This sucks! Kitchen Ventilation

My new range is a 36″ beast with four high power burners and an indoor grill.  To get the most out of this range without setting off the smoke alarms required careful planning around how I’m going to vent.  Making this harder is that I’m putting the range on an island.  This means I lose the advantage of having a back wall to keep the smoke from drifting too far.

On top of this, I really don’t like range hoods, I’m not sure anybody does.  They’re very noisy, they tend not to work (how many times have you triggered your smoke alarm when cooking?), and they block the view and interrupt the openness of my new kitchen/dining area.

This leads to a collection of design goals that feel like they’re at odds with each other:

  1. Quiet
  2. Powerful
  3. Effective
  4. Aesthetic
Quiet
To get quietness, I moved the blower to the outside of the house.  Now, I won’t have to deal with the sound of the motor inside the house.  Unfortunately, the motor only accounts for some of the noise.  The air movement is also a noise generator.  I have a couple of options there.  I can move less air, which contradicts goals three and four, or I can quiet the air movement.  
The Abakka external blower
Plan  B sounds better, to quiet the sound of the air movement, I’m doing to things: Using a big duct and adding a silencer.  My new hood will have a 10″ round duct, a standard home range usually has a 6″ duct.  I’m going from 25 square inches of space to 78 square inches, a 2.7x increase in space.  I’m also adding a Fantech silencer.  The silencer is a muffler that also further reduces the sound the air makes as it travels.
Ignore everything but the “LD Silencer”

Powerful:
This one is easy, because I moved the blower to the outside of the house, I can install the most powerful one I can find.  In this case, that’s a 1400 CFM (cubic feet per minute) blower.  This blower has the power to clear all of the air from my house every 18.3 minutes.  To put this in perspective, the standard microwave hood is closer to 200 CFM.  The downside to a 1400 CFM motor is that building code requires me to add Make-Up Air (MUA) to my kitchen.  MUA is a mechanism for replacing the air that is removed from the kitchen by the vent.  I’ll write about this in detail once I’ve finalized on a solution.

Effective:
All of that air sucking wouldn’t do me any good if it didn’t actually capture the effluent coming off of the stove.  To make that easier, I’m over-sizing my capture area.  Think of the capture area as the overhang of the hood.  If smoke gets into the capture area, then the blower can suck it out of the house.  My range is 36″ wide by 24″ deep.  My range hood is 42″ wide by 30″ deep, an extra 3″ on each side.  This, combined with the powerful blower should provide an effective air removal system.

To further enhance the effectiveness, I want a hood that uses baffles instead of a mesh filter.  The filter is responsible for keeping the grease from clogging up the ventilation duct.  The two types of common filters are baffles and a mesh.  Mesh filters are usually made out of steel or aluminum and work by forcing the effluent to go through small holes in the mesh, the grease gets trapped in the metal.  Baffles work by forcing the air to turn and bend around the metal, when the air bends it accelerates and the grease spins off.  Both types of filters are cleaned in the dishwasher, but over time the mesh filters lose their effectiveness because they can’t be cleaned as thoroughly (certainly not as easily).

Aesthetic:
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have a hood at all.  I think they’re generally ugly and putting one on my island means I am interrupting the openness of my living space.  I can’t get away from the fact that I’m going to have a large hood, it will have a 10″ wide duct and will be 42″ wide at it’s widest point.  Instead, I went with a hood that tries to be as simple and smooth lined as possible.
In the end, I chose the Modernaire PSI-16
The PSI-16 is custom built when ordered in California by Modernaire.  It meets all of my requirements and has a small horizontal profile so hopefully it won’t be too overbearing.  It also has some other features I really like.  The lights and the blower are on infinite knobs so you can very their settings precisely.  With a 1400 CFM blower, I want a lot of control so I only suck as much as I have to.

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