How to Choose A Range Hood
Range hoods go by many names, such as a kitchen hood, ventilation or vent hood, extractor fan, exhaust, etc. The truth is, these are all just different names for the same thing – a range hood. And, while they are not necessarily found in every home, they should be.
This underappreciated piece of appliance comes with many benefits – a few of which include:
- Providing clean air – and reducing carbon monoxide in the home
- Providing extra lighting for your kitchen or cooking area
- Reducing the heat produced by cooking
- Maintaining a comfortable cooking environment
- Increasing property value
- Reducing the chance of smoke alarms being activated
A range hood is found directly above the range or stovetop and is responsible for removing heat, fumes, gasses, and odors that occur while cooking. But, choosing which range hood is best for your kitchen may leave your head spinning.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a range hood.
Consider the layout
The layout of your kitchen is going to determine which type of range hood you can choose. Contrary to popular belief, range hoods can come in all sorts of types. They can hang solitarily over the stovetop and range (even an island) or can be secured by mounting to a wall. They can even be incorporated into your cabinets. There are even hoods that can expand when needed but are otherwise unnoticeable.
When it comes to the layout of your kitchen, you will be able to determine which range hood will best fit your need based on space and location of your range. For example, if you have an island/range combo, then ideally your range hood will be suspended from the ceiling above. However, if you have a smaller space and your range is lumped together with your countertop, then you’d probably opt for an under the cupboard range hood.
The style of your kitchen
While a range hood is a great investment and can offer you a lot of value, you don’t necessarily want your range hood standing out sorely among everything else in the kitchen. In other words, if your kitchen style is very modern and sleek, you are not going to want to get yourself a bulky, brass-finished range hood. Or, perhaps you want your range hood to be installed over the island in your kitchen. If so, this will make your hood the centerpiece of your kitchen and you will, therefore, want to make sure that it matches the flow and style.
Ponder the noise
Range hoods have a big job. And, big jobs sometimes cause a bit of noise. So, there is no doubt that your range hood will add some additional noise to your kitchen. This is definitely something to consider when choosing the one that is right for you.
Consider your kitchen and what you do in there. Sure, you cook, but do you socialize as well? If that is the case, then you will want to find yourself a range hood that is both efficient and functional without being too noisy.
Keep in mind that if you want the best range hood to remove steam, odors, and such from the air in your kitchen, it is going to require a lot of power. And, that power will likely come with a great amount of noise. Trying to host a dinner or other special engagement could greatly be hindered if you spend time with your guests having to yell over the sound of your hood.
Make the most reasonable decision and make the decision to choose a range hood that works well enough to meet your needs, but also provides you with minimal noise.
Fan power needed
One thing that is very important when choosing a range hood is how powerful the fan is. For example, if you have a large kitchen, but you choose a range hood with minimal fan power, you will find that it will be rather ineffective. On the other hand, choosing a range hood that is too powerful for your small kitchen space could be too overpowering and unnecessary.
Believe it or not, there is a way to determine just the right amount of fan power your range hood will need, based on the size of your space. More specifically, this is based on the volume of your room. To calculate, you will need to multiply the height of your kitchen ceiling by the width.
Finding a range hood that is built for a kitchen of your size is the best way to ensure you are getting the clean air you are seeking.
Decide on your exhaust
When it comes to where you want your exhaust to go, you’ve got choices. A duct-free exhaust system or a ducted exhaust system. Here is the difference:
- A duct-free (vent-free) system means that your kitchen air is sucked in, cleaned and filtered, and then sent right back into your kitchen.
- A ducted (vented) system means that there is a path that leads the kitchen air out through a duct to an outside destination. This air does not end up back in the home at all.
So, which type of exhaust should you choose? This is going to vary on a few things, such as the design of your home (does it already have ductwork, or will this need to be added), how effective you want your hood, and desire to care for the range hood. It is important to note that duct-free systems require a great deal of maintenance and cleaning in order to run effectively.
Range hoods are definitely not the first thing someone thinks about when discussing their kitchen. However, they are just as important as the other appliances you install. The clean air they provide by removing odors and steam makes them a worthwhile investment. Choose the one that best fits your space – by design, efficiency, exhaust, power, and noise level.
The first time you cook a meal with your new range hood, you just may be impressed by the magic this appliance provides.