Range hoods are powerful additions to any kitchen—and a necessary one at that. Range hoods sit above your stove top and remove steam, smoke, oil, and fumes from your kitchen. These elements naturally occur when you’re cooking, and without a range hood, these oils could accumulate and damage the property, smoke could spread throughout the house, and your home temperature could increase.
While many people don’t put much thought into the range hood, it’s clear that this is an integral tool that keeps the kitchen running efficiently. If you plan on installing a new range hood any time soon, there are several factors to keep in mind. Searching for the best range hood can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. That’s what this guide is for. Here’s what you need to know:
Different Types of Range Hoods
Range hoods come in all types of sizes, shapes, and designs. Different range hoods will work and look differently depending on your kitchen design and layout, so it’s important to pick a range hood that’s both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The five main types of range hoods are under cabinet range hoods (installed under existing cabinets), wall mounted, downdraft range hoods (hidden behind the stovetop), island range hoods, and inserts, also called liners (mounted to pre-existing range hoods).
Understanding Range Hood Size
You’ll notice that range hoods come in all types of sizes, and choosing the right size is one of the first important decisions you’ll have to make. Wall mounted hoods should be equal to or slightly larger than your stovetop. If your range hood is bigger than your stovetop, it should extend equally on both sides. For example, a 36-inch stovetop might have a 42-inch range hood, with three extra inches protruding longer than each side of the stove.
On the other hand, island mounted range hoods are typically larger than stove tops because they need to account for the extra breeze that flows throughout the kitchen space. Generally speaking, they should be between 3-6 inches longer on each side of the island stovetop.
Gas Stovetops vs. Electric Stovetops
Range hoods are necessary for both gas stovetops and electric stovetops, but the type of range hood you’ll need differs. Gas stovetops emit more heat than electric stovetops, which means gas stove tops need a fan with a higher level CFM (the power of the airflow movement in cubic feet per minute). The bigger your stove is, the higher CFM the range hood should have. As a general rule of thumb, electric and induction stovetops should have 100 CFM for every 10 inches of stovetop.
Gas stove tops are a little more complex because the amount of CFM required depends on your stove’s British Thermal Unit (BTU). A BTU is the measure of the power and heat output in gas stovetops. One BTU is equivalent to the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of boiling water by one degree.
In most cases, your gas burners are measured in BTU per hour, and you can find your stovetop’s BTU number on the back of the stove, or by researching the make and model. You can determine the type of CFM your range hood will need to have by dividing your BTU by 100. However, you should also consider your lifestyle factors when it comes to consider the type of power necessary. If you fry foods often, for example, you might need a powerful range hood to help catch high levels of excess oil.
Importance of Professional Installation
As previously mentioned, range hoods play a vital role in eliminating nasty gases and odors from the air, and a bad installation could hinder a hood’s ability to function properly. A range hood is a complex piece of electrical equipment, and a single mistake could put your home at risk. Measuring must be very specific and wiring routes have to be identified with pinpoint precision.
A professional installation saves you time, money, and acts as a preventative safety measure. Not only is the professional route much safer, but it can also help you make some important decisions. For example, maybe even after all of your research, you’re still not sure about what constitutes the best range hood for your kitchen. A licensed professional will conduct a site assessment to determine the best product for your kitchen layout, while still keeping your personal style and preferences in mind.