Home improvement

How Does a Range Hood Work? A Complete Guide


Range hoods help keep the air clear and reduce grime on surfaces while you cook on the stovetop. Read the guide below to learn what range hoods are, how they work, what parts they have and what type of venting is needed.

What Is a Range Hood?

Range hoods are essential for eliminating smoke, grease, and odors from the air above the cooktop. They function by either venting air through a duct to the exterior of the home or, in ductless models, passing it through multiple filters before reintroducing it into the kitchen. These hoods are commonly installed on either the ceiling or wall.

Are Range Hoods Necessary?

Employing a range hood aids in maintaining clear kitchen air during various cooking activities such as sautéing, frying, boiling, and simmering on the stovetop. It’s crucial to select a range hood that aligns with the heat output of your stovetop. For electric cooktops, most hoods are suitable for the heat output. However, for gas cooktops, it’s essential to ensure that the total BTUs (British Thermal Units) of the burners do not exceed the maximum heat threshold of the hood. Additionally, remember to consult local building codes to ascertain your kitchen venting requirements.

What Are the Benefits of a Range Hood?

From reducing odors to limiting grease build-up, range hoods can help keep your cooking environment clean and smelling fresh. Range hoods may also:

  • Help prevent the air from becoming stifled with heat
  • Complement a contemporary kitchen aesthetic 
  • Offer various speeds to match the output below
  • Include task lighting to increase visibility

How Does a Range Hood Work?

Range hoods utilize a blower mechanism to draw in smoke, moisture, and grease. In ducted models, the air is directed through ductwork in the wall or ceiling to the exterior of the home. Conversely, ductless models pass the air through grease and charcoal filters located inside the range hood, before recirculating it back into the kitchen.

How Does a Downdraft Range Hood Work?

Downdraft range hoods function by drawing air across the cooktop surface instead of upwards, channeling it into a ventilation system installed within the cabinetry behind the cooktop. These hoods typically ascend above the cooktop during operation and retract into the cabinetry to align flush with the surface when cooking is complete. Some ranges feature integrated downdraft hoods built directly into the stovetop surface.

How Does a Convertible Range Hood Work?

Convertible range hoods, such as the 30″ Convertible Under-Cabinet Hood, offer the flexibility to vent air through ductwork to the exterior of the home or pass it through a series of filters for recirculation back into the kitchen. Deciding whether to opt for ducted or ductless installation during setup provides the versatility to position your range and hood in various locations within the kitchen.

What Are the Parts of a Range Hood?

Range hoods commonly consist of five primary components: a hood canopy, duct cover, grease filter, vent system, and control panel. Additionally, most hoods incorporate built-in lights to illuminate the cooktop surface below. Within the hood canopy, which serves as the main body of the range hood, the lights, filter, and control panel are typically housed, while the duct cover encapsulates the vent system.

Do You Vent a Range Hood Through the Wall or the Roof?

Range hoods can be vented either through the wall or the roof, but the layout of your home may influence the preferred installation method. Venting through the wall is generally simpler, but for range hoods above a kitchen island or those situated in front of existing electrical wiring or plumbing, roof venting might be necessary. Consulting with a professional can assist in determining the optimal method and ensuring proper installation.

Professional delivery and installation services are available for various appliance brands. When selecting your delivery and installation options, you’ll be informed about the services available for your appliances and location.

Quality range hoods are equipped with powerful venting capabilities and sturdy construction. Some models incorporate noise reduction technology, including sound insulation, to minimize kitchen noise. Additionally, certain models feature perimetric venting technology, which concentrates hood suction to specific zones on the cooktop for enhanced effectiveness.

Wesley L. Layden

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