There is nothing quite like the mouthwatering aroma of garlic and onions cooking. But, when the last plate has been cleared and the leftovers retire to the fridge, wouldn’t you prefer the crisp scent of a clean house? Sure, you can open a window, but who wants to do that in 105 degree weather or the dead of winter? That’s where a ventilation hood comes in handy.
What are they?
Ventilation hoods come with many names (extractor hood, range hood, cooking canopy, fume extractor, electric chimney or vent hood) and are usually installed over your cooktop or stove for the extraction of fumes, odors, smoke, steam, grease, heat and moisture. With countless kitchen designs and layouts available today, there are unsurprisingly various vent-hood options which coordinate nicely.
Integrated hoods or under-cabinet hoods direct elements away from cabinet faces and often through ductwork in an adjoining wall. These are usually a less expensive vent hood option and perfectly acceptable for the user who cooks only a few times per week. Wall mount chimney hoods are installed where there are no cabinets over a cooktop. They have an exposed vent-stack which gives an industrial appearance, and when ducted, they direct steam, smoke, grease, odors, etc. outside (usually through wall ducts). Island hoods are installed over kitchen islands (surprise) and are vented through ceiling ducts. These also give a professional feel to the kitchen. Downdraft hoods seem to be used less frequently, as they reverse the direction of smoke and fumes and send them through ductwork beneath the floor.
If ducting doesn’t seem like a viable option for your kitchen, there are ductless (or re-circulating) hoods available. These hoods direct fumes, steam, smoke, etc. away from your cooktop, but re-distribute the air back into the kitchen (with heat, moisture and possibly odors still included). Rest assured – they come with integrated filters for the extraction of grease and oil, and often a carbon filter to help limit kitchen and household odors (recommended). Although they don’t direct the air out of the kitchen like ducted vents, they are still a great option for the common household.
Ventilation hoods are beneficial to your health and your home. They often remove bacteria and mildew from the air (along with all of the aforementioned elements) and can extend the life of your walls and carpets by limiting grease, moisture, smoke and heat damage. Think about the oil and odors from a fish fry… do you want them floating around your home or lungs? No thank you.
Factors to consider
Before deciding on your new ventilation hood, keep in mind some important factors. Make sure you know the selling points of your piece and consider your lifestyle. If you rarely cook at home, you will be able to get away with a less expensive model and fewer perks. If you like a silent environment, a hood with a quiet fan will be important. Are typical models not appealing to your designer’s eye? Look into artistic hood options. As always, direct any questions and uncertainties to a professional.