Monthly Archives: January 2014

How Range Hoods Work Part Two

In How Range Hoods Work Part One, we introduced the varying features of range hoods and covered CFM, sones, speed, size and height. To review, CFM (or cubic feet per minute) describes the power of the range hood and sones describe the noise level. Different range hoods work at different numbers of speed levels and come in different sizes and heights to fit your needs. All of these features vary between models. In this article we will cover chimneys, filter types and lighting.

Chimneys

The chimney in a wall mount range hood or an island range hood serves the purpose of covering up the ductwork and giving the range hood a streamlined look. Additionally, your range hood may need a chimney extension on a wall mount range hood or an island range hood if the range hood’s chimney does not fit your ceiling height. For example, you may purchase a wall mount range hood with a chimney that fits a nine foot ceiling, but your home may have a 10 or 11 foot ceiling. This is a simple compromise.

Chimneys make it possible to hang an island range hood from the ceiling and over the stove top. As a result, the island range hood becomes a major focal point in the kitchen.

Filters

There are three different types of range hood filters, including aluminum, baffle and charcoal. The type of filer used depends on how the range hood ventilates or circulates air in the kitchen. A ductless range hood functions with the use of charcoal filters. These range hoods filter air and re-circulate it back into the kitchen. Alternatively, other range hoods with ductwork use aluminum and baffle filters to filter air outside of the home.

-Aluminum mesh filters are used in range hoods with ductwork. They are easy to clean and most are dishwasher-friendly. Be sure to clean your filters on a regular basis, or they will become clogged with grease, to ensure that your range hood works effectively.

-Baffle filters are used in range hoods with ductwork and need to be cleaned periodically in the dishwasher or the range hood won’t be able to filter air as effectively. Baffle filters trap grease created from cooking.

-Charcoal filters are used in range hoods that are ductless and filter air and re-circulate it back into the cooking space. Unlike aluminum filters and baffle filters, charcoal filters need to be replaced from time to time.

Lighting

Most range hoods come with cooking lighting installed. You simply need to use the right type of light bulb with the light socket. This makes cooking easier because you are able to see the stove top better. Most range hoods use halogen light bulbs that will need to be replaced when they go out, just like any other light.

Range hoods may sound complicated at first, but it’s simply a matter of learning what all the different features and functions do. Range hoods are the reason we are able to use a kitchen that is attached to the rest of the home in modern times. They are an excellent form of ventilation to protect our health and our environment and they come in various forms and styles so you can add some creativity to your kitchen space. Check out RangeHoodsInc.com for more information.

How Range Hoods Work Part One

Range hoods ventilate kitchen air by removing grease, smoke and smells from the kitchen while you are cooking. Otherwise, unwanted particles and gases would remain in the home each time you cook, leading to dangerous levels of indoor air pollution.

The range hood works through the use of a hood, fan, motor, blower, duct work (depending upon the type of range hood), filters and chimney. It is mounted 28 to 30 inches above the stove top for optimal ventilation at the source of the air pollution. There are different types of mounting styles, including under cabinet range hoods, wall mount range hoods, island range hoods and insert/liner range hoods.

Ideally, a range hood ventilates air to the outside of the home through duct work that goes through the wall or the ceiling. This is not always the case due to space restrictions and building types, such as apartments in which duct work cannot be installed. There are ductless range hoods that filter air and re-circulate it back into the kitchen.

Differences in Range Hoods

-Mounting Type

-Speed levels

-Size

-Chimneys

-CFM

-Sones

-Filter Types

-Lights

In addition to mounting type, there are varying features in different models of range hoods and they will determine which range hood you choose to purchase for your kitchen. The features that are best for you will depend upon how much cooking you do and what type of cooking you do.

CFM, or cubic feet per minute, describes how powerful the range hood is; the level of CFM you need is determined by the type of stove top and the type of cooking. For example, if you have a gas stove, you can determine CFM by dividing BTUs by 100. If you have an electric stove, you need 100 CFM for every 10 inches of stove top. If you do a lot of frying and smelly cooking, you will need more CFM.

 

Sones are the measurement for the noise level of an appliance. A quiet refrigerator measures in at one sone. Different range hoods have different levels of noise. The sones give you a good idea of how much noise the range hood will contribute to your home. If you don’t do a lot of cooking, you can get by with a range hood with a low noise level because you don’t need as much power to operate it.

Some range hoods have multiple speed levels they can function at. If you do a lot of cooking, you may need to run the range hood at higher speeds from time to time. On the other hand, if you don’t do a lot of cooking, you may only use the lowest speed setting.

The size of the range hood is determined by the size of the stove top and the mounting style. For example, the width of the range hood should always be the width of the stove top with an additional three inches on each side. For an island range hood, you should have an additional three to six inches on each side of the stove top to ensure that the air from cooking is properly ventilated.

