How To Get Your Range Hood Right

Dated: 09/13/2017

Views: 23

Written by: September 11, 2017

Houzz Editorial Staff. Writing about the cost of renovation and what it takes to remodel. Former Forbes real estate reporter.


Choosing a range hood is an opportunity to create a dramatic focal point in your kitchen — or, if you go for a subtler style, a way to support the overall look of your kitchen. With the potential styles of range hoods — from oversize to barely there — nearly limitless, it’s helpful to know some basics so that you get the range hood right.

First, it’s important to remember that a range hood is a kitchen appliance, with an important job to do. Read on for a summary of what you need to know about power, noise and sizing before you pick a model. And then we’ll look at some fun range hood options to fit a variety of decor styles.

Midcentury Kitchen by Klopf ArchitectureKlopf ArchitectureWhy You May Want a Range Hood

Why do you need a range hood? In short, so that your home doesn’t become permeated by odors and grease from cooking. “That stuff doesn’t just disappear,” says kitchen designer Cindy Aplanalp-Yates ofChairma Design Group, in Houston. “Over time it will be in your fabrics, walls, wallcoverings, art and upholstery.” Although there are definite reasons to have a hood, some local building codes don’t require them, allowing this appliance to be an option rather than a requirement. Check with your local building department to find out what rules apply in your area.

Tip: The best time to choose your range hood is before you start your remodel or new build. Many models will work with standard 6-inch ductwork, but some more powerful models require up to 12-inch ducts. So it’s important to know what you’re getting before your HVAC goes in.

Read more about where your range hood should goContemporary Kitchen by Applegate Tran InteriorsApplegate Tran InteriorsBefore You Pick a Style, Know Your Power 

Range hoods come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as in an array of power levels. Blower fans are measured in terms of the cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air that the fan moves. (This information will be included in the model’s specifications.) Meanwhile, cooktops are measured in terms of how many British thermal units (Btu) of energy they produce.

There are basic rules of thumb to pair the cooktop’s energy production with the hood’s oil- and grease-sucking power. “For every 100 Btu, you need 1 cfm,” says Bradley Faber, showroom manager atFerguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, in Bellevue, Washington. For example, a professional-grade range with 90,000 Btu would require a range hood that has 900 cfm.

These rules are good general guidelines, but your cooktop manufacturer’s specifications will tell you exactly how many cfm your range hood should be able to move. Kitchen designers advise that you should follow those specs precisely.

Tip: If your cooktop includes an indoor grilling component, Kristin Elder, senior director of appliances for Ferguson, recommends choosing a hood with more power than the cooktop manufacturer specifies. That’s because the recommended cfm will reflect the cooktop burners, not the indoor grill. “Indoor grills, like outdoor grills, produce a lot of smoke, grease and char, so it is a good idea to have a ventilation system with a lot of cfm,” Elder says.

Find range hoods and ventsby Westbrook InteriorsWestbrook InteriorsGet Your Size Right

Size matters for range hoods. “A lot of the more professional-grade ranges will tell you that your blower needs to be larger than your cooktop,” says Stephanie Frees ofPlain and Posh, in Clarendon Hills, Illinois. “If you have a 30-inch cooktop, you might need a 36-inch blower. If you have a 36-inch cooktop, you might need a 42-inch blower.”

However, for a standard range, you may not need to oversize. Again, check the manufacturer’s specifications. These will also tell you the ideal distance that you should mount your hood above your cooktop, often between 24 and 34 inches. You’ll want to follow these specifications to get the best performance from your hood.

Note that this story is focused on range hoods that goabovethe cooktop. To read about range hoods you don’t see, check out this story about thedisappearing range hood trend.

Tip: Also keep in mind that your ductwork can affect the power capacity of your hood’s blower. A straight, vertical run is ideal, as longer runs or those with bends decrease the blower’s efficiency. Mediterranean Kitchen by NewStudio ArchitectureNewStudio ArchitectureConsider Your Noise Tolerance

“ Hoods are like dishwashers: Some are quiet, and others are noisy,” says kitchen designer and Houzz contributor Barbra Bright ofBarbra Bright Design, in San Francisco. “Know what you are purchasing!” Those are wise words, because you aren’t likely to use something you can’t tolerate.

