Range Hoods – A guide to renovating and how to install one in your kitchen
Range Hoods hang the stove or cook top in your kitchen. Kitchen range hoods can be called by a number of different names depending on where you are in the world. In the United Kingdom they are referred to as an extractor hood, other names include ventilation hood, fume extractor or cooking canopy while in Australia only the spelling differs (rangehood).
Despite the difference in names, range hoods are all made up of the same basic components; A large opening at the base to capture the rising gases and cooking fumes, one or several filters and a fan to force the ventilation of air.
Range hoods come in two types namely Ducted and Ductless (these can also be referred to as a Vented or Recirculating range hood). The former takes the cooking fumes from the kitchen and forces them outside whilst the latter filters the air to remove any smoke and odour then the filtered air is recirculated back into the kitchen. There are a number of range hoods which allow for both ducted and ductless applications.
Most people would opt for a ducted/vented system as it removes all types of airborne contaminants and the maintenance costs are often lower as the filters are not only cheaper but do not need replacing as often. Another disadvantage to the Ductless system is that the recirculated air adds both moisture and heat to the kitchen. The installation of a ducted system may not be applicable in some kitchens owing to a lack of space.
A ubiquitous feature of most every range hood is the inclusion of some form of lighting to light up the cooking surface. Most of the range hoods on the market today offer a series of customizable accessories and attachments including back-splash panels, shelving and dish racks depending on the size of your kitchen.
Today you can buy range hoods that can be placed just about anywhere around your stove including; range hoods under cabinet for small spaces, island range hoods, and pop up range hoods to name a few.
Cost of a Range Hood
A range hood today will range from anywhere between US$100 for a basic unit through to US$20,000 for the best range hoods which are custom built and also industrial models. The majority of domestic range hoods will fall somewhere between US$400 and US$2500. Before you buy one remember to take into account what type of range hoods your house or building can have installed and also the height of your ceiling to avoid hitting your head when you check on your dinner.
Range hoods are not overly complicated to install, however the difficulties lie in the placement of the unit and the layout of your kitchen. This is just a basic guide and should you not feel comfortable doing this or have a more complicated system then please consult the store or manufacturer for further installation details and assistance.
Which Type Are You Replacing?
As there are two main types of range hoods it is important to figure out which you want to install. If you are replacing your old ductless range with a ducted one then the first step would be to install new ductwork making sure that you adhere to your applicable building management or strata for any permits that you may require and vent your range outside and not an enclosed space like an adjoining car park or attic.
Range of Materials
Today’s range hoods have come a long way since their invention in 1937. The range of materials has expanded to commonly include: stainless steel, tempered glass, copper, aluminium, and heat-resistant plastics. the glass and copper range hoods are popular for prominent kitchen displays and islands. Modern range hoods are equipped with electronic control systems which enhance their functionality to include some or all of the following features such as temperature sensors, height adjustment, reminders to clean the filters, extended shut off timers LED displays and memory for user settings.
Installing Your Range Hood
Before you commence your installation remember to turn off the power at the electrical panel and be sure to inform others not to turn it on till you have finished the installation. The first step is to remove the existing unit, then remove the cover near the light fixture underneath the unit and expose and separate the wires. While holding the range hood in place, start to slowly unscrew it from the fittings. Range hoods can be heavy so you may need someone to hold it in place so that you can do this. Once removed there should be 15 inches of wire coming out of the wall for you to install the new unit to.
With the new unit take off the electrical cover and again expose the wiring. From here you will need to open the vent hole on your new unit depending on where your new unit will be vented. The majority will have two holes to either go through the wall directly or via your cabinets. Pay attention to where you will be mounting the new range hood as the mounts are not likely to be identical so you may need to reinforce your wall or cabinet with wooden strips that can bear the weight of the range hood and ensure the new mounts will not damage the cabinet or wall.
While holding the new range hood in place mark the location of the mounting screws. For some screw types you will need to hold the unit in place while tightening the screws and others will allow you to secure the screws halfway and slide the unit in place before tightening. It’s important to make sure that the opening for the range hood vent lines up with the duct before you finally secure the hood.
Finally locate the harnessing for the cables and thread the wiring through the hoods rear and connect the fan and lighting wires to the wall following the guide in the manual. And then replace the electrical cover. Once finished turn the power back on and test the fan and light and check to see that the air is flowing outside or being recirculated accordingly.
Renovation planning for apartments
Range Hoods are often something that is overlooked when planning a new kitchen installation or renovation. Part of the reason they are not given too much initial consideration is because of their ubiquity in kitchens everywhere. Very few will go to the trouble of showing them off despite the fact that they hold a prominent place in the kitchen and their functionality and practicality is invaluable.
There is a steady increase in the number of people that are moving into apartments especially in larger cities. One of the hallmarks of an apartment building is the communal smells in the foyer and the respective hallways. Murphy’s law seems to state that the bad chefs in the building appear as though they don’t have a range hood at all, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting a decent range hood.
Before you Renovate your Apartment Kitchen
In planning your kitchen renovations apartment dwellers need to take a number of things into consideration. Initially you should seek permission from the building management and the strata for the renovations and in addition provide them with your draft plans so that you will be able to install the correct range hoods for your building type.
Some buildings will only permit Ductless range hoods that recirculate the air back into the kitchen, this is likely due to space considerations as the distance from the kitchen to the outer wall of the apartment may be too far or infringe on another property. This may also apply to some small commercial range hoods e.g. located underground or within a shopping mall. Should this be the case then it is worth considering range hoods with a good activated charcoal filter which will eliminate any odors from re-entering the kitchen.
A major drawback for the Ductless range hoods is that they reintroduce the hot air from the cooking fumes and stove exhaust. The longer you spend cooking the hotter your kitchen will get. Leaving the door or window open for additional ventilation may be a good idea so long as your range hood is effective at trapping the exhaust or filtering out the cooking smells This may be a problem in the warmer months as it may negate some of the effects of your air conditioning and force it to run longer and increasing your energy bill.
All range hood manufacturers will have something that can suit your needs so long as you take into account the regulations of your building and how much maintenance and hood cleaning you are willing to put in. Compare the prices for the different range hoods carefully and be sure to ask for the full installation costs including any minor construction that may be required when talking to your retailer.
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