When you get up on a stepladder for the biannual cleaning of your refrigerator, light fixtures, or window molding in your kitchen; you are likely to come across a gunky residue coated with dust requiring an extra scrubby, suds-saturated sponge. This built-up residue naturally accumulates from the airborne grease, combustion products, smoke, odors, heat, and steam escaping the food you prepare on your stovetop. The culprits are many, but the solution is simply choosing proper ventilation for your kitchen.
Choosing the proper size
A range hood should cover at least the full surface of the range or cook-top. This means that if your range is 30" wide, it is recommended that you purchase a 30" or wider range hood. For island applications where the hood height above the cooking surface may be higher, it is recommended that the hood be oversized to ensure a large enough capture area. For example, a 36" island cooktop may need a 42" island range hood.
determining cfm needs
CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute is a measure of the volume of air being exhausted through your range hood. The CFM requirement for your kitchen will depend on the type and output of your range top.
ELECTRIC: Generally you'll need 100 CFM per 10" width
GAS: Generally you'll need 100 CFM for every 10,000 BTU's of output
Your cooking and eating habits make a difference in choosing enough CFM. If you regularly cook with oil or grease, cook food that leaves an odor, or cook things that produce a lot of smoke, it is best to up-size and choose a hood with more performance.
choosing installation height
Installation height is the height from the stove cooking surface to the bottom of the range hood. Each manufacturer will recommend a range of heights for maximum performance. In most cases, this measurement is between 24" and 36".
The Sone rating is a measurement of sound the range hood will produce when running. One Sone is about the same noise as a refrigerator running. When considering the noise level of a range hood, be sure to check the sone rating at the highest CFM setting, or the CFM speed you will use most often. Most manufacturers make hoods with low sone ratings, but the low sone rating may be at a very low CFM rating.
There are several range hood filter types available - make sure you choose the filter that best fits your needs.
Charcoal filters bond with the contaminants in the air, thus removing them entirely from circulation. Eventually these get used up, and they must be replaced every three to six months.
Oil cups are removable cups that collect the grease and oil typically as a result from a turbine removing the grease from the air as it passes through it. These do not need to be replaced, but they must be emptied as they fill with oil.
Baffle filters are durable and made of stainless steel set at an angle to the incoming air. This allows the filter to collect grease as it hits the angled steel. They must be cleaned to prevent excessive oil buildup.
Aluminium mesh filters use a fine aluminium mesh to catch the grease and oil released into the air from cooking. Like baffle filters, they must be removed and cleaned to function optimally. Mesh filters remove more oil than baffle filters but are less durable.
Stainless steel mesh works the same way as aluminium mesh, but are made of steel instead of aluminium. They also must be cleaned occasionally, like aluminium mesh and baffle filters.