Range hood noise levels are measured in sones, a unit of loudness as perceived by a person with normal hearing. Higher-powered hoods tend to have higher sone ratings, though some powerful hoods do have lower sone ratings. This isn’t something you want to be theoretical about; you’ll want test out the noise level at the appliance showroom.

One way to reduce the noise of a powerful blower is by mounting the blower (or fan) itself outside your home, either on the roof or the side, so that it’s not right inside the hood shell. “Typically you’re looking at a 40 percent reduction in noise,” Faber says of this option. This does make installation more complex and costly, so again, you’ll want to plan ahead.

Tip: If you don’t want to have any odors, you should turn your hood before you start cooking, says Jennifer Gilmer ofJennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Read more technical details about hoodsTransitional Kitchen by Sarah C. InteriorsSarah C. InteriorsNow for the Fun Part: Style

One piece or two? There are two main types of range hoods: all-in-one and insert plus shell. Most of the models on the market are the all-in-one kind, composed of the exterior portion of the hood that you see from the kitchen and the blower fan inside. These are great options, particularly when you want a more subtle or timeless range hood look — perhaps a classic stainless steel one, for instance.

Range hood: Classico Poco series with an IQ Blower, Best; find bar and counter stoolsTraditional Kitchen by O'Connors of Drumleck IrelandO'Connors of Drumleck IrelandThe case for two parts. The second option gives you a bit more flexibility: You choose a hood shell and a blower separately so that you get both the look and the power level you want. This option is available only in higher-end hood models.

If you take this route, you might get something like the range hood in this photo: an eye-catching statement piece with the blowing power that you choose. It’s also a great example of one of Bright’s kitchen secrets: “Let it be the focal point on the wall,” she says.

Tip: Keep in mind that if you purchase a hood shell and a blower separately, the sone rating for the blower won’t typically be specified. Manufacturers specify sones for a model only when the blower and hood come together.

Read more about different hood styles|Browse chandeliersFarmhouse Kitchen by Davenport DesignsDavenport DesignsThe Flexibility of Hood Inserts

Here’s an example of the two-part option working well — only in this case, using just one of the two parts. The clients for this Atlanta kitchen originally wanted a metal range hood, but their budget didn’t allow for a metal hood. So designer Lauren Davenport Imber ofDavenport Designshad a wood range hood custom-made and faux-painted to look like metal. The two vertical lines on the hood are stainless steel straps that have been riveted to the frame. Inside the hood is the insert, or blower, that gives this range hood its sucking power.

Read more about this kitchenContemporary Kitchen by Syltebo Wight HomesSyltebo Wight Homes Here’s another example of this concept, in the personal kitchen of Jacob Wightof the design-build firmSyltebo Wight Homes. Here, Wight framed a range hood from two-by-fours and drywall, and coated it with primer stucco — a signature treatment he’s done in a number of homes. The stucco has a texture like Venetian plaster, he says. Inside, it hides aVent-A-Hood insertthat takes care of the blowing.

Read more about this kitchenBeach Style Kitchen by Electric BoweryElectric Bowery “You can build a frame out of one-by-four[s], and you can basically surround that with anything you want,” says Frees, the Plain and Posh designer. You just need to follow the manufacturer’s specifications in terms of distance from the range so that your creative range hood isn’t flammable.

For example, Frees is working with a client who wants to showcase a piece of art in her kitchen, so the plan is to create a wooden box to surround the insert, which will serve as a beautiful backdrop for the art. Frees recently framed out a hood for another client and had it covered in subway tile, just like the rest of the kitchen.

