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How to choose a range hood

range hood

As you remodel your kitchen, you will have to make a lot of decisions about style, functionality and cost. While you may be immersed in countertops and appliance options, don’t forget to leave some room in your schedule and budget for a good range hood. Range hoods rest over your cook top and help get rid of steam, grease and smoke as you cook. Different range hoods exist to fit any kitchen layout or style, so you know you can get something that will look great and still get the job done.


Decision 1: How many CFMs?

One of the most important things to consider when you select your range hood is the power of your appliance. The power, rated in CFMs (cubic feet per minute), is an indicator of how efficient your hood will be at sucking up your cooking air and redistributing it elsewhere. If the most you do is cook macaroni and cheese on your stove, you can probably get away with a lower power rating. If you do a lot of frying and stove work, you will want a powerful hood. Look for something that is 350 CFM or higher to handle all of the steam, smoke and odors from your cooking adventures.

Decision 2: Indoor or outdoor exhaust?

Next, you will have to think about your exhaust system for your hood. The least expensive hoods re-circulate the air back into the kitchen via a blower that sucks up your smoke and shoots it back out. Since you don’t have to mess with ductwork, this style of hood is easy to install, but it is not the best for large cooking projects since the air blows back out into your cooking space. This style of hood uses a charcoal filter to clean the air, which should be regularly replaced to ensure that the air is filtered before it is pushed back out into your kitchen.


Full range hoods also come in models that vent the air to the outside of your house. Some do this via a duct system, while others vent directly to the outside. If your stove sits against an exterior wall, your hood can vent directly to the outside air. Since the air does not have to be pushed through a long duct system, you don’t have to have a hood that operates at maximum power, which will make for a quieter cooking space and save you a little money. If your cook top does not connect to an exterior wall, you can still vent your cooking smoke and odors out of your home via a duct system. You will want to make your ducts as straight and short as possible to allow the air to move freely to the outside. You may also need a bit more powerful of a motor to make sure that the air is free of your home. This type of system uses a mesh filter, which needs to be regularly cleaned.


Decision 3: What style are you looking for?

Once you have your basic cooking and venting needs met, you can look at other options for your range hood. Whether you want a full range hood or something that fits neatly under your cabinets, there are plenty of choices. For people who want to make their hood an eye-catching centerpiece, elegant glass or metal hoods are perfect; options that blend in beneath cabinets can let other elements shine. You can also look for pieces with an Energy Star rating or extras such as lighting and timer switches.

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