With the increase cost in food, and the push toward healthier lifestyles, many people have opted to cook in their own homes rather than dine out. The popularity of cooking shows on TV has also encouraged everyone to be an “At Home Chef”. These current trends have pushed ventilation to become more important than ever before. The purpose of ventilation is to improve indoor air quality by moving grease, moisture, heat and odors from cooking to the exterior. Every great space needs a focal point and if it were my choice, I believe every kitchen should include a decorative ventilation hood. In the past, there were very few options for ventilation available. Most units were downright ugly, and extremely loud pieces of equipment. Now there are so many attractive options on the market to choose from ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $10K – $15K depending on the size and material. They have become focal points and pieces of art within the home. There are a few things to consider when deciding on the right hood for your space. Hood Mounting, Aesthetics, CFM, Sone Rating, and Venting Options.
What types of hoods are available?
Hoods can be wall mounted, under cabinet or ceiling mounted, depending on the application. The most popular are wall mounted hoods. Wall mounted hoods are generally more expensive, and can come as all-in-one units with the blower pre- installed, or you can have your hood custom made of any material and purchase a compatible hood insert/blower separately.Under cabinet hoods are usually smaller, less expensive, have simpler aesthetics and a lower CFM. They are great for smaller cooking surfaces, and can come in a variety of finishes, including stainless steel and glass. Ceiling mounted hoods are usually reserved for above an island cooking surface. They tend to be slightly more costly than the wall mounted hoods as they are seen from all four sides.
An array of materials and finishes
From timeless old world finishes of copper, stone, stucco and wood to ultra contemporary stainless steel and glass – there is a hood that will add to the ambience of any kitchen.
What is CFM you ask?
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is defined as the measurement of the volume of air that can be moved by a ventilation system per minute. A cooking surface has a rating generated by its manufacture for BTU’s (British Thermal Units- or how much heat power a cooking surface has). Based on that power rating, the manufacturer will recommend how many CFM’s a particular ventilation system should have to give you the maximum benefit of moving the air to the exterior. The more BTU’s a unit produces, the higher amount of CFM’s are needed to efficiently move the air. It sounds like a lot of technical stuff, and it can be, but the most important thing to remember is to check your local building codes for the requirements on maximum CFM’s and makeup air. Your HVAC contractor should be able to provide guidance in this area and local appliance showrooms like Big George’s Home Appliance Mart in Ann Arbor can help coordinate your hood and cooking surface.
How quiet can your hood be?
Hoods are also rated in sones for how quiet or loud they perform. The lower the sone rating, the quieter the unit. Zephyr has launched a feature within select hoods called a “DCBL Suppression System” which offers an affordable option for quieter hoods. To check out the styles and options that they have to offer with this feature, check out their website.
Vented or not, that is the question
Venting a hood to the outside can be coordinated with your HVAC professional. Venting to the outside gives you the best results, but if it is impossible, then a non-ducting option called re-circulating can be added to many hoods. These units contain charcoal filters that clean the air before it is released back into the room. Modern day hoods provide both an aesthetic component as well as a tool to improve indoor air quality within our cooking environments. Whether you are giving your current kitchen a facelift, or are wanting to complete an entire kitchen remodel, seek guidance from your local design professional to help you choose the best hood application for your ventilation needs. For additional decorative hood ideas, visit Meadowlark’s kitchen photo gallery.