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Ductless Range Hoods

Updated on November 11, 2020

What Are Ductless Range Hoods?

Ductless range hoods are installed in your kitchen above your stove or range top in order to filter cooking odors and vapors. Since this style of kitchen range hood is ductless, it circulates the air through a filter and back into your kitchen area. Other range hoods that have ducts on them will ventilate the vapors and odors to the outside.

Most modern homes, and even homes that are older or remodeled, use a ductless range hood system. This is due to the cost of having to run ductwork to the outside of the home or structure, plus other construction issues surrounding the additional work to have a ducted system. For most families and cooks in the home, a ductless hood works perfectly!

Since it isn't always practical to install a ducted range hood, a ductless range hood is the perfect option for a kitchen remodeling job or if you are replacing an existing ductless range hood. Installation is usually really easy, with a couple of safety precautions to be taken.

How Do Ductless Range Hoods Work?

Since the ductless range hood has no ductwork installed that would take the odors and vapors from cooking to the outside, they have to rely upon a filtration system to filter the air.  Many ductless hoods have two speeds, low and high.  Sometimes you can find a variable speed fan in a ductless hood, but most just have the 2 settings.

When you turn on the fan of your ductless range hood, it begins to draw the air up from the rangetop and will usually pass it through a filter that is on the underside of the hood itself.  This filter can be a generic one that came with the hood system, or you can also buy specialized filters that can be washed and reused.

Once the air passes through the filter, it then exits the hood system at the top.  This is usually the air that you can feel on your face when the vent fan is on. 

Ductless hood systems work well with capturing the vapors that are generated by cooking, such as grease or oils, however they don't do so well with the odors.  Unless you have a specialized filter installed to eliminate the odors, usually you will still smell what you have been cooking.

How do you clean your ductless range hood filter?

You can often find many ways and methods to clean your ductless range hood filter when searching online, however, this is the best way that I have found to clean reusable filters.

The reusable filters are usually the metal looking style filters.

You will want to use warm/hot water and some dish detergent in a sink. Remove your filter/s from your hood system. You may have one or two depending on the make/model/size of the hood.

Once you remove the filter/s, you will want to let them soak for a few minutes in the soapy solution. This will help to break down the grease and dirt buildup from the filters that have accumulated over time.

Using a soft scrub brush, lightly scrub your filters on both sides. Once they look clean, then you will want to rinse them with clean water and then let them air dry for several hours.

If your filters are not washable, then you will need to order replaceable filters.

How to Wash Your Range Hood Filter

How to Clean a Range Hood Filter

How Do You Replace a Ductless Range Hood?

One of the first and most important safety factors that you can do is to make sure that the electric going to the old range hood is turned off.  The electricity going to the hood system is standard household current and it can hurt or kill you if you touch it during the removal or installation process.

Note:  this is not meant to be an all inclusive guide on how to install a range hood.  please follow the instructions that come with your new ductless range hood on how to install is, or pay for a qualified contractor to install it.

Often times the first thing you need to do is to measure your old hood.  You can then purchase a new one that will fit widthwise into the same space.  This is the most crucial step to insure proper fit of a ductless range hood.

You will then want to ensure that the electricity is off (see note above) before removing the light bulb or other accessories that are installed in order for you to gain access to the mounting screws.

Once you have found and accessed the mounting screws, you will then want to make sure that you can safely remove the old hood system and disconnect the electric wires that are attached to it.  Once again, be sure that the electric is off!

Once you have the old electric disconnected, you can then reconnect it to the new hood.  Remount the new hood in place and install the accessories (filter, light, etc.) that came with it.

The removal and installation is a rather simple process, however you can get hurt.  Just keep safety in mind and follow all instructions as they relate to tools required and recommended steps in the manufacturers directions.

How to Replace Your Ductless Range Hood

Problems with Ductless Range Hood Systems

So, with so many potential good things with ductless range hoods, what are some potential downsides and problems?

One of the bigger concerns is that the hood system doesn't remove the air from the kitchen area, it just circulates it. Is this a big concern? Potentially, it could cause issues due to it just not truly cleaning the air. It only circulates it. Even though it does remove some of the particulates and odors, it isn't the same as a ducted system.

Another concern many people have noticed is the noise from the blower motor. In some of the more inexpensive models, the motors can be noticeably louder.


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