How To Replace a Range Hood - Install a Range Hood
How to install a range hood in two easy steps: Step 1. Remove old range hood; Step 2. Install new range hood. Simple, no? "No" would be the operative word here. The step-by-step photo instructions on the side of the box make it look so easy. They do not take into account what you might find lurking under the old hood.
Knowing there might be problems, and being equipped to rectify anything "out of order" you might encounter can be two very different things, though. The power was already there, and seemed to be hooked up correctly. After all, the old hood worked fine. Well, perhaps fine was too strong a word. It didn't remove odors at all well, it seemed to merely transfer them to other parts of the house - for instance, to the downstairs entry directly under the kitchen.
As well, it was original equipment in a house built in the '70s. It was beginning to run unevenly, and protested loudly after prolonged use, such as the length of time it takes to fry an egg! Clearly, it was time to put the old hood out to pasture.
Yes, Virginnia, real women own their own tools
Step 1: Remove the old hood
This shouldn't have been too much of a chore, as it only required a screw-driver - theoretically. We did think it a bit odd that the hood was screwed directly into the cupboards as well, but we just shrugged and removed those screws too.
With one holding the hood in place, and one using the driver, we removed the screws and tried to slide hood out of the clips. It didn't budge a hair.After giving it a fairly healthy pull, we realized that something more than the clips were holding it in place. We grabbed a flashlight and checked underneath - again.
Then, as I tried to tug the hood away from the wall, we could see a line of caulking behind the bottom edge of the hood, securing the range hood to the wall. We were surprised to say the least.
A box cutter made short work of the caulking, which turned out to be an inch thick. As it was above the edge of the hood, we had never really thought much about it. Now that we were doing some upgrades, though, and making some changes anyway, we decided we'd better take a good look at whatever was going on back there.
Once we finally peeled off the caulking and got the hood down, we could see what that small piece of sub-standard workmanship had actually been concealing. It was not a pleasant surprise.
Sleek modern drama - lighted range hood from Futuro Futuro
The original installer (the builder) had left quite a mess. The hood vent hadn't been properly hooked up to the exhaust pipe that was protruding down from the attic, so the fan was exhausting into the wall. Now we knew how cooking smells were being relocated to the downstairs entry.
Well! We had to replace the hood connector as the new range hood wouldn't fit the old coupling. Fortunately, the new hood came with its own connector. All we had to do was remove the old coupling.
When we pulled the old vent connector, though, we received another surprise. We could see that it wasn't connected to anything - it was venting directly into the attic. The pipe was there, running neatly, and to code, up through the attic and through the roof, capped it off with its propeller, complete with flashing and waterproof membrane under the shingles. The coupling, the connection to the range vent, had never been attached to it, though.
That would be a simple matter to fix, which we did. The new connection slid smoothly into the attic pipe, and was clamped together. Now, we could proceed - after we fixed a little wiring problem.
Rather than try to deconstruct the problem and tell you what we faced, I will tell you a little story about Not-Bob, the Builder.
Not-Bob was installing a range hood in a new home, but he was in a bit of a hurry. The electrics guy hadn't run the wires up from the junction box, nor had he drilled channels through the studs for the wires to run through. "No problem," thought Not-Bob, "I'll just tie in here and run the wire up the wall." So, he did.
Not-Bob didn't have his drill handy to make the channels so he could run the wiring through the studs, but he didn't let that stop him. He just brought the wires up from the box (OK, so far), stapled them to the stud (OK, so far), and then ran them across the front of the duct and connected them to the range hood.
That done, Not-Bob couldn't push the range hood connector into the duct without breaking the wires he'd just connected. "No problem," he figgered, "I'll build up a bead of caulking to hold the back of the range hood out from the wall, and I'll screw it into the cupboards on each side to hold it in place. No-one will ever look way back here, and if they do, who'll notice a bead of caulking?"
So, he did.
Once he had finished with the caulking, though, the connector that went up to the attic pipe was too short, and the pipes had come apart. "I've had enough of this range hood," he thought. "I'm not taking it all down again. I'm just going to leave it like this."
So, he did.
We were not impressed
True enough, his patch job went unnoticed for many years, though we did wonder, as we began to take down the old range hood, why anyone would use an inch of caulking to seal the back of the hood, and then screw it into the cupboards...
Needless to say, after the nice electrician came, six days later, and rerouted the wiring through channels in the studs and left lots of slack so we could connect it to the new range hood, we were finally ready to move on to Step 2.
We lifted the new hood into place. It slid neatly into the new connection, and was then taped with the proper metal duct tape. It nestled sweetly into the clips like a mother duck returning to its nest. The wires connected without a hitch and were tucked safely into place. We breathed a sigh of relief. Only eight days after reading the simple instructions and opening the box, our new range hood was in place and working beautifully.
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© 2010, Text by renoelle