Range Hoods – Selection and Cleaning

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    There are three basic types of range hoods available for residential kitchens. Each type has its own advantages and features but whatever model you pick there are three main reasons you should get one.

    The first is Fire Protection– A range hood made out of stainless steel or enameled steel will act as a buffer in case of grease or other fires on your stove. Since most cabinets are made out of wood they can easily catch fire so installing any range hood is a good way to increase the probability that you can catch and stop a small fire without extensive damage.

    The second reason is reducing physical damageto your cabinets due to splatters and moist heat. Water vapor in the form of steam from cooking pasta or soups will quickly delaminate veneer wood cabinets. Grease from fried foods or splatters will stain the underside of your cabinets. So installing a protective metal shield in the form of a range hood is a good way to protect your expensive cabinets from direct damage.

    Third is reducing Odors– Of the three types of range hoods that you can purchase 2 of them have ways to vent cooking odors directly to the outside of the home. This will reduce odors throughout your home and reduce damage to your furniture and household items.

    Sizes All Range Hoods come in standard sizes to match your Stove Top or Range you can expect to see 24″, 30″, 36″, 42″ and custom sizes.

    Hanging Methods Range Hoods can be Under Cabinet, Wall Mount with no cabinet above or they can be free hanging models that are used over a center island stove.

    So, lets take a look at the basic venting methods and types of range hoods you can install in your kitchen.

    The first and least expensive is the unvented hood. This is a range hood that has a fan and maybe a light in it but the air that is moved from the stove top area is redirected back into the room. Manufacturers say that with their carbon filters many odors can be eliminated but over years of experience this is basically not true. Although some odors may be reduced there is no way that a thin carbon filter is going to capture and eliminate the smell of garlic, frying onions or fish.

    For the most part you should purchase this type of hood when you do not have the option of venting your hood to the outside. It has the same look and feel as other hoods and can come with lights and other features but like we said its main purpose is to protect from splatters and act as a fire protection aid.

    This type of hood can be installed in about an hour if you have easy access to electric supply.

    Direct Vented Hoods are the second group of range hoods we will look at. These hoods are basically the same type of hood but they directly vent the dirty air out of the wall behind the hood. Some models can be set up to vent through the wall or circulate air back into the room and venting can be directly behind the hood or it can be extended up through the wall cavity to a remote location. Whichever location the air is vented the fan is located inside the hood.

    Installing this type of range hood is within the do it yourself category. It will require that you cut a hole in the exterior of your home and install a vent cap. Custom vent caps are available to match your homes vinyl siding if you have a different type of exterior you can use a stainless or aluminum vent cap that could be painted to match your home if you like.

    You can expect it to take about a good half day to install this type of hood and prepare the outside vent.

    Remote Fan Vented Hoods  are the final type and are most like their commercial grade counterparts used in restaurants. The hood is basically a shell that protects from fire and spatter but the fan is located remotely and duct work is used to vent the dirty air either out of the wall or through the roof of the building. This type of vent requires custom installation and an electrician to wire up the remote fan. This type of range hood is the most expensive both in parts and install costs but it can be rated to out perform the other types.

    In all three types you will need electric service that is provided from a different location then the stove. Usually there is a close outlet near the stove and a patch wire can be fished. Some models will require hardwiring inside of a closed box in this case you should use a metal box.

    Cleaning and Maintenance

    Since your range hood will accumulate a lot of moist greasy residue it is important to clean it relatively often. A soapy sponge or rag will allow you to clean under the hood and if you find that the grease is caked on pretty good you can use a variety of commercial degreasers. You should not use an abrasive since you can scratch the surface and abrasives do not help as much as a degreasing cleaner.

    The light bulb inside your hood should be replaced when necessary. Check that grease buildup has not entered into the bulb socket. If you need to clean in this area then turn off the circuit breaker before you apply any liquids.

    The Fan Blades and Motor should also be inspected for grease buildup. Over many years of use there will come a time that replacing your hood is a better option then trying to replace the motor or disassembling it and cleaning it. Any degreaser you would apply to the motor would also remove grease needed for bearings. Fan blades on the other hand can be cleaned as often as needed.

    To reduce the need for internal cleaning of your vents or motor and fan it is important to have a grease catcher filter that can be cleaned. Many grease catchers are made of metal parts with two grates that sandwich a steelwool type material between them. This type of filter can be cleaned easily with soap or it can often be placed in your dish washer.

    The YouRepair Store carries a full line of Range Hoods and Replacement Parts from makers like NuTone, Frigidaire and Broan. Please check our store for excelent discounts and free shipping on most orders over $25

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