Designed by: Hello Kitchen
For a time, range hoods were persona non grata in the kitchen—but all that changed once homeowners began clamoring for commercial ranges, which needed major hoods in order to efficiently extract smoke, grease and odors from these high-output stoves. Thus, the range hood has once again become a focal point in the kitchen, but venting a commercial range requires considerations beyond just looks. They also have to be able to handle serious cooking—here are 5 things to keep in mind when installing a hood for a commercial range:
1. Beware the downdraft system.
When I started designing kitchens in the mid-‘80s, the hottest new trend in ventilation was downdraft venting. The vent would be placed next to the cooktop, rather than above it, and the duct would go down through the basement and out the exterior wall. Without the need for a hood above the cooktop, it made the location of the cooking area more flexible: It could be placed in an island, against a wall with cabinets above or even under of a window. There's just one problem: Smoke and odors naturally rise up, so trying to pull them down isn't as effective, particularly with a commercial range. For this kind of serious cooking, downdrafts aren't suitable for the high-Btu output of a commercial-style range.
Photo by: Cultivate
2. Size ducts properly.
Traditional hoods used to be rated at 200 to 400 CFM (cubic feet of air removal per minute), but commercial ranges require hoods that can handle 600 to 1,400 CFM. This large movement of air requires a larger duct as well (8-10” round), which, in the early days, was a challenge to install. Contractors often weren't aware of the importance of retaining these large duct sizes and would often downsize them to be able to work the duct through walls and ceilings. The result is like trying to drink a milkshake with a cocktail straw: The air can only move through the duct with a lot of strain and with little result. Contractors still are known to do this, so be aware of how your hood is being installed to make sure that its efficiency is maximized.
Photo: Courtesy of Susan Serra
Designed by: Susan Serra
3. Remember the intake vent.
When high-output ranges are installed in today's super-tight houses, a new problem is how to make up the air that's being removed from the house so as to not create a vacuum in the kitchen. Without an intake vent, you run the risk of creating a backdraft—where air gets sucked through openings like chimneys and water-heater flues—which can cause result in excess carbon monoxide and other dangers. In many locations it’s required by code for the contractor to place an intake vent near the kitchen. Some hoods are building this into their system, and it will probably be the norm before long.
Photo by: Franco Rossi
Designed by: Jo-Ann Capelaci
4. Include a capture area.
Even if the hood you're installing has a very high CFM rate, don't be fooled into thinking that all of the smoke produced will go straight out the vent—especially if you're, say, grilling a steak. In order to help contain the smoke and keep it from leaking into the room, it’s important to have a capture area. This is the recess in the bottom of the hood. The more capture area, the more space the smoke has to linger before the blower can pull it up and out. There are many contemporary hoods with flat bottom filters and no capture area, which makes for a clean appearance, but it's definitely less effective. A recessed bottom with baffle filters is the best way to go. You've probably seen these in commercial kitchen hoods; they're the stainless “bars” that run from front to back and are cupped on top. This area captures the grease that is too heavy to go up with the airflow. The filters can be removed and put into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Photo by: Karyn Millet
Designed by: Warwick Group
5. Expect some noise.
A range hood's motor can be internal (inside the actual unit), external (installed on the outside wall or roof) or inline (inside the duct on a straight run). Any hood, regardless of where the motor is, will be noisy when on high. The motor does create some noise, but most of it is coming from the movement of air. External (when not placed directly out the back wall) and inline motors will be the quietest, but, still noisy. It’s best to turn the blower on at least 15 minutes before cooking in order to give it time to pick up the momentum of air movement.