- Home Improvement
Kitchen Exhaust Fans, An Important Appliance
Whether you know it or not, the kitchen exhaust fan is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. A properly working, properly sized exhaust fan is as important to the good cook as the stove and oven itself. Not only do range hoods usually provide the proper light you need to see by when you cook, an exhaust fan is critical for clearing the air of both particulate exhaust from your cooking as well as the invisible aerosol that comes off as smoke and grease from foods being prepared. The exhaust fan keeps the air fresh in the kitchen and prevents smoke and grease from collecting on walls, ceilings, other appliances, and elsewhere.
Choosing a Kitchen Exhaust Fan
Choosing the right kitchen exhaust fan is critical for proper functioning of this important appliance. One of the most common problems people have in choosing an exhaust fan is not to properly size it for the square footage of your kitchen. An exhaust fan that is not powerful enough will allow smoke and grease into the air to coat the walls and cabinets with a sticky, dirty layer. But what is the right power of exhaust fan for your kitchen?
The easiest way to determine the proper power for an exhaust fan is to measure the area of the kitchen floor and multiply that by two. This will give you the necessary cubic feet per minute power rating for your kitchen exhaust fan. For example, if your kitchen floor area is 300 square feet, then you will need an exhaust fan that can handle 600 cubic feet of air per minute. This measure of power is given as a standard on all kitchen exhaust fans sold.
Installing a Kitchen Exhaust Fan
Properly installing an exhaust fan is as important as getting one of the proper power. And exhaust fan that is improperly installed will not work as it should, no matter how powerful it is. An improperly vented fan can even be a serious fire risk.
The duct work of a well installed exhaust fan will lead from the kitchen to the roof of the house. All joints must be well sealed so that none of the exhaust can escape into the walls of the house or into other rooms. When this occurs, grease can build up in these spaces, which is a major fire hazard. Once the exhaust reaches the roof of the home, it passes through a special cap that does not allow rain to get into your home. The size of the ducts is also very important because ducts that are too small will not properly ventilate the kitchen.
Equally critical to proper kitchen exhaust fan functioning is supplying adequate makeup air for the fan. As the exhaust fan sucks air out of the kitchen, new air must be replaced in the room. This new air should come from a makeup air inlet installed as part of the exhaust system. If not enough air comes in through a makeup inlet, then air will seep in through whatever source will allow it. This could be through a chimney, a water heater vent, or a furnace vent. Drawing air from these place can be a very dangerous source of carbon monoxide. This odorless, invisible gas is deadly to your family.
Buying a Kitchen Exhaust Fan
There are two routes you can go in installing a new or replacement exhaust fan. You can buy an exhaust fan from your home building store and install it yourself if you are the handy type, or you can hire a contractor to handle both the buying and installation and take the job off your hands. In either case, the above pointers on selection of a kitchen exhaust fan should be followed.
Your local home building store will likely have a selection of exhaust fans and stove hood units to choose from. Some of the most popular brands of range hood and exhaust fan units are the NuTone models and those made by Broan. Many online retailers carry these product lines as well and can be ordered to be shipped directly to your home.
When taking the option of hiring a contractor to install your exhaust fan you will want to make sure they are experienced in this kind of work. As said above, an improperly installed kitchen fan will not only lead to a dirty, oily kitchen but can also be very dangerous to you and your family. When hiring a contractor, ask around for reliable names in the business and ask the contractor for testimonials from satisfied customers.
In any case, a new kitchen exhaust fan is not only a critical tool for the home cook, it can also be a stylish accessory to your kitchen. Check out the makes of range hoods and exhaust systems to find one that fits your kitchen style and requirements.
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