When choosing the height of the range hood, you need to consider the height of the stove top, the height of the ceiling and the height of the people using the range hood. Generally, the bottom of the range hood should sit about 28 to 30 inches above the stove top. If the range hood is installed higher than this, you need more CFM to compensate for the height. If your ceiling is higher than most, you can install a chimney extension with the range hood to hide the duct work.

A well-functioning range hood will make cooking more convenient. There will be less smoke, grease and undesirable smells in your kitchen while you prepare your meals and cooking will be a more enjoyable experience. Also, you won’t be breathing in harmful gases while cooking if you turn on the range hood.

How to Install a Range Hood

First, ensure you measure your kitchen for the installation of your new range hood. You do not want to order the wrong size and slow down your remodel or upgrade. You want to make sure that everything will work together and harmonize and avoid mix-ups and having to reorder. Also, you may need to fit the range hood between two cabinets and will have to buy the right size for this.

Note, you should follow the installation manual that came with your specific range hood. The following article includes general instructions and an overview of range hood installation. Each kitchen hood from different manufacturers may be different and require different steps.

Additionally, before you start drilling holes in your walls, it is important to be aware of the existing electrical wiring and gas lines in your personal kitchen. These are most likely already present, and you do not want to drill or make a cut through a gas line or electrical wiring for your kitchen and have to replace them.

If you are replacing an older range hood, remove it first. Don’t forget to disconnect the wiring. If you are replacing an older hood, you may be able to reuse the previous wiring. The first step in installation of a range hood is to install the vent. Some hoods vent air through the wall and some vent air from a cabinet. You can temporarily mount your hood with small screws so you can mark the space you need to cut out for the vent. You will also cut a hole for the wiring.

Take down the temporarily mounted range hood. If you are sure that nothing is blocking you from cutting through the wall to the outside, drill holes to create guidelines. Make your cuts with a handsaw for cutting drywall, and you will have a hole for the vent and a hole for the wiring. Place the duct through the hole. You may need to seal it using caulk.

Turn off the electricity before installing electrical wiring. You can now mount the new range hood with the help of one other person. Depending upon the model, you may need mounting brackets and drywall anchors. One person can hold the range hood on the wall while the other person places the screws and/or other mounting hardware. Install the light bulbs and range hood filters.

You are ready to test out your new range hood after double checking nothing is blocking the vent. Turn the electricity back on and test the hood. Turn on the fan and the lights to see how they work.

Have fun cooking with your new range hood. Remember that the range hood is essential to the proper ventilation of the kitchen, which is important in reducing indoor air pollution. You don’t want nasty smells, grease or smoke invading your home and damaging the interior of your kitchen. You can now cook easier and breathe easier in your home with a working range hood.

Cooking Basics Part Two: Herbs & Spices

If you enjoyed Cooking Basics Part One, then you’ve come to the right place. Cooking Basics Part Two focuses on the using herbs and spices, something an experienced cook can do without using measuring spoons. That level of experience comes with time and practice. There’s a wide range of combinations you can create with different spices and herbs to create unique tastes and to make your dishes at home exciting. The first step is to learn what the different spices do and what kind of dishes they are most commonly used in.

Different types of cooking may use different combinations of herbs and spices for the same dishes. Start slow by following a few simple recipes. You can use dry or fresh herbs, although the dry versions are not as strong. Use a dry spoon to measure dry ingredients and you can try crushing dry herbs to release flavor. Before you start cooking, turn on your range hood to control odors and smoke.

The following is a small list of common spices and herbs used in cooking. We highly recommend that you search for a glossary of cooking spices for a complete list.

Bay leaves – These plant leaves are commonly used in soups, stews, beans, stocks, sauces and Spanish dishes. Be sure to remove the bay leaf after cooking and before serving.

Basil – Basil flavors pesto, pasta sauces, pizza, potatoes and plays a big role in bruschetta. It is related to mint.

Cumin – Adds spice to soups, beans, meant, chili, fajitas or taco seasoning with cumin. Cumin is related to carrots.

Crushed red pepper – This goes great in Mexican dishes and will spice up just about anything. You can sprinkle it on tacos, into pasta sauce or on your eggs in the morning.

Oregano – Popular in Greek, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, oregano is popular in pasta and is included in Italian Seasoning mixes. It also goes well in stews and beans.

Thyme – Thyme adds aroma and taste to chicken dishes, stocks, sauces, meat and seafood.

As mentioned above, remember to turn on the kitchen range hood while you’re cooking, or the whole kitchen can smell without the range hood filtering the air. You want your food to taste good, but you don’t want your whole house to smell like it for a long time. Turning on the range hood while cooking is also essential to decreasing levels of indoor air pollution in the home; the range hood will ventilate smoke and grease that you don’t want in your lungs.

