What are the Different Types of Kitchen Ventilation?

Autumn Rivers

Kitchen ventilation typically is recommended for all homes, and many regions of the world now actually require it. Fortunately, there are several types to choose from. They include a ventilation hood, a range hood, and an exhaust fan. While kitchen ventilation is typically included in most homes, homeowners usually can replace the existing product with a different one of their choice.

Range hoods filter out pollutants that cause odor to develop in the kitchen.
Range hoods filter out pollutants that cause odor to develop in the kitchen.

Ventilation of some sort usually is needed in most kitchens to eliminate smoke and humidity caused from cooking. Washing dishes with hot water typically produces steam while cooking creates heat and grease. Gas stove tops pose another problem which is the production of carbon monoxide fumes due to combustion while cooking with gas. Finally, cooking certain foods can create an overwhelming scent, which kitchen ventilation can help eliminate.

Gas stoves require special ventilation, because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gas stoves require special ventilation, because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Kitchen ventilation hoods generally can be broken down into two types. A vented hood pushes the air outside, and must be located on an exterior wall. A ventless hood filters the air, and then returns it to the kitchen. This type can be located against an interior wall and features a filter that can either be cleaned or thrown away when dirty.

A range hood is a fan that is placed above the stove top. When a homeowner turns it on, the ventilation fan within the hood forces air outside as long as it is on an exterior wall. Many range hoods come with lights, and they are often available in different materials and colors so they can match any kitchen's decor.

Range hoods vary not only in style but also in installation. The traditional kind sits above the stove top, but it also can be mounted to the wall. Slide-out systems can be removed easily, and are often hidden under the cabinet above the stove so that only the hood shows rather than the entire vent system.

Most kitchen ventilation products include an exhaust fan to help disperse hot air and grease. There are two main types. A downdraft kitchen exhaust fan is not usually the most effective ventilation products, but it is typically considered easy to install and to clean. Overhead kitchen exhaust fans make up the majority of vent fans, as hot air rises naturally. This type of fan sucks up air and smoke and either sends it outside or filters the air and returns it to the kitchen.

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Discussion Comments


I wish we had a range hood, but since our home was built in the fifties, all it has is a window and a back door! I've been known to open one or the other several times, in order to allow smoke or steam to escape.

At least our kitchen does have a door that can separate it from the rest of the house. This comes in handy when I run the self-cleaning cycle on the oven. The room gets very warm, and of course, when things start burning off, you can get strange smells, along with a little smoke. With a kitchen door, I can close it, open the back door and keep the house from getting too warm, as well as venting the fumes outside.

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