How to select your new Vent Hood or Range Hood.
When selecting your new range hood the most important thing to consider is how you use your cooktop. Simply put, what types of foods and how much food do you cook at the same time or continuously. This will help you determine how much time you use your cooktop and how much time you will use your Range Hood or Vent Hood. Both of these factors determine how much you will use your range hood and what will be the best range hood for your needs. Here are the typical questions to ask. How many hours or minutes per day, on average, do you spend at the cooktop? Do you cook 3 meals a day on the cooktop? Do you use every burner or do you only use one or two? Do you have a griddle or grill on your cooktop? How often do you cook greasy, odorous or strong smelling foods? Obviously the more time you spend at the cooktop the more you will use your range hood and the more you should know about sizing your new range hood correctly.
In today’s kitchens the requirements for the range hood vary from household to household and person to person. Some families will use a heat intense, high output, gas stove, but cook only once or twice per day. The five star, Viking and Wolf Gas cooktops are good examples of these types of high output gas cooktops. In these cases, size your hood sufficiently to cover the most extreme cooking, exhaust scenario, then you can use the speed control to dial your range hood down for the rest of your cooking needs. Other families will use the cooktop all day long for various foods and prep. Here again, size the range hood for the most extreme possible case and then use the lower speed control to fine tune the exhaust to exactly what you require. Most of the time, it has been our experience, that customers think they need much more exhaust capacity than they actually do. Usually higher exhaust capacity equals more expensive units both in initial cost and the cost of installation. The larger the capacity of exhaust the larger the ductwork and fittings. For new construction this is generally no problem and the Range Hood Ductwork installation and materials can be included in the Heating and Air Conditioning contract. For remodel customers the cost can be very high to increase duct size from an old 4” or 6” exhaust line to 8” to 12” for some of the newer style hoods so be careful and ask before you buy.
Many customers buy a very large and powerful Range Hood, then they find they only use it on the first or second speed. In these cases function takes priority. Choosing a Range Hood that is easy to use, easy to clean and looks great yet still has plenty of power has never been easier and more affordable and with all of the great options currently available and on the way, the range hood with sufficient exhaust capacity, the proper lighting, and a capture area to cover all your cooking needs can be found and ordered right online.
Range Hood and Vent Hood “Effective Capture Area”
One of the most important things to consider with your new range hood is the “effective capture area” of your vent hood. This is the area of the range hood which most effectively traps, and channels airflow to the exhaust blower for removal. Think of this as a funnel. You want to capture and draw in the cooking smoke, steam and odors, with as little additional air as possible. The effective capture area is affected by the blower size, the range hood or vent hood design and the overall range hood size and venting area. Each of these variables plays a critical role so we will discuss each of these below.
Range Hood and Vent Hood Blower Size
First, fans inside range hoods or vent hoods are typically called blowers. The blower size is measured in CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute of air flow. Obviously the larger the airflow the more air that can be removed from the cooking area but bigger is not always better. If you oversize the blower and operate your range hood at maximum speed all the time you not only waste the electrical energy required to run the blower at a high speed but in most cases you are removing heated or air conditioned air in the process. This makes your heating or air conditioning energy consumption go up and creates a very inefficient cooking exhaust situation. This is critical because some very large range hoods can have very small “effective capture areas” for exhaust.
Range Hood and Vent Hood Design
The Second variable that dramatically affects the effective capture area of your range hood or vent hood is the range hood design. The most basic design component is the shape of the hood and the blower position. For example, if you have a flat bottom hood, with a low profile design, drawing the air across stainless steel baffle filters then the main area of capture will be directly underneath the blower motor and the suction will dissipate as you move out further away from the center. With a more traditional pyramid shaped canopy design the cooking exhaust is drawn up and funnelled right to the blower for easy removal. In the latter range hood design it is easy to see how the range hood or vent hood design serves to consolidate and funnel the cooking exhaust right into the blower making the need to draw in excessive outside air unnecessary for effective results.
Range Hood and Vent Hood Size
The third variable which affects the effective capture area of your range hood is the size of the hood. You can have the strongest and most powerful vent hood, with the best design, and if you don’t cover the cooktop and trap the cooking exhaust you can never get rid of it. This is especially true for range hoods over island cooktops. Once you have considered your cooking style consider the size of the range hood. Try to size the hood 6” larger in width than the cook top. Most range hoods come in 22-27” depths with some of the range hoods being 30” deep. The more coverage the better for the serious cooks. If you use your cooktop and you are serious about cooking then remember “coverage is king” especially in an island range hood setting. You can also help yourself by trying to keep your cooking over the primary capture area of your range hood. BBQ and Heavy Smoke cooking environments, both indoor and outside need coverage so size of the range hood is critical. Again, if you can catch the smoke and exhaust you can get rid of it but if you don’t “trap” or catch the smoke it is almost impossible to get rid of without removing an inefficient unnecessary amount of additional air in the room. All of which must be heated or air conditioned in most cases.