A Range Hood Run Down Pt. 1: Kitchen Ventilation Basics

Guest Blogger: Mike Flahaven of Shady Oak Distributing

Mike Flahaven, of Shady Oak Distributing, is our trusted partner and rep for Vent-A-Hood Ventilation Systems and Range Hoods. We invited Mike to share his wisdom and experience with our audience in this three part series on the importance of kitchen ventilation.

Kitchen “Ventilation”

As homeowners, many of us either own or have owned an Over The Range microwave (OTR) at some point. OTR’s save space and get the microwave off the counter.

Most OTR’s recirculate contaminates ensnared by the fan and filters, and are recirculated back into the room providing very little, if any, meaningful ventilation. They can also be vented to the outside where their resulting performance is improved only marginally.

The same ducting options apply to many range hoods. Like an OTR, recirculating range hoods simply cannot remove all the contaminates produced when cooking.

Today, we will cover the basics. Stay tuned for the rest of the series on the types of ventilation available and how to achieve great ventilation.

What is the purpose of a range hood?

Odor Removal
We’ve all cooked in our home and ended up with that smell lasting for days. Whether fry a pan of bacon, sauté onions, or make stir fry, in most homes the smell can linger for days. Those odors end up in our clothes, our hair, and our upholstery. Have you ever gone to a party and had to throw your clothes in the laundry after getting home? Yes? How nice would it have been if that home had good ventilation?

Smoke
As with odors, the smoke issue is self-explanatory. Everyone can agree it would be nice to move the smoke out of the home when cooking. Whether you burn something by accident, or blacken catfish on purpose, that smoke can mix with the rest of the air in the home and can linger for hours. Smoke is an irritant we will definitely want to get out of the home!  Plus, smoke alarms generate annoying noise…right?

Grease
The amount of grease produced certainly depends on the type of cooking being done. Some families cooking normally, nothing fancy, will easily produce a gallon of cooking grease per year..and it goes somewhere!  When we cook fatty foods, some of the grease that we produce leaves the pan as grease vapor. Without a range hood, that grease vapor will travel throughout the home and condense onto nearby surfaces – notably your cabinets. I have been in many homes over the years where there has been no ventilation or poor ventilation and seen a sticky film all over the nearby cabinetry. Grease will ruin the finish on your cabinets!

Hazardous Gases
Ok, I did start with the easy reasons as to why a range hood. Everyone knows we can smoke and stink up our home when we cook. However, when we cook we also produce gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Gas ranges produce the greatest amount of these hazardous gases. However, they are also produced when using electric and induction ranges, only in smaller quantities.

In short, it is very important to facilitate evacuating cooking contaminates and odors from the home.

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