How to pick a range hood

| by Brian Wellnitz
How to pick a range hood

When you're looking for a range hood there are some basic things to keep in mind. Check with the range manufacturer to see if they have recommendations or specifications. Generally, a gas range will require a larger capacity hood than an electric range will.

Capacity: For the majority of ranges that most people will purchase, a range hood with a 350 to 370 CFM blower capacity will cover the worst-case scenario (burned food or all four burners going full blast). On the medium setting of about 250 CFM, they will be more than adequate for normal cooking.

If you're installing a five or six burner gas range, you many need 1,000 to 1,500 CFM. If your plans include a grill, you will need a hood with a sump feature that pulls the smoke immediately from the grill, holds it a few seconds, and then vents it. That will keep your home from smelling like a barbecue pit after a while. The rule of thumb is 1 CFM for every 100 BTUs of burner output.

Noise: Usually the noise is listed on range hood in sones, and one sone is about the noise level of a refrigerator in a quiet kitchen. The sones number is usually the noise level when the fan is turned up to the maximum setting.

As capacity in CFM increases, so does the noise level. With a range hood rated at 350 CFM’s and above, it will put out about 5.5 to 7 sones. At the medium setting around 250 CFM, the same blower might be only 3 to 5 sones. At the lowest speed you may forget you have it on. Less expensive builder-grade fans will be noiser across the entire operating range.

Style: A range hood can fit in with any style, from modern to rustic. If your range or cooktop will be in an island you may want to consider a downdraft system that pulls the air across the cooktop and down under the floor to be vented outside. The downdraft system is adequate for a four-burner stove and avoids the presence of the updraft style range hood over the cooking area.

Size: The range hood should cover the full width and extend to at least to the middle of the front row of burners.

Filters:Most range hoods have some kind of grease filter. Check to see how it can be cleaned, and whether it's dishwasher safe. Some higher end hoods have a warning light that lets you know when it's time to clean the filter.

Topics: Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation

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