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Range Hoods & Vents


fresco
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I have a DCS range, but not a DCS range hood. I felt the DCS hoods were expensive for what they were, as opposed to the ranges themselves which have traditionally been well priced. I went with a Broan hood instead. The company provides good value and the hood has worked well for several years.

Don't forget, also, to read Dave Scantland's Maximum Suck essay from The Daily Gullet. It's an excellent primer on ventilation. Improving your hood may not do much if you don't have good ductwork and all the other fundamentals in place.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Dave's essay is excellent. I agree that the DCS models are pricey, but managed to locate one (new) on eBay for $US 500, which, as it happens, should fit in perfectly once we pop out the shallow cabinet above the existing fairly useless unit. It means going to a larger vent pipe, but this is a reasonably minor alteration.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I have had my 84" (I think) Vent-a-Hood for amost 14 years. I have been quite happy with it. I had one fan motor die, and replaced, a while back.

My happiness is somewhat less when I have to give the thing a good cleaning. The amount of grease that builds up is simply amazing. My only real complaint is that the shields and fan housings have some really sharp edges. Most often I get a wonderful grease/blood combination going. :wub:

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Just recently installed a 460CFM 10"H/30"W viking hood for $700. So far after 3 weeks it's held up quite well in a variety of cooking styles (wok frying, curries, steaks etc) . For the money, I've been happy and covers 70% of my needs. Cooking smells have been reduced to a minimum and tolerable level.

Looking back, to allay ALL fears probably a 1000+cfm 36" unit over my 30" range would be ideal to vent all steam and smoke overflows my current unit does not handle.

By the way I had a vent a hood 300cfm unit installed by mistake prior to the Viking which surprisingly was not as sturdy and did a fairly poor job for the money $630.

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  • 1 year later...

Another in the seemingly infinite parade of decisions a remodel inspires: how good are the better range hoods? I grew up with, and now have in my own house (or did until yesterday when I pulled it off the wall), cheap range hoods that didn't move much air and were so noisy they were usually left off anyhow. As a result I periodically look at the cabinets and walls around the stove and discover that everything's covered with a sticky yellow residue. If I forget the toast in the broiler and make wheat-based charcoal out of it, even the high speed does little to clear the air.

With the remodel I have a chance to remedy that, but I don't have a huge buget to work with. Where's the line between a practical, functional piece of hardware and an industrially designed fetish? My best bet is on a 400 CFM model that can be had for about $260, but never having actually had a range hood I was happy with, I'm wondering about other people's experiences. If you're a pro, how good are those big commercial hoods? If you've got a hood that's easy to clean and clears the air without requiring you to turn up the radio or raise your voice in conversation, I'd love to hear about it.

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I hit this problem 3 years ago in our kitchen remodel. The hoods they showed in the appliance store seemed weak. I also heard stories from friends who fell in love with a fashionable hood, only to rip it out later because it didn’t move enough air.

I bought a Wolf 4 burner with a grill--a model made just before SubZero bought Wolf and dumbed it down to the home market.

I called Wolf directly and asked their recommendation for level of cfm (the amount of air sucked). Wolf gave me a figure per burner (I think it was 200 x 4 burners + another 400 for the grill) that was far higher than the hoods being pushed by the store’s sales guys. Thinking about the full power of all four burners, the serious heat from the grill, along with the convection feature in the oven, I chose to increase the manufacturers’ recommendation by 50%. It was the right decision.

The noise issue was solved by putting the motor outside, on the roof. The exhaust line goes straight up, without turns, which probably makes the vent even more efficient. The vent screens pop out easily and can fit in the dishwasher (w/ no other dishes in it), making cleanup a breeze.

Another factor: our hood extends 2” past the left and right edges of the range top. Again, an intuitive choice: nothing gets away from the vent when it’s on.

I thought about putting a heat lamp in the hood, but that meant a rack above the stove, which would probably entail extra cleanup, so I decided against it. I don’t know if that was the right decision, however. I’m still trying to figure out a good way to hold warm plates…

Bottom line: call your range manufacturer to get their recommendation, then measure that against your style of cooking, and of course, your budget. A friend who bought a hood just six months ago found a great price and surprisingly high quality at Best Buy.

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I just bought a 36'/ 6 burner gas range; Premier Pro Series Model P36S318P

Waiting for delivery (local appliance dealer, a good one). I must say I haggled with him a bit about the price, claiming I could get it converted natural to propane, delivered for less what he said the price was. He came down, I got it for $ 1215.

Advise from him about a hood, he sold me a Zephyr Hurricane, which has two 695 CFM blowers. I am able of venting straight up, but only 2 feet into the attic, and then 90' right plus 8 feet out the wall. The Hood came to $ 549.

Since I have no cabinets above the range and counter on this 6.5' wall I will have to 'home-decorate' the duct above the hood myself (wife?). Cabinets on both sides of the range, a 12" and a 24" exist and will get new countertop, and the wall will be tiled. About the noise, I heard the hood fans running in the strore, and they are more quiet than my current JennAir downdraft.

