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Thread: Kitchen exhaust fan question

  1. #1
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Kitchen exhaust fan question

    I'm hoping we will finally tackle our kitchen this year, so we're trying to figure out the details for this quirky space. We've never had any type of exhaust fan or vent over our stove, and that is something we would like for the future. There will not be a cabinet over our stove, so the under-the-cabinet or below the microwave fans won't work - or will they? Could one be attached to the ceiling?
    It seems like these guys are the most commonly offered for free-standing ranges:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073XN1XHV...v_ov_lig_dp_it
    Our ceiling is only 8 feet high though, and I think this might be too long/high for the space. I want there to be enough clearance between the range and the hood. I'm also not sure we want to be this trendy and our appliances are white, so a big-ass stainless hood might look odd.
    I was wondering about a bathroom-type fan, because that is what I would really like, no huge hunk of stainless thing, just the functionality of the exhaust fan itself. These all seem to be described as bathroom fans though, so I wonder if they would work in a kitchen, because it is my understanding that kitchen fans have special filters for grease, etc. that a bathroom fan would not have.
    I would welcome any ideas or suggestions.

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    Hoods have to be cleaned periodically to remove the grease. There are companies that do this for restaurants. My parents have a recessed bathroom style fan in their kitchen they have never cleaned in 30+ years that still works. So simpler may be better. I don't have one but it too is on my wish list should I ever redo my kitchen, despite the fact that the exhaust fan pipe for the bathroom kept getting loose and my son had to crawl in to the attic to fix it. Finally he secured it using hardening foam.

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    Standard installation height of a range hood is 30" above the cooktop. This is definitely not flush with your ceiling, even if ceiling height is 8 '.

    Since you have never had one before, I need to ask how you will exhaust the fumes. Typically this is done through the roof. Can you and DH handle this, or will you have a contractor?

    The hood you've selected is lovely. It does "suggest" that other fixtures in the room be stainless. I know we don't have to be completely matchy-matchy, but it's just a thought that you might not want nickel faucets, for instance. Just consider the overall scheme.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yeah, the venting is the big issue. We updated our kitchen 3 years ago. It was a pretty minimal job for bringing a kitchen into the 21st century--we paid about $12k--even though we were dealing with an original 1974 kitchen. We really wanted a real kitchen fan, but our stove was on in interior wall with bedrooms above us, and we would have had to have duct work done, so we just got an above-the-range microwave with the fan underneath. It's not ideal, but it's OK. At least the filters are easy enough to remove and clean or replace. But if you aren't having any cabinets above the stove, I don't think the microwave thing will work.

    Here's an article from Lowe's that's kind of helpful in explaining options.
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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Yppej: Sounds like your parents might have the right idea!
    Lmerullo: It looks like we could get a white one, but the ductwork/venting question is more complex than I would have expected.
    Thanks for the link, Catherine. We have the same scenario of an inside wall and bedrooms above.
    Broan makes a kitchen wall fan that can only be installed on an outside wall. They also make a kitchen ceiling fan, but specs say duct needs to go up 2 feet before you can have an elbow, which wouldn't work. I'm guessing some of these venting issues would be the same for the big fancy hoods, which I don't really even want anyway.
    I also know Broan products are crap, but there aren't a lot of alternatives that I'm seeing (for kitchen fans without hoods).
    There is an outside wall 5 feet away from where the stove will be. Maybe we could put the direct vent wall fan there, and it would be somewhat helpful if not perfect? We've been living with nothing for 33 years, so a fan in the general vicinity of the stove would be better than what we have now. The "no frying hamburgers or other stinky smoky foods on the stove top in the winter" ban would remain in effect.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Some thoughts:
    - Growing up, one of the houses we lived in had one of those through-the-wall exhaust fans by the stove. I do not recall the kitchen being encrusted with grease though I'm sure the fan blades got greasy. I have seen similar fans in houses I've looked at buying over the years. They exist; related to the bathroom fans and probably with just as much filtering power.
    - That kind of fan exhausts straight through the wall. Pluses: no ducting run to speak of; shortest trip for the moisture and grease you want out of the house. Minuses: maybe not the most elegant look; no insulation from cold outside and almost none from drafts.
    - The more traditional exhaust fan (like the $40 Broan/NuTone at your local big-box home-improvement store) can duct straight out the back of the fan; no need for vertical ductwork. We have one of those. Not all models of that type do it, but it wasn't hard to find ours. I don't know if that's possible with the kind of vent rosa linked to; my guess is that it's not.
    - Is there any interest in replacing cabinetry above the stove with a shelf that might hold a microwave and be the mounting surface for a "traditional" exhaust fan?
    - Broan does, indeed, make a lot of crappy exhaust fans. But if you spend a couple hundred dollars you'll get a much better built model that does not wheeze or sound distressed every time you use it and will go for a few years, maybe without ever sounding like that.
    - Our fan is a VanEE (same company that makes heat exchangers). It has squirrel-cage fans and filters you can wash in the dishwasher. It's also the only stainless-steel appliance in the kitchen (the rest are white). I bought it as a dealer closeout/discontinued because it had the features I wanted and moved a ton of air for not much money. Because it's a smaller appliance (and maybe because it's the only stainless-steel appliance) it does not stand out unreasonably. It's going on 15 years now and the only criticism I have is that the membrane switches are starting to wear through from use (they function but they don't look good).
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  7. #7
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Steve: The fan you grew up with is my dream fan. This is the current version, but I don't think I've given enough thought to the cold/draft issue and we do also live in a cold climate. At least it would be on a south wall. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Broan-18...-509/100662371
    We don't want a microwave and there isn't any planned cabinetry above the stove. Just the stove, and then the ceiling above.
    We might end up doing a basic crappy little exhaust fan like we have in our bathroom and replacing it every several years (just like we do with the bathroom fan). We would certainly be willing to spend a bit more for a higher quality version.

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    We have lived without a kitchen exhaust fan since 1988- We do have a whole house fan and Rosa's rule of not cooking greasy food in the winter is our rule as well. We haven't had any problems and I never felt the old one through the wall which we covered in 88 did much good.

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    Some of those cabinets above range hoods are fake cabinets, designed to hide less pretty piping then the hood in the original post. There are also non vented hoods and microwave hood combo's. (they start about $40 in your home depot link and go up from there) They are fans that are similar to bathroom fans (the motors might be different, due to temperature range and grease), with a washable metal filter, like old furnace filters.
    I have a machinist friend who bought one of those inexpensive ones, and used its guts, to build a copper, waterfall vented enclosure that would have been more time period correct to his house.
    Range hoods will not get the grease that a commercial kitchen will get. Your not at the stove all day every day, cooking the exact same things, where the same greases go up, without any steaming or cooling between.
    My parents house they bought a few years ago now, has a Jenn air (spelling?) stove, with internal venting. Since your coming from a non vented location, you could get used to cleaning the filter more often, rather then dealing with the piping if that is too much for you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nswef View Post
    We do have a whole house fan and Rosa's rule of not cooking greasy food in the winter is our rule as well.
    Wow, that rule would NEVER fly in my house. DH believes that if it's not fried in a ton of animal fat or oil, it's not worth eating.
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