of the stove. The higher you mount the hood, the larger it should be. Check the manufacturers’ instructions for installation tips.
What’s Your Hood Style? – Types of Range Hoods
Wall Mount Range Hoods
These are the most common types of range hoods. These vented hood types are mounted against an empty part of the kitchen wall. The manufacturer’s instructions will specify how far above the cooking surface the range hood should be mounted. Generally, there should be from 28” to 36” between the bottom of the hood and the stove cooking surface to be most effective in filtering.
Wall mounted range hoods come in different shapes. The most common type is a decorative chimney style or tapered hood.
Under Cabinet Range Hoods
This is a perfect option if your cupboard storage is above your cooktop. The range hood will be attached to the bottom of the cabinet. In the case of a vented hood, it connects to ductwork above or behind the vent and upwards through the cabinet or wall. A non-vented range hood pulls air up, filters it, and puts it back into the room.
A downdraft hood is hidden in the cooktop. It pops up when in use. Cooking odors, smoke, heat, etc. are pulled across the top of the range and down into the floor ducts. These types of hoods are less efficient than other types. Grease, smoke and exhaust tend to rise. It’s more difficult to redirect sideways and down.
Island Range Hoods
These can make a lovely centerpiece for your kitchen. As the name suggests, they hang over a stovetop on an island and so are not attached to a wall. Kitchen islands experience more air movement because they are out in the open area of the kitchen, and they generally require more CFM to maximize their efficiency and filter as much unwanted air from your kitchen as possible.
All island hoods are mounted to the ceiling and so the ductwork will run through the ceiling as well. Some homes may not have the proper clearance or design to vent through the ceiling, so you’ll need to check that your home’s design allows for the ductwork to run to the outside of your home.
Whatever your size kitchen, range or pocketbook, there is an ideal range hood for your needs.
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