Will inform more, maybe with a picture when all the work is done.

Peter
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I am working on a solution for this right now. I think that I have decided that I am going to be better off having a sheet metal guy build one for me. I am going to need to put motor on the roof, and it is a long way to the roof. The ceilings in my house are 14 feet (this house is in the Deep South, was built in 1898, and all of the ceilings are that high or higher and every door in the interior has a transom-the only way to keep air moving back then) so the vent run to the roof, up through the attic, is going to be about 25 feet, albeit straight.

The reason that I have decided on custom made is that 1) I have a guy that will build it for free as he owes me something 2) My wife is going to paint it as she has done this for countless restaurants at this point and they look really cool when she gets done with them. Hopefully, by putting the motor on the roof, I will be avoiding a bunch of racket. I really like to listen to music while I cook and really don't like to listen to the hood.

It's funny, I remember when I used to run this 400 seat place in Baton Rouge La that the turning on of the hoods was the first thing that you did in the morning and the last thing you did at night. That whirring racket was the start of the day and the silence of a clean, empty kitchen was the end. As they were often 16 hours apart, I used to love to hear those fans wind down. I don't want to get that same feeling in my own house.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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This discussion comes at a good time for me, I'm finally getting serious about a new kitchen.

Several folks have mentioned putting the motor on the roof to cut down on noise...I understand things such as CFM requirements but am ignorant of the mechanics of hoods. how large are these motors? are there other options for exterior installation other than a roof? I live in a condo, and while my floorplan lets me vent to the outside-- so I assume I'll be able to install a decent hood--my condo is on the first floor so I don't have access to the roof.


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Thanks for Scantland's article; it's great to see someone look at the topic rationally. I'm a furniture maker with my own shop, and I had to engineer my dust collection system last year. I learned a lot in the process, and there are a lot of parallels to the range-hood issue. One thing that became clear was that the CFM rating of a dust collector (or range hood) is, by itself, fairly meaningless. The ductwork that directs the smoke/dust where it needs to go creates resistance and slows down the air flow, so a hood that's rated for X CFMs when running wide open may only move a fraction of that amount of air when it's got to push it through a rectangular-to-round transition, a 90 degree elbow, 18 feet of straight pipe and a damper.

The resistance caused by a specific ductwork component is expressed as "static pressure loss" but the static pressure loss is dependent on the speed at which air moves through the duct; the faster the air is moving through the duct, the more resistance it generates. To really know the performance of a given fan in a specific installation you'd need to consult its "performance curve" which is a graph (which, unfortunately, range hood makers don't seem to make easily available) showing how much air it can move at a given static pressure. That amount of air is equivalent to a certain airspeed (in feet per minute) for a particular diameter of pipe. You'd then look for the point on the performance curve at which the fan can deliver the volume that corresponds to the same speed and volume at the same static pressure for your particular duct design, blah, blah, blah...

Ultimately there are more variables affecting performance than the manufacturer can anticipate, and to really know for sure what's sufficient requires more complex calculations than most cooks or contractors are up for. So they don't even ask you to figure anything out; they just say "more is better" and leave it at that.

I'm skeptical of the rules of thumb that try to relate needed CFMs to the square footage of your kitchen or your range's BTU output. My semi-educated opinion is that the relative length or simplicity of ductwork and the distance between stovetop and hood have a much greater effect than room area, and I can't imagine what BTU output would have to do with it unless the manufacturer is calculating that a consumer who can afford a high-powered range can also afford a high-powered range hood.

The performance of any given hood will be optimized by placing it closer to the stove and keeping the ductwork short, simple and large in diameter. Period. I'm also confident that, since much of the noise generated by the hood is the generated by the resistance of forcing a lot of air through a small intake, and since higher-CFM hoods have bigger intakes, it makes sense that a large-CFM hood run at low speed will be quieter than a lower-CFM hood run on high speed, even if they're moving the same amount of air. Now, If I only knew what airspeed would be required to divert an airborne particle of smoke or droplet of oil, and I had some performance curves for different fans, then I might be able to bring some real clarity to this... but of course, I don't and I can't.

I like the Zephyrs because their installation manuals (downloadable as PDFs) at least make the attempt to guide your duct design by using the resistance caused by a single linear foot of straight ductwork as a unit of measurement. A 90 degree turn = 15 "feet". Don't exceed 100 "feet" total. The company is at least making an effort.

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My recent kitchen remodel included a roof-mounted blower, stainless steel ductwork, and a "Best by Broan" hood. Don't remember the CFM rating.

I was expecting near silence in the kitchen with the hood in action. In reality, the sound of the blower echos down the ductwork into the hood. It is much better than a blower mounted in the kitchen but not the perfection (silence) I had hoped for.

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i put in a zephyr venezia a couple of years ago and havent' regretted it. it moves the amount of air i need and while it's certainly not silent, it is much quieter than the other hoods i tried in teh price range (around $1,000, or so, installed)

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"The performance of any given hood will be optimized by placing it closer to the stove and keeping the ductwork short, simple and large in diameter." --Jon, 5.14/ post #7, above.

