Choosing a correct range hood for your house is a crucial matter- just think how much depends on it.
While being an integral part of your kitchen, which makes it important for it to look good and match the rest of your kitchen, your hood also has to fit your kitchens shape and be practical. After all, a range hood is responsible for getting rid of all the unwanted substances and smells- the by-products of your every-day kitchen activity.
With that being said, I’m sure all of you already imagine how important it is to choose one that’s going to fulfill its role optimally. If it’s a wrong design, mismatched or just too small, suddenly your kitchen won’t be a very comfortable place to be at – especially if you cook a lot. On the other hand, apart from the technological and practical side of it, it still has to look good and match the design.
Things to consider
To spare you a headache, and make it easier for you to pick just the correct one, let’s see what should we keep in mind when we want to get us a new range hood.
- How often do you cook – the cooking lifestyle of your family is one of the most important matters, that you have to consider when deciding for a certain range hood. The amount of food that you cook, how often do you do it, and what type of meals do you usually prepare – all of these have a great impact on the hood that you actually need. If your needs are small, there is no point in getting yourself a hood that’s been designed to serve big families or even small restaurants, right?
- Pick accordingly to space in your kitchen – the range hood you get has to be compatible with the rest of your kitchen, and sometimes even the entire house. If you happen to be a happy owner of a kitchen island, you need a range hood crafted specifically for such conditions – for example, one with exposed shaft.
- The type of ventilation you want for it to provide – range hoods can vent either to the outside of your house or inside of it. Naturally, venting outside is all around a better and more efficient way of ventilation, as it basically means sucking up all the smoke, odor and moisture, and casting it outside of your house. Then again, if you live in a block of flats, for example, you might not be allowed to install such a vent system, because of all the other people living near you. Be it as it may, another option is a ventilation system that vents to the inside, which means filtering and circulating it all back into the room – which works for the smell, but not so much for the moisture, so keep that in mind. It’s important to know what you can or cannot do before you decide for a specific range hood.
- It has to match your kitchens design – pretty self-explanatory, but let’s elaborate just a bit. People tend to forget, that just because it’s a range hood, it does not mean it has to be deprived of any aesthetic value. On the contrary, designers saw the possibilities that lie within range hoods and started creating them in various styles and shapes, so oftentimes you wouldn’t even recognize one. Whatever the style of your kitchen is, we’re sure there is at least one range hood out there that’s going to fit right in.
We’ve already said that you have to pick a range hood that matches the space available to you – so what types are there to choose from?
- Undercabinet hoods – that’s a type designed to be attached to the underside of your cabinets if you happen to have some above your stove. They vary in strength and styles, and can be ducted and non-ducted, so before you buy one make sure to check if it meets your needs. It’s a perfect type for those of you who want for the range hood to maximally match the design of the rest of the kitchen, and to sort of blend in. They aren’t very exposed, and can be designed to be pretty unnoticeable.
- Chimney hoods – these hoods are also mounted above your stove, but are a bit more exposed due to the flue that goes up the wall, all the way to the ceiling. Obviously, such a hood can’t be installed if you happen to have cabinets in the way, in which case you either have to remove them or consider the undercabinet hood.
- Wall-mounted hoods – same concept as with the undercabinet hoods, only these are mounted right into the wall, instead of under the cabinets.
- Island hoods – as we mentioned before, this is the kind of a hood to go for if you happen to have a kitchen island. Such a hood is ceiling-mounted and hangs over your island – the best possible ventilation system for any island-owner. Their huge asset is a fact that their come in various designs and styles, which allows them to easily fit every kitchen, given you pick the correct one.
- Downdraft hoods – a very good solution for these of you who value minimalism, and don’t like their kitchen appliances to be visible. This type of a hood is hidden in the cooktop itself. It pops up if you want to use it and pulls the smoke horizontally. If you have a kitchen island but prefer something discrete – this is the hood for you.
When you buy your range hood, there are two types when it comes to filtering and getting rid of substance – ducted and non-ducted.
- Ducted – they are ones that use aluminum filters to store grease before they vent the smoke and smells outside your kitchen. All you need to do to maintain these aluminum filters is wash them in your dishwasher every couple of months. Naturally, if you’re exploiting the hood more than average, do it more often.
- Non-ducted – these work on charcoal filters, which trap the by-products of cooking inside of them, so they can’t be blown back into the kitchen. These filters can not be washed, thus, have to be replaced after they’ve been used up. Most non-ducted range hoods these days have indicator lights, to tell you when it’s time to get rid of your charcoal filters.
