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Buying a Range Hood

A range hood is an important appliance to have in your kitchen if you intend to do any cooking. Cooking causes smoke, strong odors, and invisible dirt to be released into the air. They will linger there indefinitely if you don’t have a filtration system. A vent hood will move all the unpleasant byproducts of your cooking out of the kitchen.

Below are some of the benefits you may experience if you install a range hood.

- A hood will help keep your kitchen clean. Without it, the smoke that results from cooking (especially frying) will spread onto your walls, cabinetry, and countertops. It is hard to clean especially if it has accumulated over time. - It can cool off your kitchen by removing some of the excess heat - A hood will reduce the amount of carbon monoxide that can build up in your kitchen it is not properly ventilated. - By ducting the cooking smoke outside of your kitchen, you will reduce the chances that your smoke detector will go off just because you’re cooking - A hood can provide extra lighting to your range top. - Range Hoods add a finished look to the kitchen.

The most effective ventilation matches the width of the hood to the size of the range top and about 2-3 inches longer on each side. Island hoods are recommended to be 1 size larger than your cooktop size overlapping the cooktop by 3 to 6 inches on each side. Optimal installation is 20 and 24 inches away from an electric cooktop and 24 to 30 inches from a gas cooktop. The more powerful your range hood is, the more effective it will be. CFM (cubic feet per minute) is the indicator used to measure the power. The recommended power necessary is determined to be about 100 CFM per linear foot of range for range hoods installed against a wall, and 150 CFM for island vent hoods. If you do a lot of cooking that generates steam or strong odors (like frying), a hood with at least 350 CFM is recommended. For high-output gas range tops, you will need at least 1 CFM per 100 BTU.

You must also take into account the size of your kitchen in cubic feet since a larger kitchen needs more power to clear the air than a smaller room. A range hood should be able to exchange the air in the kitchen at least once every four minutes. Multiply the number of cubic feet in the room by the number of air exchanges an hour (15 to clear the air every 4 minutes), then divide by the number of minutes in an hour (60). For example: 2,048 cubic foot room x 15 air exchanges = 30,720 cubic feet moved per hour 30,720 cubic feet ÷ 60 minutes = 512 CFM range hood fan or higher. Note that ductless ventilation has less power, since it depends on filters to clean the air, instead of removing the smoke.

Most vent hoods make noise. Some models are designed to be quieter, but they are never soundless. Sound is measured in sones. Normal conversations would measure at about 4 sones, so you can determine how quiet a hood is by determining the sone qualification. Note that the higher the CFM (see above) the louder the hood will sound. Hoods usually come with various speeds; higher for heavy-duty cooking and lower for more simple cooking. The higher the speed, the more noise will be generated. Two or three speeds are usually enough for most cooks.

Some apartment buildings have restrictions that won’t allow you to install a range hood with ducts. Note that a ductless range hood must be kept clean by replacing the filters every few months. Ducted range hoods typically come with aluminum filters (often dishwasher safe) and they need to be removed and cleaned about once a month. The frequency of replacing or cleaning filters varies on how much cooking is done. More cooking requires more frequent maintenance.