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How to Pick a Range-hood

kitchen-range-hood

As great a cook as you may or may not be there is one thing that you and Bobby Flay have in common: at the end of the cooking process there is a lot smoke and hot air floating around. Every kitchen has been victim to heating up during cooking or filling up with smoke after an unsuccessful cooking attempt. Many people will not fight this with the hood-vent that comes with your kitchen. This mistake can discolour your kitchen and make it very unpleasant to stand in what should be one of the centres of your home.

When re-designing your kitchen, building a new hood or installing a new oven/stove you should carefully consider what kind of hood-vent you want in your home. This asset can turn cooking into a pleasurable experience by quietly removing smoke and hot air from your culinary work space. We have collected some tips to consider when shopping for a new hood vent.

Talking with the Right Terms

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A canopy range-hood. Photo by Dion Hinchcliffe 2011 | CC BY SA

Before shopping for a range-hood, you should know the common terminology that is used. The largest concerns for a hood are its noise and how powerful it is. Both of these are measured in various ways that you may be able to research into while others will require you to see the product in action.

The relative power of a hood is indicated by how much air it can clear up in one minute. The term cubic feet per minute (CFM) is used to indicate this measure. The higher this number, the more work a hood can perform in one minute. However, you do not necessarily need the biggest CFM possible for your kitchen.

The CFM you will require is often very dependent upon the size of your range and the number of burners you are using. The more powerful the heating elements, the larger CFMs you will need. The standard electric range stove can be effectively handled with 375 CFMs. A more powerful gas range can require anything between 600 CFMs and 1200 CFMs. This wide range points to just how diverse your vent needs can be.

The matter of noise is quickly followed by power in terms of features. Logically, a powerful hood-vent will use more energy and create more noise. Noise can be just as disruptive as a face full of smoke if you are trying to create a laid back kitchen environment or entertain company while cooking. Sound is measured with the unit of sones. This is a measure meant to indicate the noise level for someone with normal hearing.

An undermounted range-hood.
An undermounted range-hood.

As useful as the sone can be, it can be relatively unreliable. First, not all manufacturers use them. Decibels are still a unit of measurement for some hoods. This is also conflicted with what is a standard sone. Some manufacturers will differ about what distance from the sound is used to evaluate the sone amount. Do your homework for the most reliable measurement. One of the most reliable methods is to listen to the product in person.

In general, you should keep the fan on the lower settings with regular cooking. Most range-hoods have between two and six different speed settings. The bottom two will be weaker, but can still keep your area breathable. Only raise the fan strength beyond this for increased levels of smoke and heat.

Keep in mind that most hood vents also have a noise filter built in. This can be the difference between a moderate noise level and unbearable vacuum sounds. Most filters can suppress noise, but centrifugal blowers can reduce noise by an even greater amount. If you are in the market for an expensive hood vent, then look into external blowers. Routing the smoke and air directly outside can cut out noise levels by a dramatic amount.

Location and Style in one consideration

Range-hoods come in a large variety of models and designs. Each one is best designed for a particular kitchen layout. This customised purpose design naturally lends itself for installation along with a particular kitchen layout.

Under the cabinet mounts are literally under a cabinet. This can be found in most kitchens and consumes space inside a cabinet itself. The built in design can work well for kitchens with a seamless design, but will consume additional space in your kitchen. Whether this bothers you or not varies on what other features you will need for your kitchen. If you are already hurting for space, you may want to avoid this.

A wall mounted hood can look stylish and new age in most kitchens. These are distinguished by a long vent shaft that leads into the ceiling that connects to the hood itself. This works with independently existing stoves and ovens. The ‘chimney’ of wall mounted hoods can look stylish. They are often made of stainless steel and are gun-metal in colour or a platinum tone. Of course, many other choices exist. A wall mounted hood can perfectly create an interesting clash of styles. In particular, wooden cabinets contrasted against the smooth steel of the hood.

A ceiling-mounted range hood
A ceiling-mounted range hood

Ceiling mounted hoods (also called island hoods) emerge directly from the ceiling like an extension of the ventilation system. This style of hood creates an interesting landmark in the otherwise unused kitchen ceiling. If you do not want a single overhead light source for your kitchen, this might be an interesting alternative to create some vertical integration in your kitchen’s design. The only down side is that they might block the eye line of people in the kitchen if it is too low hanging.

Downward drawing designs for hoods are quickly becoming efficient and unnoticeable in kitchens. These hood vents draw the smoke and hot air downwards. This does have the disadvantage of going against the natural upward air flow from the range. This means having a particularly loud hood vent that will create a lot of noise. Their great advantage is that they open up plenty of vertical space and are shut away from the rest of the kitchen. It will not draw attention or block eye line.

Conclusion

This is everything you need to know before investing a new range-hood. The hood can adapt to many styles of kitchen. They can add to a design or be pushed away so as not to interfere. Shop smart and consider the noise levels you need.