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potsticker

Apartment/Small Kitchen Ventilation

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I gave in and finally purchased my first cast iron skillet.

It's made by Lodge, has a couple unfortunate rust spots, but was dirt cheap because of them. I took great care in removing the rust, seasoned it in my oven, and was ready to buy some steaks to inaugurate the pan until...

Flashbacks.

Incessant beeping. Smoke filled rooms. Lingering (but delicious) smells of food.

Anytime I cook something in my little apartment kitchen that produces any amount of smoke, the smoke detector goes crazy. On the up-side, at least I know the smoke detector is working. On the down-side, the continuous beeping has resulted in me getting to know my neighbors. Because of this, I've had to severely limit any frying, sauteing, roasting, stir-frying, searing and the like.

I have that dinky recirculating fan above my stove. It actually blows everything in the direction of the smoke detector.

Granted, I can just deactivate the thing. But my apartment will still resemble a haunted house from the smoke.

Does anyone else have this kind of problem? And how do you deal? I'm still looking for an industrial strength fan to situate in my doorway.

I just want to fire up a steak in my cast iron pan. :sad:

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I've had similar issues. Not much you can do given the circumstances. I'd say deactivate the smoke alarm, open all windows, and have a fan or two going full blast. Man, I can only dream about what life would be like with an industrial exhaust system in my kitchen.

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Does your apartment have a porch? If it does you could use a propane burner/camp stove and cook it outside.

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We have a window in the kitchen and one in the living room, on (somewhat) opposite walls, and we try and open both with the hope that the draft will carry out the smoke. It's usually not enough, and so we usually have the chair under the smoke alarm so that we can hold the button down and turn it off.

I'd love to hear what people recommend, because we won't take out the batteries.


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I'd love to hear what people recommend, because we won't take out the batteries.

Here's a little trick -- get a showercap and put it over the smoke alarm while cooking something prone to smoking. Just remember to REMOVE THE SHOWERCAP when you're done! (Maybe fix a little string with hang tag to the cap so it's hard to ignore.)

Also, when I lived in NYC and had a tiny little kitchen with no ventilation, I did the following: Close the bedroom doors, open up all of the windows, put a fan in the kitchen window blowing out (i.e. exhausting), and run a HEPA air cleaner during and after the whole process.


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I'd love to hear what people recommend, because we won't take out the batteries.

Here's a little trick -- get a showercap and put it over the smoke alarm while cooking something prone to smoking. Just remember to REMOVE THE SHOWERCAP when you're done! (Maybe fix a little string with hang tag to the cap so it's hard to ignore.)

Also, when I lived in NYC and had a tiny little kitchen with no ventilation, I did the following: Close the bedroom doors, open up all of the windows, put a fan in the kitchen window blowing out (i.e. exhausting), and run a HEPA air cleaner during and after the whole process.

Right on. Years ago when I lived in an apartment in NYC I installed an exaust fan in the window in the kitchen. Opening windows in the back of the apartment the thing worked. Good idea about the shower cap. I just installed two new smoke alarms and one came from the manufacture with a shower cap in place for use during construction and painting.


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I'd love to hear what people recommend, because we won't take out the batteries.

Here's a little trick -- get a showercap and put it over the smoke alarm while cooking something prone to smoking. Just remember to REMOVE THE SHOWERCAP when you're done! (Maybe fix a little string with hang tag to the cap so it's hard to ignore.)

Also, when I lived in NYC and had a tiny little kitchen with no ventilation, I did the following: Close the bedroom doors, open up all of the windows, put a fan in the kitchen window blowing out (i.e. exhausting), and run a HEPA air cleaner during and after the whole process.

That's fantastic! I'm going to try the shower cap tonight.

So far nothing has worked for us. If we cook anything at all on the stove, the alarm goes off. We open all the windows and use the fan when we cook in our tiny NYC kitchen, but it's not enough. My husband always winds up standing underneath the smoke detector flapping a towel at it and cursing. I hope this shower cap thing works! :laugh:

FWD


Elizabeth Licata

Will eat for food

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All the alarms in my apartment are networked so you can't escape it. They are always going off. I noticed two little cutouts that look like buttons but when I tried pushing them, nothing happened. I know some smoke alarms have reset buttons.

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I have a similar problem, but in this case, cast iron's ability to hold heat comes in handy... I set up a fan in my window, pointing out, and open the window on the other side of the apartment so there is plenty of flow. Then, I heat the skillet up really hot, take it off the burner and go over to the fan with it, and put the meat on directly in front of the fan. Works like a charm, and gives me a workout at the same time :biggrin:! Cast iron gets really heavy... sometimes I put a trivet down on a nearby chair to give my arm a rest.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I usually turn the heat up....(forced hot air) and open the window over the stove

yes there is a window right over my stove, gas stove, no curtains

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

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FWD..."My husband always winds up standing underneath the smoke detector flapping a towel at it and cursing."

The childhood memories that brings back. At my parent's house the smoke detector was situated in just the right place that it would go off when the garlic toast was done just to perfection. One person would take the toast out and another would wave the door nearest to the alarm until the fog cleared.

If all else fails a cheap and temporary exhaust system can be made from a length of flexible ducting and a small fan. I have cooked many a curry that was vented out the window to avoid adding a lingering scent to everything in the apartment. I have used the same principal ( just with a little larger hose and fan ) to create an area for smokers during parties.

I work in the HVAC business so I have easy access to the materials needed but anyone could set up a quick system that could get stored in a shoe box for about twenty bucks.

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I have a similar problem, but in this case, cast iron's ability to hold heat comes in handy... I set up a fan in my window, pointing out, and open the window on the other side of the apartment so there is plenty of flow. Then, I heat the skillet up really hot, take it off the burner and go over to the fan with it, and put the meat on directly in front of the fan. Works like a charm, and gives me a workout at the same time :biggrin:! Cast iron gets really heavy... sometimes I put a trivet down on a nearby chair to give my arm a rest.

That's hard core. :cool:

For me, the closest window to the kitchen is the living room. and there really isn't much room for a fan on the sill.. Plus, that would mean dragging a hot cast iron skillet into the living room.

Really, what I have done is simply to modify techniques. I just don't use as much heat as would normally be called for. Maybe less fat or oil. And sometimes, just not cooking foods that will fill the place with smoke. Kinda sucks, but I manage.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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