Herbs and spices can be used to create marinades, seasonings and more. No kitchen is complete without them. Stock your kitchen with a set of basic spices and herbs to get you started. You will always want to have plenty of salt and pepper on hand as well. Once you develop your cooking skills you’ll realize just how delicious cooking at home can be, and soon, you’ll prefer leftovers to take out. Comment and let us know what you’re cooking up in the kitchen.

Indoor Air Pollutants

In the 21st century, air pollution is a large concern. Usually this concern focuses on pollutants in the outdoors. Motor vehicles, factories, forest fires, power plants and more contribute to dangerous levels of outdoor air pollution. Another type of air pollution we should be concerned about is the air pollution within our homes, known as indoor air pollution, which is mostly created in the kitchen and can be decreased with the use of a range hood.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that four million deaths each year are associated with indoor air pollution. (Meanwhile, it is estimated that outdoor air pollution is associated with the loss of two million lives around the world each year.) This is especially common in developing areas, in which people burn fuel, like coal and wood, to cook their food. WHO estimates that indoor air pollution contributes to more human deaths than deaths caused by malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis put together.

Smoke from cooking on a stove is the number one producer of indoor air pollution in a home. Cooking on a stove, either an electrical stove or gas stove, releases smoke, smells and grease into the home. The best method of reducing smoke from the range is to install a kitchen range hood. The kitchen range hood can ventilate smoke, grease and odors produced from cooking food with electricity, gas or the burning of fuels. WHO also recommends a chimney and windows to reduce indoor air pollution.

Indoor air pollutants include the dangerous gases carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, radon, dust, mold and more. Mold can cause allergies, trigger asthma, irritate the lungs and cause a runny nose; it occurs because of moisture, such as from a leaky pipe. Secondhand smoke, space heaters, cleaning products and furnaces are a few examples of other contributors to indoor air pollution in homes.

Why is indoor air pollution dangerous? It contributes to disease, can trigger asthma and can cause respiratory infection, especially in children under the age of five. Other symptoms that may occur due to indoor air pollution include headache, fatigue, irritated nose, eyes and throat and dizziness. Women and children are the most commonly at risk of disease from indoor air pollution because they typically spend more time near the stovetop.

Oftentimes, indoor air pollution isn’t properly ventilated outside of the home because we make an effort to keep our homes airtight to keep in heat or to keep outdoor air pollution out. That’s why, unless you want to open a window each time you cook a meal, you should install a range hood in your kitchen. There are types of range hoods that re-circulate filtered air back into the kitchen, and there are options including range hoods that ventilate the air outside of the home through ductwork.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the proper resources to install a range hood in their kitchen. If you do, you should do so for the health of yourself and your family and to reduce indoor air pollution across the world. Range hoods are available in different sizes and styles to fit your personal needs.

Cooking Basics Part 1: Getting Started

Unless you eat out every single day or purchase readymade foods, cooking is a daily part of life. Perhaps you just finished a kitchen remodel, installed a new range and range hood, bought new cookware and upgraded your sink. The great news is you’re ready to start cooking! Cooking can be a rewarding activity that will engage your creativity and your taste buds.

If you’ve ever flipped through a recipe book or browsed the cooking section at a book store, you know there are countless recipes out there. If you’re new to cooking, the best thing is to start out with something simple and easy. Here are some cooking tips for the beginners out there or a refresher for those more familiar with cooking:

  1. It will make things easier if you plan out the meals for the entire week. You can find a meal plan schedule and shopping guide online. This will ensure that you have all the ingredients on hand before you start cooking and help you stay within budget. You can find a meal plan that accounts for the number of people in the home and any special dietary concerns, such as sensitivities to dairy.
  2. Before you start working with any recipe, read the recipe in its entirety. You don’t want to get halfway through the recipe and realize you didn’t measure something out correctly or you don’t have all of the ingredients.
  3. Prepare everything before you begin. Measure out all of the ingredients and have them ready to throw in the pan or in the pot.
  4. Clean while you go. You will be much more likely to keep cooking if you take the time to clean the kitchen as much as you can while you’re cooking.
  5. Always be safe while you’re cooking. Turn on the range hood so it will vent out unwanted odors, grease, smoke and gases. Have a fire extinguisher nearby, and make sure everyone understands fire safety precautions in the kitchen. For example, know what to do in the case of a grease fire or how to safely stop a fire on the range. If a fire starts, call emergency services and evacuate the home.
  6. Invest in a set of herbs and spices. You won’t regret it. Soon, you’ll notice that with the right herbs and spices you can make anything taste delicious. You’ll probably eat out less because you’ll realize you can create the same dishes at home for a better price and in healthier ways. Remember, you can use dry or fresh herbs for cooking.
  7. It can’t hurt to keep some basics in stock. For example, salt, pepper, lemon, garlic, olive oil and butter are simple ingredients that are necessary in many recipes.

