More in Ventilation

Hoods You Can Trust

You can't just rely on open windows or an old recirculating vent to keep kitchen air clean

Luna from Abbaka; range hood
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A simmering pot of soup. A sizzling pan of onions. These aromas are wonderful, but the moisture, grease, odors and heat their preparation produces aren't as pleasant. Some of these cooking by-products can be destructive. Steam, for instance, will condense on windows and inside exterior walls, leading to rot. And carbon monoxide -- the result of combustion from a gas range -- is life-threatening if it builds up. The best way to protect yourself and your home is with good mechanical ventilation. In an island or peninsula cooktop installation, the hood extends down from the ceiling. This unit, the Luna from Abbaka ($6,479), is specially designed for heavy-duty use. It's equipped with a remote-mounted ventilator with four-position speed control. Venting Options Basic wall-mounted units start at about $50. In the $200 to $400 range, you'll find hoods equipped with multiple lights, timers and easy-clean surfaces. For a little more money, you can get a slim hood that slides out from beneath the cabinetry above the range and is practically invisible when not in use. Another style integrates the vent system with a microwave that's installed on the wall over the range. Downdraft systems present an unobtrusive option. These "pop-up" models usually are incorporated into the range and remain even with the cooking surface until needed, when they rise 8 to 10 in. above the cooking surface. In other models, the vent is located on the surface of the range near the burners. Downdraft units must work harder to remove air from the kitchen, and they can be ineffective on the burners that are farthest away and on steam and odors from tallstockpots. The fan (some use more than one) pulls the air through a filter and down into the plenum. From there, the fan moves the air through ductwork beneath the floor or along the cabinet kick space. This arrangement makes a downdraft unit more expensive to install. Still, in some situations, a downdraft vent may be the best choice. For example, when the cooktop is located on an island or peninsula, an overhead range hood can be impractical or fill what was designed as open space. Cooktops that include downdraft ventilation at the rear start at about $900. Separate downdraft units retrofitted to existing cooktops start at about $600. Another option is to put the vent hood on center stage in the kitchen. Trimmed with tile, wood panels or stainless steel, a range or cooktop hood can be the focal point of a big kitchen. Such semicustom and custom hoods run from $800 to $2,000, or even more, depending on the power of the exhaust system and the details of the design. One type of vent hood you should avoid is the recirculating range hood. "These aren't really ventilation systems at all," says Dale Rammien, director of the Home Ventilating Institute, a trade organization that represents manufacturers of ventilation equipment. At an average cost of about $50, a recirculating hood seems a bargain because it doesn't require ductwork. But it doesn't really provide ventilation -- it merely pulls the cooking effluent through a filter and sends its back into the room, noxious gases and all. "They do next to nothing to filter the air," Rammien says.
A simmering pot of soup. A sizzling pan of onions. These aromas are wonderful, but the moisture, grease, odors and heat their preparation produces aren't as pleasant. Some of these cooking by-products can be destructive. Steam, for instance, will condense on windows and inside exterior walls, leading to rot. And carbon monoxide -- the result of combustion from a gas range -- is life-threatening if it builds up. The best way to protect yourself and your home is with good mechanical ventilation. In an island or peninsula cooktop installation, the hood extends down from the ceiling. This unit, the Luna from Abbaka ($6,479), is specially designed for heavy-duty use. It's equipped with a remote-mounted ventilator with four-position speed control. Venting Options Basic wall-mounted units start at about $50. In the $200 to $400 range, you'll find hoods equipped with multiple lights, timers and easy-clean surfaces. For a little more money, you can get a slim hood that slides out from beneath the cabinetry above the range and is practically invisible when not in use. Another style integrates the vent system with a microwave that's installed on the wall over the range. Downdraft systems present an unobtrusive option. These "pop-up" models usually are incorporated into the range and remain even with the cooking surface until needed, when they rise 8 to 10 in. above the cooking surface. In other models, the vent is located on the surface of the range near the burners. Downdraft units must work harder to remove air from the kitchen, and they can be ineffective on the burners that are farthest away and on steam and odors from tallstockpots. The fan (some use more than one) pulls the air through a filter and down into the plenum. From there, the fan moves the air through ductwork beneath the floor or along the cabinet kick space. This arrangement makes a downdraft unit more expensive to install. Still, in some situations, a downdraft vent may be the best choice. For example, when the cooktop is located on an island or peninsula, an overhead range hood can be impractical or fill what was designed as open space. Cooktops that include downdraft ventilation at the rear start at about $900. Separate downdraft units retrofitted to existing cooktops start at about $600. Another option is to put the vent hood on center stage in the kitchen. Trimmed with tile, wood panels or stainless steel, a range or cooktop hood can be the focal point of a big kitchen. Such semicustom and custom hoods run from $800 to $2,000, or even more, depending on the power of the exhaust system and the details of the design. One type of vent hood you should avoid is the recirculating range hood. "These aren't really ventilation systems at all," says Dale Rammien, director of the Home Ventilating Institute, a trade organization that represents manufacturers of ventilation equipment. At an average cost of about $50, a recirculating hood seems a bargain because it doesn't require ductwork. But it doesn't really provide ventilation -- it merely pulls the cooking effluent through a filter and sends its back into the room, noxious gases and all. "They do next to nothing to filter the air," Rammien says.
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Range and Cooktop Hoods

 

