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Range Hoods: Vent or no vent? What's the difference?
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Range Hoods: Vent or no vent? What's the difference?

Why Do You Need a Range Hood?

Cooking produces grease, smoke, moisture, and odors. Range hoods filter grease, moisture, and cooking smells out of your kitchen and out of your home. This filtering function is very important to preserving your kitchen cabinets, controlling humidity, and keeping your kitchen smelling like roses and not last nights seared pork chop.

The average family of four produces roughly one gallon of grease every year due to normal cooking practices. If you entertain regularly or enjoy high heat cooking searing, wok cooking, or frying, you might have even more grease. Without an effective hood, this grease ends up on your cabinets, floors, and walls leaving a greasy film. Just look at any fast food joint!  

Vent or no vent?  What's the difference?

The difference is quite simple. A vented hood, sometimes called a ducted hood, sends the grease, moisture, and air outside of your home through the wall or roof while an unvented hood filters the air through a carbon filter and recirculates the air inside your kitchen.

Vented Hoods

Vented or ducted hoods are far superior to unducted hoods in performance. Ducted hoods are much better at removing grease, smoke, moisture, and unpleasant smells. One of the ways that hoods are measured is by cubic feet per minute (CFM), or how much air can be removed per minute.

Ducted hoods are quite versatile and can include island hoods, under cabinet hoods, custom hoods, and wall hoods with a chimney-like duct that runs up the wall. The one feature they all share is that they send the cooking fumes outside.

The only reason that you would choose a unvented hood over a vented hood is if you simply cannot vent your range hood outdoors. Even if you do not care to cook often, if you are going through the trouble and expense of remodeling and upgrading your kitchen, a vented hood is much more desirable to future buyers than an unducted hood.

Why would I install an unvented range hood?

Sometimes, installing a vented range hood isn’t possible because of the layout of the kitchen, especially if it’s in a condo or apartment. When a vented hood is mounted under the cabinet or on a wall, the duct has to run through or behind the cabinets to an outer wall. For a ceiling-mounted or island range hood, the duct must run above the ceiling.

If you don’t already have the duct in your kitchen, it can be expensive (or sometimes impossible) to install one. Also, the location of the duct dictates where your range will be placed in the room—a duct run that’s too long or twisty is less effective. (You may have to add a booster fan in these cases.)

Due to a limited renovation budget, difficult floor plan, or condo restriction, some people simply cannot vent their range hood.

In these cases, a ductless range hood, also called a recirculating range hood, is an excellent way to improve the air quality in kitchens without a duct system. These hoods clear the air by filtering out smoke and particles before recirculating the clean air throughout the kitchen. 

A ductless range hood can be mounted anywhere, which saves money. It’s also more practical if you’re renting. And it uses less energy, since the fan doesn’t need to blow as hard.

Noise Caused By Hoods

Many people do not like to use their range hoods because hoods can be noisy, yet turning the range hood on while cooking is important for keeping grease buildup under control. Noise will typically increase with the airflow CFM rating. Many higher end ranges have powerful CFMs.  Most range hoods have multiple fan options from lower CFM and noice levels that increase as you use higher fan settings.

When it comes to a vented versus an unvented hood, the choice is easy! Choose the vented hood for superior performance, improved home air quality, and to protect your kitchen’s cabinets, walls, and floors in the long run.

Range Hoods



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