What is the most used room in your home? If you are like me, it would be your kitchen and office. If I am not tapping away at the computer, you can usually find me making a meal or batch cooking in the kitchen. When I have parties, for some reason, it is always where everyone ends up congregating. That is probably the norm for most people. It also happens to be a room where you often find buildup around the stove and on the walls because of a lack of ventilation over the stove.
So, we put together a quick guide to help you figure out if you need ventilation as well as what type of ventilation you should install.
What is Local Code?
Depending upon where you live will ultimately decide what type of ventilation is permitted or required. Every municipality will have its own code regarding kitchen ventilation. For many apartments, for example, they simply have recirculated exhaust fans with no outdoor ventilation. In most homes, you will have a true ventilation or downdraft system in place that removes the air from the house altogether.
Regardless of the chosen system, you want to ensure the ventilation system meets local code because if a kitchen accident happens, it could impact your insurance coverage if the ventilation system does not meet code.
Exhaust vs. Downdraft
Exhaust fans are what you will see in most homes today. They pull the smoke off the cooking surface, passing the smoke, grease, and vapors outside. As mentioned above, in some homes, the air simply passes through filters before recirculating in the kitchen. If this is the case, you want to ensure those screens are cleaned regularly or you will start seeing a massive buildup on the walls and stove. When it gets really bad, you start to see grease dripping back down on to the stove area. It is not only disgusting, but also dangerous.
Downdraft systems are becoming more popular, especially in more modern kitchen designs with stovetop grilling systems. These systems are built directly into the counters and are located either on the sides or behind the burners. The drawback to this type of system is that it is not quite as effective as a traditional exhaust fan system… but it sure looks amazing.
Choosing Range Hoods
Ducted systems are what you see in most homes, which will ventilate to the outdoors. Ductless hoods recirculate the air after passing through filters. These systems can be mounted under the cabinet, which is what we generally see, within a cooking island, as a downdraft hood, wall hood, chimney hood, or, my favorite, a ceiling hood. I love the look of the kitchen when the hood is actually considered part of the design rather than just what is needed for ventilation.