What is a Ventilation Hood?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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A ventilation hood is an exhaust system that is used in the kitchen to remove grease and stale air while you are cooking. There are two basic types of exhaust hoods, ventless hoods and vented hoods. Both work effectively, so your decision will most likely be made by the design of your kitchen.

A ventilation hood works by drawing the stale air into the hood. In a vented hood, the air is expelled outside. In a ventless hood, the air is forced through a filtering system and then returned to the kitchen.

Vented hoods are considered slightly more effective at reducing the amount of grease and smells in a kitchen. They are actually shuttling the air out of your home, so this makes sense. For a vented hood to work, however, the kitchen must be on an outside wall of the home. The duct work for a vented hood requires access to the outdoors. The shorter the run from ventilation hood to outside, the more efficiently the hood will work.

A ventless range hood works in situations where your stove is not located on an exterior wall. Without a way to ventilate the air to the outdoors, the kitchen air must be cleaned and recycled. Ventless hoods have a filter that the air passes through before blowing back into the kitchen. The filter can be either disposable or washable, depending on the manufacturer.


Disposable filters come in a variety of styles. The ones that most effectively remove odors are ones that contain charcoal. Washable filters are typically made of aluminum. It is important to follow the directions when washing these to prevent permanent damage.

These ventilation hoods require that the filters are clean to work most effectively. If the filters are disposable, they should be replaced often. Most manufacturers will have a recommended schedule for changing. You may need to change the filters more frequently if you do a great deal of cooking or cook a lot of greasy food.

If your ventilation hood has a washable filter, again cleanliness is important. Clean it according to manufacturer’s recommendation, using the method that they prescribe. Again, if you do a great deal of cooking, deep frying or stir frying, you may find that the filter needs cleaned more often than recommended.


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