Category: Air Quality
Kitchen Range Hoods are a critical component in maintaining the indoor air quality of our homes. The kitchen is one of the leading sources of contaminates in our homes and utilizing a range hood decreases these contaminates and makes our homes healthier to live in. So how do kitchen range hoods work?
Having an understanding of how range hoods work and what they are providing is an important component to making sure they are utilized correctly. Range hoods have a two-function purpose. The first is to provide protection to the cabinets above the cooking area. Almost all cabinets are made out of wood so to protect them if there is a flare up on the cooktop is important. Over the years range hoods have greatly advanced to more than just basic protection. They have become part of an indoor air quality solution. The basic principle of kitchen range hood is to take the “bad” air being generated during the cooking process and move it (exhaust it) out or filter it.
There are two types of methods a range hood uses to better the indoor air quality. The first is to utilize an odor filter and recirculate the air back into the room. This type of range hood does not require ducting. While this will provide some improvement to the indoor air quality of the kitchen, they really are not very effective as the filters used only catch a small percentage of the contaminates you really want to remove from the living space. This type falls into the “better than nothing” category. A much better way is to have the air exhaust to the outside. These hoods still have some type of grease filter that prevents grease from building up on the hood’s motor/blower as well as in the ducting. The big benefit is all of the contaminates the hood captures will be exhausted to the outdoors and away from the living area.
Most kitchen range hoods also have some type of lighting feature to them. These might be LED, incandescent or even halogen. When looking for a range hood, take note of the light both from an efficiency standpoint as well as the location. Generally a hood with the light at the front will provide better overall coverage of the cooking surface.
The next part of the range hoods is the duct collar for hoods that are being exhausted to the outdoors. Hoods that are recirculating the air back into the kitchen typically have an exhaust vent build into the hood itself. Hoods that are exhausting to the outdoors will have some type of duct collar either built into the hood or one that attaches to the hood. Common sizes for these collars are 3.25” x 10” or round. Round duct collars range from 5” to 10” and larger. Many of the duct collars are going to also incorporate a backdraft damper that prevents or at least lessens the amount of air coming back into the home through the ducting. A quick note – if you feel drafts coming from your range hood, you might want to upgrade your backdraft damper. Air travels through the ducting from the range hood to either a wall cap or a roof cap. While these components are not necessarily part of the fan, they are integral components that are required. Wall and roof caps vary in function, features and costs. Two common features are bird screens that prevent birds from building nests in the ducting (yes, it does happen and it is more common than you think) and backdraft dampers. Backdraft dampers on the wall or roof cap provide an extra layer in addition to the one on the range hood to prevent backdrafts.
These are the main components of kitchen range hoods. In addition some fans will have extra features like continuous operation, thermostats that turn the unit on or off and more. For more information of the range hoods available through Air King utilize the Range Hoods tab at the top of the page.