Category: Air Quality
You just finished making your favorite meal for the family and you are about to sit down to enjoy it, but is the cooking done? The first thing you might ask is, do you mean is the meat done or are the vegetables fully cooked? Those are good questions to ask but we are asking if the cooking process is done from a ventilation standpoint.
A mistake a lot of us make is that we immediately turn off the ventilation system as soon as the food comes off the cooktop. The problem with that is the pots and pans we have been using are still emitting contaminates into the air. Think about it, lets say you are sautéing vegetables in a pan. During the cooking process they are emitting items like grease, steam, carcinogens and so forth. All of those items are also gathering in the pan itself. Now you transfer the food to a plate and are done – right? Not really, the pan is still hot and still emitting those items. Sometimes it is really easy to see this playing out as steam or smoke is still coming off the pan even after we have taken everything out. Even the cooking surface it still going to be sending off contaminates as it is still at a high temperature.
Some will depend on what type of cooking you are doing but in general you want to keep your range hood running for 10 to 15 minutes after the cooktop has been turned off. This will give ample time for all of the contaminated generated during the cooking process to be ventilated out. It will also provide enough time for the pots/pans and cooking surface to cool to a point they are no longer producing contaminates.
So why do so many of us turn the range hood off immediately after the active cooking is completed? Our guess is it comes down to one main reason – sound. We get it. Most of the range hoods out there are just plain loud. Here is where we have some suggestions. First, if you are in the market to replace your range hood or are thinking about a kitchen remodel, there are a lot of quiet options when it comes to range hoods. Air King has models that are almost as quiet as your refrigerator.
If a replacement is not in the immediate future, look to use the speed control of your range hood. Almost all range hoods have at least two speeds. During the active cooking process you’ll probably want to use a high setting to effectively clear out as much of the contaminates as possible. Once the active cooking is done, there are less contaminates being released so you can go down to a lower/quieter speed while still effectively ventilating. For the ultimate in kitchen ventilation, Air King offers continuously operating range hoods that operate at an almost silent sound level then have higher settings to effectively clear the air. You can learn more about them here.
A second reason some might be quick to turn the range hood off is energy usage. If the range hood is running, it is using electricity. This is true but once again, we have some answers for that. In general range hoods are fairly efficient as far as appliances go. The good news is that there are many models on the market today that are ENERGY STAR® certified and use a significantly less amount of energy than a traditional range hood, in some case up to 30% less. The lighting can also make a measurable difference. An ENERGY STAR certified range hood is going to use LED lighting, which is usually not more than 11 watts. A traditional hood might use up to 100 watts or more. Now here’s more good news. Even in a traditional hood, changing the lighting to LED is a simple process that can reap immediate benefits without a full kitchen remodel. While the ventilation should run for additional time, the lighting does not need to. You can turn the lighting off at anytime you want, it will not affect the exhaust function of the range hood.
So we come back to the question of when is the cooking done? Our goal of this post it to get you thinking about all the factors that go into ensuring good indoor air quality within your living space as well as getting you to look a little deeper into how you utilize the tools you have.
For more information about Air King’s line of quiet and efficient range hoods, utilize the menu links at the top of this page. Also check out our other posts about continuous operating range hoods and the benefits of range hoods.