Good info, Jon, but I disagree with placing the hood closer to the stove. Cooking activity needs space. See any low hoods in restaurant kitchens? I've cooked in homes with hoods installed low to address the issue you discuss, but when I try to pull long noodles out of a tall pot, my hand hits the hood. Try pouring stocks from one big pot to another--you need lots of space above the cooking area, and a low hood doesn't cut it.

I agree that short, simple, large diameter ductwork is critical. Sales guys don't talk about that.

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There are 4 crucial elements that I focused on when purchasing a hood for my new kitchen.

1. Air movement. How well the hood sucks the air and volatilized grease.

2. Quietness.

3. Ease to clean. Don't overlook this aspect, as you want something that's easy to clean.

4. Aesthetics.

After I researched all the options, I went with a 36" wide Vent-a-Hood with dual 300 cfm blowers and halogen lights. I spent about $1,500 for it, delivered. It looks pretty good in my kitchen and isn't horribly noisy. If, however, you want a quiet hood, then you'll want to look at remote blowers.

Plus, this thing is easy to clean, as the main parts just get popped in the dishwasher.

gallery_137_803_48236.jpg

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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For all the reasons that Varmint stated, I'm probably going with a Ventahood as well for our remodel. It was the quietest fan I tested in the appliance showroom, and I've heard nothing but good things about them from others.

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do check out the zephyrs. i tested them side by side in the showroom and there was quite a difference in noise. But of course, that could be just the way they were set up in the showroom. and that definitely did not include a roof-mounted fan.

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There are 4 crucial elements that I focused on when purchasing a hood for my new kitchen.

1.  Air movement.  How well the hood sucks the air and volatilized grease.

2.  Quietness.

3.  Ease to clean.  Don't overlook this aspect, as you want something that's easy to clean.

4.  Aesthetics.

After I researched all the options, I went with a 36" wide Vent-a-Hood with dual 300 cfm blowers and halogen lights.  I spent about $1,500 for it, delivered.  It looks pretty good in my kitchen and isn't horribly noisy.  If, however, you want a quiet hood, then you'll want to look at remote blowers. 

Plus, this thing is easy to clean, as the main parts just get popped in the dishwasher.

In my kitchen renovation, i won't be able to vent outside. Does anyone thinnk it's worth pursuing one of those microwaves w/ built in blower or a waste of money? was considering the dacor microwave w/ blower.

Varmint, I love your cabinets! Could you please tell me the manufacturer. They are exactly what I am looking for. Thanks

Azlee

Edited by azlee (log)
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Varmint, great looking set up. I am starting a kitchen remodel and have been round and round on many of the appliances. I really wanted a range since I often start things on the cooktop and finish in the oven. Had looked at the 30" pro ranges and almost settled on the Wolf but then thought the cook top area was kind of small and going to a 36" with pro hood just about ate up my appliance budget.

I have since decided on a Viking 36" rangetop with 6 burners and seperate wall ovens.

Now about the hood. I have picked out a Viking 42"X18"X27" professional model wall hood and think the smaller 600cfm blower maybe okay if I can extend the hood like this to capture all areas around the cooptop. The next step up is the 1200cfm blower which the applicance people recommend but I fear the problems associated with such high air turnover and need for a replacement air system which may be required by permit. I need to check in to the permit issue.

Has anyone gone with a larger hood than the cooktop and for those with matching hood cooktop sizes do you ever wish you went bigger with the hood? what do you like or dislike about your choice? So many decisions.

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Does anyone thinnk it's worth pursuing one of those microwaves w/ built in blower or a waste of money? was considering the dacor microwave w/ blower.

From what I've read any hood not vented outside is really a last-ditch option. If your lucky the filters might take some of the grease out of the air, but gasses, steam and smoke will just be blown back out into the room. Why can't you vent outside?

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Varmint, I love your cabinets! Could you please tell me the manufacturer. They are exactly what I am looking for. Thanks

Azlee

These were custom made by a company in Mississippi called Cabinetry Direct. I can't say enough about this company and its owner, Ken Ables. These were full overlay solid maple cabinets. They're top notch and we love them.

I was a bit hesitant about ordering cabinets from a company that is located in another time zone, but I can assure you that I would never have gotten this good of a product from the local big boxes for anything close to the price I paid.

If you want to discuss more about the cabinets, let's start a new thread, as this one is about hoods.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dumb question: is it totally out of the question to put a hood over a window? I just tore out a wall in my teeny kitchen and now I have an L-shaped kitchen with windows on both walls. I have a great 6-burner gas stove that I've had under the window with no fan for a couple of years without too much goo, but someone just gave me a 42" stainless hood from a laboratory that has two motors and sucks great. But as I have been researching my renovation, I haven't come across a single instance of a hood over a window. Am I crazy for wanting to put it there?

- Julie the Librarian

p.s. how about a show-and-tell forum on kitchen renovations?

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