Normally, non-ducted hoods are the inside ones, which re-circulate your kitchen air, and the ones ducted are used in case of outside ventilation system.
The power with which a hood sucks the air inside of them is measured in CFM, which stands for cubic feet per minute. When you buy your range hood, that’s what you will see on the box – question is, how many CFMs do you need?
To decide how powerful your range hood has to be, there are three things to take into account – the size of your cooking surface, the volume of your kitchen and the amount of heat produced by your cooking surface.
Now, you might not be familiar with it, but there are things called BTU – which is an acronym for British thermal units. The BTU number of your oven or a cooktop, or anything else you cook your meals at, is crucial for picking a range hood of correct size and power.
Basically, we take the BTU number and divide it by 100 – and the result is how many CFMs should our range hood have, to be efficient enough to ventilate our interior. Still, that’s not enough.
Another thing to consider is the volume of our kitchen – if it’s well above your average, mid-sized kitchen, our previous calculations might prove to be useless. What to do then?
The formula is ft³/4 – let’s say you have a 15ft x 15ft x 8ft kitchen, which gives us 1800ft³ to be divided by 4, which is 450. And that’s the number of CFM we need.
Okay, but both results are different, so which number of CFM is correct in the end? It’s simple – pick the higher number of these two, and that’s the lowest possible power of a range hood you should get, to efficiently ventilate your kitchen. Our advice to you is to pick something a bit stronger than that, and you should be golden.
If you still happen to have troubles pinpointing the exact power of the range hood, needed for your kitchen, by all means give your local hood seller a call and ask him for a professional advice. Proper kitchen ventilation is no laughing matter, so better safe than sorry. We weren’t all born mathematicians, no shame in that.
In case you do not know the CFM or BTU, you can count them in one of two ways. The first way to determine these numbers, is looking for their formulas online, but we prefer to use the second way – call the shop you got them from. No mistakes, easier, safer.
Another very important thing, when choosing your range hood, is to remember these things actually make sounds when they work. How loud does a range hood work is measured in sones?
One sone is, more or less, the sound of a working refrigerator. Four ones are considered to be as loud, as a normal conversation. This should give you a rough idea of what we are dealing with here.
Remember, that the higher your CFMs, the more sones your range hood is going to emit. On the other hand, a range hood with fewer CFMs that has to work on higher settings will also be way louder because working at full power usually makes appliances go extra loud.
Our advice – pick a fan that has enough CFMs to efficiently ventilate your kitchen at normal settings. The rest is up to the price and quality – pick the one that you can afford, while trying to find one which generates as little sones as possible.
As always, if you pay a bit more, you can get a range hood equipped with extra features, such as:
- Automatic turn off – you can preset your range hood to turn off at a specific time.
- An indicator light for your filter – which will glow when it’s time to change or clean your fans filter.
- Heat sensor – which will measure the heat coming from your cooktop, and adjust the speed of the range fan accordingly.
- Lighting – okay, this is pretty standard, but some of them come with really fancy lights, fluorescent buttons, halogen or LED lights. That’s something to consider if you want your design to be as cohesive as possible.
Finally, a few words about the looks of your range hood. As it is with appliances, practical aspect should come first – after all, if your kitchen is full of smoke after cooking, nobody can notice its design anyway. However, that does not mean you can’t make them efficient and gorgeous at the same time – these days, range hood producers do what they can to satisfy your aesthetic tastes.
The bottom line is after you decide the power and type of your range hood, don’t just pick the first one that meets these parameters – there are plenty of hoods to pick from, and we’re sure you can find something cohesive with the rest of your kitchen.
Obviously, the bigger and more efficient the range hood, the higher the price. The price range of range hoods is a very broad subject, because of all the different types and sizes of them. One advice we can give you, in this specific situation, is to not pay that much attention to it.
Trust us – without a proper range hood, your kitchen life will soon turn to be a real nightmare, so it’s better to save money on something else than the range hood. It is really crucial to pick one that can efficiently get rid of all the smoke and odor, or else not only the kitchen is going to be full of them, but the entire house as well. It’s just not worth it to be stingy when it comes to your range hood.
That’s it – now you should have all the knowledge needed to pick the correct range hood to clear your kitchen air efficiently and with style. Our final advice to you is – if you still have any trouble at all, to pick the hood that can do its job well, get a professional to help you. Proper ventilation of not only your kitchen, but also your house, is what makes or breaks your everyday life, so take it all seriously, and spare yourself the shame of activating your fire alarm when cooking dinner.