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Kitchen Range Hoods & Exhaust Fans

An exhaust fan coupled with a range hood, as shown in Figure 1, or an independent exhaust fan is a necessity in most kitchens. The exhaust fan removes cooking odors, smoke and steam generated by the pots and pans on the stove and the oven. By removing these items including heat, it makes it a much more comfortable environment.

Cooking places substantial amounts of moisture into the air. In winter this moisture will condense on windows and walls and can serious structura damage to a home. A properly installed exhaust fan expels the majority of the moisture created during cooking processes.

Additional information on:

  1. Under Cabinet Kitchen Range Hoods (Figures 1 & 2)
  2. By far the most common of all kitchen range hoods, the under cabinet range hoods mounts over the cooking surface, below a set of wall cabinets. Ducting usually runs through the upper cabinet and out through the roof, wall or eave. However, ductless units are common. Under cabinet range hoods come in a host of different styles and finishes, including painted cold rolled steel and stainless steel versions. Options include; lights and variable speed fans. The units are designed to mount under most standard wall cabinet sizes with widths from 30 to 54 inches and have exhaust air rating of between 180 and 1500 CFM (cubic feet per minute).

    Prices range from $60 to $4,500

Under Cabinet Range hood over a gas cooktop
Figure 1 - Under cabinet range hood over a gas cooktop
Under cabinet kitchen range hood with lights
Figure 2 - Under cabinet kitchen range hood with lights
  1. Wall Mount Kitchen Range Hoods (Figures 3 & 4)
  2. Wall mount range hoods are designed for applications where there is free and open space above the range or countertop cooking surface. In most cases they are designed to be vented through the kitchen ceiling and out through a wall or the roof. Although not common, ductless units are available. The most common material for wall mount kitchen range hoods is stainless steel as it is extremely easy to clean although other materials such as concrete, wood cladding over steel and painted and hammered steel are available finishes. Lights, variable speed fans, telescoping chimneys and different size filter screens and materials are common options. Sizes range from 30 to 60 inches.

    Prices range from $200 to $12,000

Wall mount kitchen range hood with lights
Figure 3 - Wall mount kitchen range hood with lights
Wall mount kitchen range hood with ceramic tile backsplach
Figure 4 - Wall mount kitchen range hood with ceramic tile backsplash
  1. Kitchen Island Range Hoods (Figure 5)
  2. The island kitchen range hood, sometimes called ceiling mount range hoods are designed to be suspended from the ceiling over a kitchen island cooktop or range. Kitchen island range hoods come in a host of materials from the most common being stainless steel to copper, glass, wood cladding over steel, painted and hammered steel. Any and all exhaust fan options are available. Although most island range hoods are vented through the roof, ductless versions are available

    Although an important part of a kitchen's air quality, the kitchen island range hood becomes an instant focal point because of its size and central location within the room.

    Prices range from $700 to $7,000 (shroud only - without the blower motors and filters)

  3. Downdraft kitchen range hood (Figure 6)
  4. Although designated as a range hood, the downdraft range hood is not a conventional style hood, but a high powered exhaust blower that draws the air into grills that either are flush with the countertop surface or pop-up out of the countertop when needed and are reseated when not needed. Most are installed behind the cooktop, however some are also side mounted.

    The downdraft hood usually vents through a wall in the cabinet where the cooktop resides. Downdraft vent hoods are found in home kitchens as well as commercial installations. The most common material for a downdraft vent hood is stainless steel.

    Prices range from $400 to $7,000

Kitchen pop-up downdraft range hood
Figure 6 - Kitchen pop-up downdraft range hood
  1. Kitchen (room) exhaust fans (Figure 7)
  2. While range hoods are designed to directly remove excess humidity and odors produced during the cooking process, a room exhaust fan is designed to exhaust the air from the entire kitchen.

    There are a few different styles of room exhaust fans. Where some models (Figure 7) come complete with a grill and are designed to be mounted between roof rafters others are designed to have a blower down line in the ducting system (Figure 8). Wall mount units are also available.

Ceiling mount room exhaust fan.
Figure 7 - Ceiling mount room exhaust fan
Squirrel cage blower
Figure 8 - Squirrel cage blower

For an exhaust fan to work properly, expel the air, it should be vented to the outside of the home, either through the wall or roof. Venting to an attic space is a serious mistake as you are only moving the problem from one area to another within your home. Ductless units are available.

When installing an exhaust fan remember that the air you are exhausting from the kitchen has to be replaced (makeup air), hence an exhaust fan will always operate better if a window is open, even just a crack.