I know most kitchens have a vent fan over the stove, but I hate how loud they can be. Do I really need one? -Jill
Yes, you really do need a vent fan that exhausts air to the outside in your kitchen. In addition to removing smoke from the occasional burned meal, vent fans are also important to:
- Remove Moisture: Cooking can generate a lot of moisture in the form of steam, which increases the humidity level in your house and can lead to mold and mildew.
- Trap Grease: Range hoods draw in grease from cooking and trap it in a filter, which should be cleaned or replaced regularly. This reduces the amount of airborne grease in your kitchen to prevent it from collecting on your cabinets and countertop.
- Remove Heat: Cooking generates a lot of heat as well, and expelling the hot air from the stove or cooktop can help reduce your air conditioning bill during the summer.
- Improve Indoor Air Quality: A range hood exhausts formaldehyde and other harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) from your home which can be emitted by many building materials and household products such as paint, adhesives, cleaning supplies, solvents, and particle board.
When shopping for a range hood for your kitchen, it’s important to choose a high quality model. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a range hood for your home:
- Air Flow: Make sure the vent fan exhausts air to the outside, and moves enough air to remove the excess heat, moisture, and pollutants. Vent fans are rated by the number of cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air they move and should be matched to your stove. As a rule of thumb, the vent fan for a 30” stove should be rated at a minimum of 300 CFMs.
- Venting: Make sure the hood is vented to the outside using the proper sized duct pipe with as short a run and as few bends as possible. A baffle or flap on the outside of the duct should be installed to prevent rain, cold, and insects or animals from gaining access to the inside of your house.
- Noise Level: The sound level of range hoods is rated in the number of sones (perceived sound) they produce at their highest fan speed. The lower the number (for the same CFM), the quieter the fan. Unlike decibels, doubling the number of sones is equivalent to two times the noise level.
- Ease of Cleaning: Look for a vent fan with smooth surfaces and fully enclosed bottoms with a filter that’s easy to remove and clean.
- Controls: Choose a range hood with a multispeed fan, or even better a variable speed control that allows for a wide range of speeds. Integrated buttons, smart controls, and heat sensors are also available.
- Lighting: Look for a range hood that provides even, energy efficient, Energy Star rated lighting.
- Style: Select a range hood that fits in with the design and decor of your kitchen.
Good luck with your project,