How do I choose the right range hood?

| by Brian Wellnitz
How do I choose the right range hood?

There are three things people are most concerned about when choosing a range hood.

In no particular order, the main factors are noise, smoke and odor removal, and energy efficiency.

The best place to start is to figure you how much of a range hood your range will require. Many range manufacturers provide guidelines. Don't skimp to save a few dollars. This is one area where size does matter.

At a minimum, the range hood width should extend to the width of the cooktop, and cover 100 percent of the back burners and at least 50 percent of the front burners. Range hoods can be wider and deeper, and in some places it is code to have the width of the hood extend 6 inches greater than the cooking surface.

For even better effective coverage, install the hood at the lowest recommended height and select a hood with at least a 1-inch deep sump. The sump is the inverted area of the hood bottom that acts like a container to hold the inrush of heat and smoke until the blower can drain it away, preventing smoke from spilling over the edge.

All range hoods have a recommended range of installation height over the cooking surface. The lowest level is the distance the hood was safety tested for by UL. The upper limit is a recommendation that will provide satisfactory capture. If the hood is installed below the lower limit it could cause damage to the hood and an inspector could force a reinstallation. Going above the upper limit is the installer’s choice and will have no effect on the hood, but may result in reduced capture of smoke. If the hood is above the upper limit, add 100 cubic feet per minute (CFM) for every 3 inches above the recommended height, and increase the width of the hood so it extends 6 inches beyond the cooktop.

Large range hoods also require make up air for ranges hood above a certain limit, which varies by building codes in some states. Both the International Residential Code Section and the International Mechanical Code Section require Make-Up air for all domestic range hoods in excess of 400 cfm. States such as California, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have different requirements, as does ASHRAE 62.2. Always check with your jurisdiction for specific make-up air requirements and code amendments that are applicable in your area.

To get a head start, use the Range Hood Make Up Air Specifier tool from Broan-Nutone. You can get an estimate of the make up air required in a specific location using Broan-Nutone or BEST range hoods.


Topics: Kitchen, Ventilation


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