Vent Hoods 101
A vent hood is essential for providing good ventilation in the kitchen workspace. Selecting the right one is a matter of knowing what your needs are and establishing a budget. Those with large kitchens who cook frequently will require more performance than someone who rarely turns the stove on.Vent hoods come in a variety of different styles and finishes. The primary difference among them is the method they use to exhaust air and how they are mounted. Most hoods use rotary or centrifugal exhaust fans. Rotary fans are a bit nosier, although less expensive. Centrifugal fans draw larger air volumes and are quieter. Choices include:
- Under Cabinet Range Hoods: These hoods are mounted to a cabinet above the stove top. Not only do they save space, but many come equipped with lights. Available in a variety of ascetically pleasing finishes, these are a popular choice among homeowners.
- Wall Mount Range Hoods: The hood attaches directly to the way for kitchens that don’t have cabinetry above the stove.
- Island Range Hoods: Similar to wall and cabinet mount hoods, these attach directly to the ceiling.
- Hood inserts: Inserts work well with custom made vent hoods or can be installed by itself on a ceiling.
- Downdraft: These units sit at the back of the stove, saving space. Instead of pulling air up, downdraft hoods pull air back and out of the room.
In general, an updraft range hood is the best for reducing kitchen odors and providing adequate ventilation. As heated air rises, it is sucked up through the filter and vented out of the home. Some updrafts recirculate air back into the room. It also provides some degree of protection in the event of a grease fire. Although the filters require regular cleaning, there is little else needed to maintain the system.
Downdraft vent hoods are great for an oddly configured kitchen when regular range hoods won’t fit. There are a couple of different configurations, including a unit that you can lower behind the stove when its not in use. Although downdraft vents are more subtle than overhead ranges, they don’t draw as much air.
Installation will vary depending on the type of hood, age of the home, and local building codes. If the home currently has no ducting, or has an existing downdraft system, some degree of construction will be required. The duct is usually run straight through the wall to an exterior vent.
Kitchen ventilation isn’t always at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to upgrading your space. However, it is important for health and safety reasons. For a relatively small investment, a quality vent hood could conceivably last you for decades.