To prepare great meals or drinks at home, an orderly kitchen equipped with good appliances is a must. Most homeowners would consider ranges or stovetops, refrigerators, and dishwashers as basic necessities. One appliance considered to be just as essential is the range hood.
Range hoods work to trap or convey smoke, smells, and grease vapors away from the kitchen area. Most are inexpensive and are designed to funnel air within an exhaust or filtering channel. Pricier models are durably made and come in various styles, sizes, and colors to suit any home decor.
Most kitchens are already built with or else designed for simple models with recirculating fans for dispersing smelly fumes. Others vent air to the outside, exhausting the particulate-laden air outside the house. Some high-end, high-style units look not just to complement but to also be the decorative center of the kitchen, for which they provide classy illumination as well.
In all cases, range hoods are rated in terms of their CFM (cubic feet per minute), which is the measure of the rate at which a unit can exhaust air from the room. A higher CFM rating indicates a higher performance which normally also results in louder fan noise in fast operation.
Ducted models work by pulling smoky and smelly air outside the home via exhaust ducts.
Non-ducted models recirculate kitchen air by moving it through cleaning filters designed to trap smoke and grease and eliminate odors.
Cabinet-mounted types are mounted underneath kitchen cabinets for a cleaner look, and are available with or without exhaust ducts.
Wall-mount units have stylish chimney stacks exposed on walls above cooktops which are free of cabinetry, and come in both types as well.
Island designs appear above cooking islands as a kind of free-standing architecture, they vent kitchen air outside through their stacks and the ceiling.
A range hood should be at least as wide as the cooktop it overhangs in order to perform well. Island-type hoods need be several inches wider than an island-style cooktop as there is no surrounding cabinetry to funnel cooking fumes to it to be channeled away.
- Time-delay functions are energy saving features which automatically power off fans and lighting after a set period.
- Maintenance checks signal users whenever particle or carbon filters and grease traps need replacement or cleaning.
- CFM performance measures how well a given model removes greasy smoke and smelly fumes from the kitchen by means of filtering recirculated air or else venting it outside.
- Overhead lighting is a great convenience since the kitchen’s main area lighting is normally shadowed by anyone standing at the front of the cooktop.
- High CFM rating. The higher the CFM rating, the higher the performance of the range hood. For heavy cooking of steamy or smoky as well as greasy dishes, look for models rated for at least 300-350 CFM .
- Quiet operation. Most range hood fans operate somewhat quietly when set to the lowest speeds, but those featuring fans with high CFM performance can get quite noisy at high speeds. Manufacturers use sones as the standard measure of noise, with a basic unit equivalent in sound level to that of a regular refrigerator.
Even for kitchens which already have ducting installed, measurements must still be made to ensure that the specifications for a chosen model match correctly.
Many homeowners think of the savings which come from choosing a model which only filters rather than exhausts fume-filled air. Ducted models which exhaust kitchen air are a better overall choice for they channel the entire volume of smoky and odorous air to the outside.
Kitchen air should not be vented or ducts terminated into areas inside or between interior walls, ceilings and attics, or garages. Smoky and greasy air vented through ducts is best conveyed outside the home.
The cooktop’s location determines which type of range hood is appropriate. For cooking islands, only an island-type model with a large overheard chimney will match. Cabinet-mounted range hood are the first choice for cooktops with cabinetry overhead. Models which mount on walls will look good in overhead areas which are clear of cabinetry and other shelving.