The Importance of Kitchen Ventilation

As homes today get larger and larger, we also find that we have much larger kitchens. Many of these giant homes have professional grade kitchen appliances which can have a significant effect on your homes indoor air quality if you do not have proper ventilation. Sure, your home may be filled with comforting cooking smells but it is almost certain that these smells are not healthy. When you cook moisture, gas, grease, and smoke are released into the air and then settle on furniture, cabinets, window sills, and paint. These fumes are destructive to your home furnishings as well as air quality.

Your grandmother’s kitchen is probably drafty enough to supply enough ventilation for the kitchen, but in today’s larger, more tightly sealed homes ventilation can be an issue. Because we now build our homes to be energy efficient it is important that we take the time to install proper kitchen ventilation to keep the indoor air quality at its optimal best. Not only are cooking smells damaging to your home, but the gas range and oven also release carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that is produced by burning gas on your stovetop or in the oven, and it can be fatal if not properly ventilated.

As our homes get larger, kitchens are fast becoming the place to entertain in the home. From Sunday brunch with friends to dinner with the kids, the kitchen is one of the most popular places in the home. Learn about picking out the best ventilation for your kitchen, making sure to get what you need and want, as well as how to control humidity and moisture, and protecting your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Why You Need a Cook Top Hood

With new, larger appliances it is especially important that we ventilate. When cooking with gas, carbon monoxide is released into the air as a byproduct of the flame. Carbon monoxide can cause a variety of problems ranging from headaches, nausea, and even death. Today, there are many ventilation systems designed just for kitchens making it pretty easy to choose something you need, as well as like. Whether you stay with the brand name of the appliances you already have or choose to install designer pieces, they will match seamlessly with your other kitchen appliances and style. Many cook top ranges often have matching hoods and ventilation systems making it easy to match with your existing appliances.

When choosing a cook top hood it should be at least as wide as the range, and cover 50% or more of the front burners. When cooking on the stove top you want to maximize the area where air will be trapped under the hood. Gases, smoke, steam, and grease will rise up in the hot air and should be caught by the range top hood. The more the hood covers the top of the stove, the cleaner your air will be.

How Fans Control Moisture Build Up

Depending on the model that you choose you may have one of two types of ventilation fans. Some of the newer models work on aerodynamics and actually push air out and down around the cook top, and then sucks it up through the middle with another fan. Most cook top hoods use one fan that sucks air up and out through the ventilation. If you do a lot of cooking at home you may want to consider an aerodynamic model. The newer hoods will help cut down on the amount of moisture from cooking which can cause build up on your homes surfaces.

One of the most significant aspects in having good indoor air quality is by controlling the humidity level. Since so much moisture results from cooking it is important to remember to turn on the fan when using the cook top. Your home ventilation system (HVAC) can handle regular levels of humidity with ease, but if you do not have kitchen ventilation you will quickly smell a decline in your indoor air quality. When moisture is allowed to build up it creates dust, grease deposits, rot, and mold that can cause skin and eye irritations, respiratory damage, and other seemingly mysterious illnesses.

The air fan quality is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and the standard minimum is usually around 40 CFM. If you are using professional grade kitchen appliances you should make sure your hood fan is 50 CFM or higher. If you really want to make sure your air stays clean when cooking you should follow the suggestions of the Home Ventilating Institute, which recommends settings above 100 CFM depending on what type of cook top you have. You can reference their website at http://www.hvi.org

What About Noise?

The more powerful your cook top hood is, the louder it will be. But, this is not always true. If you buy high quality products you will find that powerful does not mean louder. Often with cheaper models the fan works great but it is so loud that you never use it. If you don’t use the fan it is basically worthless, so take the time to pick out a quality model hood for your kitchen that you will actually use. Noise can also be reduced by using a sump model that collects air in a large space behind the hood, or by using remote fans at the end of your ductwork, away from the stove top. You could also try a hood fan silencer, but ultimately the remote fan will be the quietest choice for kitchen ventilation.

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