Range hoods are an important fixture in the world of kitchen appliances. They serve two basic needs: appearance, and functionality. A good range hood will have style that is eye catching and impressive, but must also do its most basic job description of dispersing heat and odors. Another important purpose of a range hood is to trap grease, preventing it from being deposited all over your kitchen. The problem is that most approach a range hood as though it were a secondary concern, and never take the time to price shop before. If you do, you’ll find that a high-end range hood can cost nearly as much as a good range, but there are less expensive alternatives out there which are very cost-effective, look great, and get the job done. Over-the-range hoods have become as stylish as they are practical. Most now offer the commercial look of stainless steel, and you needn’t pay a pro-style price to get a pro-style hood. While you can spend about
$1,000 for some models, there are several which deliver excellent overall performance for far less money. Many people these days choose to save space and cash with an over-the-range microwave, but if you care about venting smoke and fumes while trapping grease, you’re much better off with a range hood.
It is important to know what to look for in a range hood so that you can get the style, sound, and effectiveness that you require. Range hoods come in a variety of types to fit various applications, as well as satisfying the demands of style. The most commonly found are the under cabinet style, however, wall mount, island, and downdraft hoods may be better for your particular kitchen setup. Under cabinet hoods are basic, and fit under the cabinetry mounted above your stovetop. Wall mount hoods are directly affixed to the wall behind your range, and may have a decorative chimney to line up with the top of your cabinets, or to “disappear” into your ceiling. Island, or ceiling vent hoods are similar to wall mount units, however they hang from the ceiling over an island countertop, allowing for access on all sides. Downdraft hoods work a bit differently though. This style rests on the back of the stove top and pulls air and gases down and out of the room, rather than up. This allows for space saving and a different installation option which might work better depending on storage or design goals and limitations.
Once you’ve decided on which type of ventilation hood works best for your home, there are some other aspects and features to consider and research before making your purchase. For example, some hoods include lighting, which is handy for illuminating a dark stove top, and consists of one or two halogen or incandescent bulbs. For some people, this feature is just as important as the venting, so make sure you find one that gives your stove sufficient light. Heat sensors are also featured on some range hoods, and their function is to speed up the fan and/or sound an alarm to indicate an increase in heat. In case you are the sort to worry about leaving the oven on, automatic shutoff is also a great feature. It can be pre-set to turn off the range hood after a certain amount of time. One of the most important things to consider though are the “Title 24” laws found in the California State Building Code. All new homes and extensive remodels must comply with the rules outlined in Title 24, which relates mainly to energy efficiency. This can be simplified though by purchasing a hood that is ENERGY STAR rated. These models use 70% less energy than the standard models, and are 50% quieter. ENERGY STAR models also boast better performance, and have a longer life expectancy than most other units.
It all comes down to determining what your functional needs and style preferences are, doing the appropriate research, and finding a model that fits your budget, your lifestyle, and your home.