Nothing brings form and function together like the kitchen range hood. In addition to ventilating and illuminating the work space, a well-selected range hood can tie the room’s design together, blend in with existing appliances or
Metallo Arts’ Campbell’s Soup hood, a tribute to Andy Warhol
stand out as a customized kitchen centerpiece. Homeowners looking for a less-intrusive upgrade alternative to the whole kitchen renovation should consider a new range hood.
Practical Considerations Whether looking for an understated hood that will blend unnoticed or an ostentatious piece intended to draw attention, a hood and its working parts must meet the ventilation needs of the kitchen. “The hood must first be sized properly,” says Rose Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Wind Crest manufacturers of residential cooking and ventilation products. Sizing a hood properly means accounting for the physical coverage of the hood itself as well as the size and power of the fan housed within. The ventilation component of a hood is measured in cubic feet per minute (or CFM), indicating the amount of air moved through the system. According to Dickson, an effective rule of thumb matches a ventilation system to the BTU output of the range or cook top underneath. Dickinson advises using a ratio of 1 CFM to 100 BTU to select a motor.
Homeowners must also consider the location of the motor that drives the fan component of the hood’s ventilation system. Some hoods allow for flexible placement of the blower, which can mean internal, inline or external application. An internal scenario is common in most kitchen hoods; in an internal application, the motor is housed directly within the hood itself. In an inline situation, the motor sits between the hood and the exterior of the house, along the ducting. An externally installed hood ventilation system sees the blower rest on the roof or outside of the home. This is also called a remote blower. “Some lines of our hoods are compatible with all three types of blowers,” says Arcadio Lainez, director of marketing for Zephyr, manufacturers of stylistic, professional-grade hoods. “The decision on the placement of the blower can sometimes come down to a style versus performance questions,” Lainez adds. Streamlined, low-profile hoods–by nature of their minimalist design–often preclude the option of an internal blower and can only accommodate an inline or external blower.
Configuration limitations will also drive the hood purchase. Existing cabinetry may require an under-cabinet hood while island ranges will necessitate a matching island hood. Ducting requirements will also come into play as well. “The ventilation system is sometimes an afterthought, which can pose a problem,” says Dickinson. She advises homeowners to approach this topic before the walls are closed and to talk with the designer or installer about duct size and related issues ahead of time. “Working with the right salesperson to select the right system for your cooking surface will help you save time and money in the long run,” she says.