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What is a Ventless Hood?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2014
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A ventless hood is a hood used in a cooking application that does not require a vent in order to operate and remove impurities caused by cooking. Whenever there is cooking, steam, smoke and fumes are almost always produced at various levels. In order to maintain a good atmosphere in the kitchen, these impurities must be dealt with in an efficient manner. A ventless hood offers one option for control of these fumes.

Ventless range hoods have some advantages over traditional kitchen range hoods. In most cases, a range has a hood with a flue leading up to the roof, where the gas is expelled. This is often why it is easy to smell what a neighbor is cooking when outside. It is expelled then carried by the outside air.

While these traditional types of kitchen range hoods are easily installed when a home is being built, it may be harder to do if kitchen appliances, including the stove, need to be moved to another location. This may be caused by a rearranging of the kitchen or a complete remodeling. Taking these steps may encourage a home owner to consider a ventless hood.

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In order to perform a move of a stove with a normal vented hood, it will also require the moving of the flue, or the running of an entirely new flue at least a portion of the way. This could cause some significant expense, as well as additional time for the project. Therefore, the ventless hood can actually work to save a home owner money.

This hood works by employing the use of a filter, or perhaps a couple of different types of filters. Most of the time, an electrostatic filter will be used for particle collection. These types of filters use air or other gas to produce an electric charge which then attracts particles to it, much like static electricity on clothes can attract products. A charcoal filter is also used to help eliminate odors. Used in conjunction, these two filters can make a ventless hood just as effective, or at least nearly as effective, as vented hood.

The major disadvantage of a ventless hood is the maintenance issue. Unlike most vented hoods, which are virtually maintenance free, there may be a need to do some minor maintenance work on a ventless hood. This has mainly to do with replacing the air filters. Still, this is usually a simple procedure that can be done quickly and does not require any special expertise in most cases.

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Discuss this Article

matthewc23
Post 4

@kentuckycat - We had to get a ventless kitchen hood when we remodeled our house, and we eventually ended up at the same problem where it only worked half-way. Greasy smoke was usually filtered out pretty well, I guess because it is thicker, but smoke and water vapor and such didn't get cleaned very well.

Cleaning and changing the filters is pretty easy on our model. Basically, if you look at the filter, there is a little swivel clip that keeps it in place. You just turn that to the side, and the filter comes right off and exposes the fan blade. Obviously, your model is probably different, but I'm guessing all fans are generally the same.

You could just tell by touching the filter that it was pretty greasy. I just let it soak in the sink with some soap for a couple hours and then rinsed it off and let it dry before putting it back on. It worked great after that.

kentuckycat
Post 3

I knew that a lot of ventless hood ranges existed, but I never knew how the different filters worked. We have the ventless type in our house, and it only works sometimes. It worked well when we first moved it, but maybe the filters are clogged at this point. After reading this, I might go hunt down the manual and see what is involved in cleaning the fan and filters.

Has anyone ever done this before? Are you usually able to clean the filters in the sink or by hand, or do you just have to replace them completely? How much does it cost to get new filters for a fan, and can you buy them anywhere, or do you have to go to somewhere like Lowe's?

jcraig
Post 2

@TreeMan - Besides the house where my parents live, I don't think I have ever lived in a place that had a hood with a vent.

At first I was kind of confused, because, like you, I didn't know that it was possible to have a hood without a vent. I remember the first time I used the fan, it just sucked the air in sent it back out into the room, so I looked into how they worked.

I'm pretty sure that my first fan didn't have all the right filters, because it didn't work very well. If there was any smoke, it didn't remove it. In the other places I've lived, though, the fan has always worked pretty well for smoke. I don't know that I would say it works as well as a normal vented hood would, but it does alright. It's definitely better than not having a fan at all.

TreeMan
Post 1

Very interesting. I never realized that there were different types of hoods that you could have above your stove. I believe that the one I currently have is the type that has a flue leading up to the roof, but I always wondered what would happen if you lived in an apartment or something where everyone obviously couldn't have their own vent leading to the outside.

Out of curiosity, what happens when smoke goes through a ventless exhaust hood? Are the various filters able to control the smoke and remove it from the air, or does smoke have some special characteristic that makes it not break up as easily? I know whenever I sear certain foods I have problems with smoke getting created, and it can set off the smoke alarm sometimes. That is about the only time I ever use my fan.

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