When do you turn on your cooking vent? Do you wait until you’re frying fish, or when you’re burning toast? There are good reasons to use your kitchen ventilation system every time you cook or bake. In fact, these are one of the most important appliances in the kitchen. By capturing ‘dirty’ unhealthy air at its source, it improves your air quality and keeps your entire home cleaner.
Then there’s that garlic, fish or onion smell that can hang around for hours. Vent it out while you’re cooking. With your vent turned off, cooking and baking will raise the temperature of your home, especially in the summer. Maybe your air conditioning doesn’t quite keep up with the fluctuations from room to room.
Better Health with Good Ventilation
Aside from heat and odor, good kitchen ventilation removes or reduces ultra-fine airborne particles, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and other potentially hazardous byproducts produced by gas burners. In an airtight room, these can produce pollutants at levels exceeding health standards.
No matter if you are cooking with gas or electric, grease and grime have a way of building up on our walls and other surfaces over time. This can become a real cleaning chore. Plus, the cleaning chemicals we might use to cut the grease on kitchen surfaces are toxic to our skin and lungs.
As you can see, flipping on the vent switch can solve many problems!
Poor Air Quality can be Prevented with a Good Exhaust System
Eliminating excess airborne substances, such as soot, grease and even moisture from steam, prevents the formation of a sticky film on the surfaces of your cooking area. These can attract mold and bacterial growth. Not only this, but they are airborne, ready for you to breathe in.
Having the right size vent, with proper installation, will greatly improve the air quality in your home or workplace. Air quality is even more important for those who suffer allergies and any respiratory ailments such as COPD. After all, who doesn’t like fresh air?
Type of Vent and How They Typically Work
There are thousands of range hoods on the market today, so where do you begin now that you are building, purchasing or remodeling? Try to stay below 600 CFM or an additional make up air intake system may be required by a code official.
Updraft Vent Hood
The polluted air is pulled up by a fan, passes through filters, and is exhausted outdoors through a metal duct. Or a fan draws the polluted air through filters and then recirculates the cleaned air back into the kitchen.
A downdraft blower is built into a base cabinet. It exhausts air by pulling it down and out through vents placed on the sides and back of the cooktop and outside.
Island Mount or Ceiling Mount
These are connected and mounted at the ceiling. This is popular for a center island or peninsula configuration for your cooking area. This is not an easy install as it may require structural considerations. It usually takes an experienced HVAC contractor to install and properly vent it. However, it’s well worth it for the benefits this type of ventilation provides.
Under Cabinet/Overhead Range Hoods
This includes the microwave hood and will work great for a smaller area. Be sure to install a good quality vent, otherwise, if the ventilation is under powered, you are defeating your purpose. Some of these are actually “ductless” range hoods using an activated-charcoal filter to remove odors before returning the air back to the kitchen. This lowers airflow, creates additional noise, and must be replaced on a regular basis creating an ongoing expense.
There have been instances where people have moved into an existing home, or condo, where upon closer inspection, they found that when the ‘exhaust’ fan is engaged, the air really went nowhere! The hood was not vented, nor did it have a circulating filter. The light worked, but a place was never built to allow ducting and venting. How disappointing.
To remedy this, they needed to call a HVAC company to add proper venting and ducting.
Chimney (as pictured)
These are typically installed on the wall directly above the range. They require clearance between the cabinets and empty wall space above the range. The quality is usually high, they are attractive, are flexible and may be well vented.
A recent study from University of California Berkeley revealed that out of seven models, a few only accommodated part of the two front burners of a gas stove, but a premium model did better. Open hoods had a higher capture rating than those with grease screens. The hood with the highest capture efficiency proved to be exceedingly noisy. Suggestions arising from this study were to improve the shape of the hoods by making them deeper front to back and by using recessed grease traps, placing blower entries embedded inside the hood, and the use of higher quality fans and motors.
Commercial Kitchen Ventilating
Any commercial kitchen needs expert ventilation ability. This includes exhaust, as well as air replacement within the cooking area. This airflow balance is a complex issue. For example, not only is it a safety and health concern in even the smallest of restaurants and eateries, but an even greater challenge in hospitals and laboratories.
This involves overall design, construction, installation, and maintenance to get optimum performance and an energy-efficient air balance.
There are stringent compliances for these facilities that often require working in tandem with a building’s HVAC system.
Flip That Switch
In the end, it’s much easier to hit the power button on the range hood and stop the flying grease, moisture, heat and ultra-fine particles in their tracks.
For more information about ventilation in the kitchen, or other areas of your home, please call us at 952-472-COOL (2665) or Contact Us