A range hood is a mechanical installation designed to filter air of airborne particles related to cooking. These particles include airborne grease, combustion products, smoke, odors, heat and steam. Range hoods, also called extractor hoods or ventilation hoods, are used in kitchens to provide cooks with clean air, while also preventing greasy buildups from forming on walls and other surfaces.
Types of Range Hoods
Because domestic and commercial kitchens have varying layouts, there are a number of range hood types for different situations and setups. Additionally, range hoods use different operating principles to filter kitchen air, with certain designs more suited to domestic over commercial uses, and vice versa.
A typical range hood maintains a similar position directly above a cooking surface, most often the stove. Range hoods should be wide enough to cover this surface entirely. The hood consists of a skirt positioned over this surface at a height that is comfortable for the average user. The skirt surrounds grease filters backed by a fan that sucks air into the unit. Fans may feature several speed options. Most fans have at least two speed settings, one designed for operation during cooking, and one that is much quieter to be used during meals. Some advanced models have an automatic fan feature that turns the fan on when temperatures get too high. This feature is a signal to the fan that steam or smoke might be present in the air and the fan should be operating. Range hoods can also feature automatic shut-off timer options.
Under-cabinet hoods. A very common type of range hood is an under-cabinet hood, which is installed beneath a cabinet above a stovetop. These hoods generally require piping and tubing to exhaust fumes, smoke and gas outside of the building.
Wall-chimney hoods. These hanging hoods attach to the ceiling or wall and then exhaust air outside. Wall-chimney hoods are generally mounted above stovetops where there are no cabinets.
Island hoods. Similar to wall-chimney hoods, these hoods are installed where there is no cabinet structure. They are attached to the ceiling above island-style stovetops.
Downdraft hoods. These hoods are often used above island-style stovetops, but they exhaust through piping air to the floor, where ducts suck air and filter it through floor piping.
Ductless hoods. These types of hoods are mostly designed to trap grease and oil that enter the air above a stovetop. They do not filter air, but rather direct it back out into the kitchen for dispersal.
Extractor hood design allows for variations in installation, appearance and efficacy, but all hoods feature standard components. An extractor hood maintains a skirt directly above the cooking surface that is at least as wide as that cooking surface. The skirt houses one or more grease filters in front of a fan that sucks air into the unit for ventilation.