Range Hood Styles for Transitional Kitchens

The hood in the kitchen pictured here (blue base cabinets, open shelving, vintage rug) perfectly aligns with the angle of the wall — and something like this could be created using the technique of hood insert and framed-out surround. This is a good example of a transitional kitchen. (Transitional is a stylethat blends modern and traditional elements for a current look.) A range of styles will work in a transitional kitchen. Beach Style Kitchen by Adams Gerndt Design GroupAdams Gerndt Design Group Lately we’ve noticed more range hoods that look like drywall — or in this case, shiplap — edged with one simple beam. Again, this is done through the magic of framing plus the hood insert, and it can look rustic, as in this shiplap-rough beam combo, or more refined. Farmhouse Kitchen by Sullivan Building & Design GroupSullivan Building & Design Group A more luminescent wood tone brings sophistication to the range hood in this close-up shot. This range hood style shares some characteristics with the previous example. Traditional Kitchen by RAO Design Studio, Inc.RAO Design Studio, Inc. Another option is building a hood surround that mirrors the style of the cabinetry, as in this kitchen. Contemporary Kitchen by 'tamborí arquitectes'tamborí arquitectesRange Hood Styles for Contemporary Kitchens

For a contemporary kitchen, you’ll probably want to consider a range hood that has clean lines — meaning a minimum of embellishment. The stainless steel hood in this blue kitchen is a good example of a clean-lined style. This type of hood is called chimney-style.

Read more about different hood types|Find microwavesModern Family Room by INOVASINOVAS Many materials can work for a range hood in a contemporary kitchen, though you might consider stainless steel or a combination of stainless steel and glass, as in this photo of a white kitchen with an over-the-island hood. Beach Style Kitchen by Alinda Morris Interior Design LLCAlinda Morris Interior Design LLC A variegated metal finish for this clean-lined hood in a contemporary-style kitchen brings warmth to the kitchen. “You can get really creative when it comes to contemporary style,” says Hellen Hsieh ofDesign Loft Co.

Hood: custom in Iron Copper,Neolith; perimeter counter: LapitecTraditional Kitchen by Ribbon & Reed CabinetryRibbon & Reed CabinetryRange Hood Styles for Traditional Kitchens

In a traditional kitchen, a mantel-style range hood works well, as does a decorative wood hood, Gilmer says. “In traditional, a lot of people like to have hoods made out of wood and painted whatever color the kitchen is,” she says. Traditional Kitchen by Laratta Homes LtdLaratta Homes Ltd A plaster hood, or a copper or brass range hood designed to look more aged, could also work for this style. Traditional Kitchen by Beck/Allen CabinetryBeck/Allen CabinetryCost: The price tag for standard all-in-one range hoods can run as low as $40 at a big-box store on up to $8,000 for a high-end professional-grade hood with a blower. “For most consumers shopping for an attractive wall hood to go over a 30-inch cooking surface, they should be able to find a midrange hood in the $800-to-$1,200 price range, depending on their market,” says Elder, the Ferguson national appliance director.

Other considerations: 

  • Cleaning and care. Stainless steel is probably the simplest type of range hood to clean compared with wood, tile or other finishes. Most stainless hoods can be cleaned with a product designed specifically for that metal, whereas other metals like copper and hammered nickel typically come with a protective coating and may tarnish if the metal is exposed. Frees, the Illinois designer, recommends cleaning these metals with a very diluted solution of mild soap and water.

  • “Makeup air.” If your range hood is higher-powered, you’ll want to check with your local building department regarding regulations for what is known as “makeup air.” Depending on your hood’s cfm level, some jurisdictions may require you to install an air circulation system that brings fresh air back into the home.

Eclectic Kitchen by erin williamsonerin williamsonGetting started. To help determine your range hood style, start saving images you like on Houzz in anideabook. Visit appliance stores or showrooms to check out the different range hood models. A kitchen designer can help you come up with the best look for your kitchen’s decor.

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Irene Medina PA CRS GRI CDPE GREEN

IRENE MEDINA "Standing by YOU Every Step of the Way!" A Passion for Education and Sustainable Living Irene's passion for education and sustainable living are what make her stand out from the ....

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