Range and Cooktop Hoods

Vent-A-Hood; wall mounted hoods
Wall-mounted hoods are often the choice for a powerful cooktop. Vent-A-Hood's designs are available in standard and custom finishes, and can be outfitted with such amenities as warming lights and shelves.
Range and cooktop hoods work because warm air rises. The canopy, or hood, portion of the system, usually made of steel, should be at least as wide as the range top to effectively capture the air and steam as they rise (see "Sizing a Ventilation System"). The hollow cavity, or sump, under the hood collects the dirty air until a fan pulls or pushes it through the ducts to the outside. A deep sump holds more air than a shallow one. But because of the demand for sleeker hoods, manufacturers have come up with different ways to handle the air. Some have made their fans more powerful, but others, including Broan-NuTone and Gaggenau, have introduced hoods that pump air out around their edges, creating a flow that traps the air from the cooking surface until the fan can remove it. At the heart of the ventilation system is the fan(s) it uses. An axial fan looks like a ceiling fan, while a centrifugal fan resembles a squirrel cage. A centrifugal fan moves more air than an axial unit does, and is better suited to long duct runs. However, an axial fans is less expensive. The amount of air the fan can move is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). The Home Ventilating Institute recommends a minimum of 40 cfm for every linear foot of your range. That means a 120-cfm unit should be just enough for an average-size range. For a downdraft unit, that figure jumps to a minimum of 150 cfm. A remote-mounted motor, whose fan is located at the end of the ductwork rather than in the canopy so it's less noisy, also requires a higher cfm. How much higher depends on a number of variables, with length and layout of duct runs being the most important. Figure up to 400 cfm for a wall unit and as high as 600 cfm for an island cooktop. "You'll get much better results with a stronger ventilating system" Dale Rammien says. That's especially true if you have a commercial range, which can throw out upwards of 15,000 Btu per burner. That means a tremendous amount of extra heat and more gaseous by-products. "A commercial range requires a souped-up hood," Rammien adds. In addition to a powerful fan, a quality system will also come equipped with sturdy filters. These trap grease and particles and prevent them from passing into the ductwork, clogging it and turning it into a potential source of fire. The filter should fit snugly and lift out easily for cleaning. The Noise Factor
Manufacturer research shows that noisy homeowners do not use their fan if it's noisy. A few years ago, most systems operated at between 3 and 8 sones. Some now run at less than 1 sone -- about equivalent to the gentle hum of a refrigerator. Generally speaking, the stronger the unit, the noisier it is when running. But much depends on the quality and location of the motor, the type of fan, the type of the filter and the size and length of the ductwork.
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undercabinet hoods
Compact Undercabinet Hoods are the workhorses of cooktop ventilation, and they usually are the most budget-friendly option. The Allure model from Broan-NuTone ($210 to $440, depending on size and features) boasts improved noise reduction, updated styling and an easy-cleaning sump.
Ductwork
Unless carefully planned and installed, ductwork can ruin the performance of a good ventilation unit. "Shorter is better," Rammien says. Indeed, a duct run should be limited to 30 ft. or less to keep the air moving. It must also be vented to the outside. Unfortunately, in some older homes, the ductwork terminates in the attic or basement, dumping the moisture and cooking effluent back into the house. Turns, which require elbows in the ductwork, and transitions from one type or size of ductwork to another should be minimized or avoided altogether because they restrict airflow. Another rule of thumb, Rammien explains, is, "Never downsize the ductwork in the middle of a run. This provides a place for grease and particles to collect." The dimensions of the ducts vary according to the size of the range hood. Units up to 600 cfm requires 3 1/4 x 10-in. or 7- or 8-in. round ductwork. Joints should be carefully sealed with professional (not cloth-backed) duct tape to keep air from leaking out of the ducts. A ventilation system is an important component in any kitchen. To make sure you end up with the right one, choose a range hood that is not only large enough to handle your needs but also attractive enough to complement the rest of the kitchen. Sizing a Ventilation System Conventional Range or Cooktop
•Install hood 24 to 30 in. above cooking surface •Hood should extend 3 in. on each side of cooktop •Fan should move 120 cfm for average-size range for light cooking and up to 200 to 400 cfm for heavy cooking
Island Cooktop
•Install hood 24 to 30 in. above surface for conventional equipment •Hood should be same size as cooktop •Minimum 180 cfm; 450 to 600 cfm is preferred
Commercial Equipment
•Install hood 30 to 36 in. above cooktop •1 cfm for every 100 Btu delivered by all of the burners
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range hood
Where to Find It: Abbaka
1500-A Burke Ave.
San Francisco CA 94124
www.abbaka.com
800/548-3932 Broan-NuTone
Box 140
Hartford WI 53027
www.broan-nutone.com
800/548-0790 Faber
Box 435
Wayland MA 01778
www.faberonline.com
508/358-5353. Gaggenau USA
5551 McFadden Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
www.gaggenau.com
800/828-9165. KitchenAid
2000 M-63 N
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
www.kitchenaid.com
800/422-1230. Rangecraft Manufacturing,
4-40 Banta Place
Fair Lawn NJ 07410
www.rangecraft.com
800/337-2643 Venmar
550 Lemire Blvd.
Drummondville, QC
Canada J2C 7W9
www.venmar-ventilation.com
800/567-3855 Vent-A-Hood
Box 830426
Richardson TX 75083
214/235-5201 The Home Ventilating Institute
30 W. University Dr.
Dept. TH1199
Arlington Heights IL 60004-1893
847/394-0150.
 
 

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