Cooking can be very rewarding, especially when you are able to pack up leftovers for lunch the next day and you learn enough to make good use of whatever you have in your fridge or pantry. Cooking skills are essential to becoming more sustainable and leading a healthier lifestyle.

Kitchen Styles & Range Hood Styles

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house, reserved for cooking the food that nourishes our bodies and socializing with the family and friends. We get a lot of work done in this room so it makes sense that we want the space to be aesthetically pleasing and fit our tastes. The kitchen design you go with will also determine the range hood style you need.

The kitchen design style you choose may depend upon your personal taste, the current state of your kitchen and how much you cook. For example, if you cook on a regular basis, you may need a kitchen design with surfaces that are made for heavy duty cooking. How much you cook will also determine how much power you will need from you range hood and will affect which model you choose.

Common kitchen design styles include Art Deco, Eclectic, Victorian, French Colonial, Contemporary, Craftsman, Mediterranean and more. This article goes over three common kitchen styles.

Cottage – A cottage style kitchen echoes the countryside and farms. This is a more traditional look that uses white and light colors, older materials and floral patterns.

Modern – Modern kitchens show off darker colors, metal surfaces and appliances and décor that create straight lines. These kitchens have much more metal, sometimes even metal cabinets and are typically more simplistic and industrial looking.

Tuscan – The Tuscan style resembles Italian themes. Think of the kitchen in a rustic home or winery. The styles included in a Tuscan kitchen can include old world décor and natural stone and metalwork that look aged.

A mixture of modern and traditional kitchen styles is known as a transitional kitchen. Older styles are typically more romantic and make use of more elaborate cabinetry; more modern styles echo simplicity and darker colors.

Your kitchen’s style will definitely influence the range hood you choose. The style of the kitchen will also influence the apron, or exterior, you create or purchase if you are covering the range hood. Additionally, when choosing a range hood, always consider size, measurements and how the range hood will fit in the space available to you.

Of course, the type of range hood you choose will also depend on the location of your range and whether or not it is located against a wall or on your island. If the range hood is located above the island, keep in mind that it will be much more visible to people in the kitchen and it will be visible from every angle. This may make the look of the range hood more critical. If you purchase a wall mount range hood, you will also want the decoration on your backsplash to match the overall design of the room.

Some range hoods are more contemporary and modern looking, while others are more traditional. More contemporary models also include tempered glass canopies. More traditional range hoods look like an actual hood, or pyramid shape, while more contemporary range hoods look like a flat rectangular shape attached to a chimney. The second type can also double as a shelf.

There are endless possibilities out there for kitchen décor and design. The only bad news is, you only have one kitchen to use it all on. Whatever you choose can be great; just be sure to make sure the entire kitchen harmonizes.

Backsplash Ideas for under the Range Hood

If you’re at the point where you’re thinking about designs for the backsplash underneath the new range hood in your kitchen, then you’ve probably already figured out which range hood you are going to purchase and how it will fit in with the rest of your kitchen. The backsplash is one of the best opportunities in a kitchen design or remodel to exercise your creativity. The backsplash is a great space to create personalized accents and think of a design that will pop and compliment the rest of the kitchen.

There are literally endless possibilities for decorating a kitchen backsplash. Generally, the backsplash is covered in tile, glass or wood. You can save money by taking on a do-it-yourself project and tiling the backsplash yourself. There are numerous elements in play while designing your backsplash. You’re considering color, materials and how you want to place those materials. With tile, there are various common patterns that are used, including checkerboard, herring bone, neat columns or brickwork.

When working with tile, you have an amazing array of choices at your disposal. You can work with ceramic, glass, recycled glass, marble, stainless steel, copper tile and more. Recycled glass really creates a unique, one-of-a-kind look and the way light hits glass tile is eye-catching. Even affordable tile can be laid out in an interesting design to create a one-of-a-kind look. The idea is to choose colors that compliment or match the rest of the kitchen décor and make the backsplash an accent that pops out. A mixture of different materials will often create the most outstanding pieces.

Really individual and impressive backsplashes can be created with the use of tile mosaics or murals painted on tile. Alternatively, you can go for a much more simplistic and minimalistic look and attach a single sheet of glass, wood, stone or marble to the backsplash. Common stones used on backsplashes include limestone and sandstone. If you want to be really unique and do something that brings the whole room together, hang a piece of stone on the backsplash that matches your countertops. For a funky and creative choice, you can paint the backsplash (and various kitchen walls) with chalkboard paint. The wall is now a canvas for recipes, notes and family drawings.

Other features that will personalize and make a backsplash more useful include built-in shelves and water faucets. You can build your own shelves below or adjacent to the range hood on the backsplash. These shelves are convenient for holding spices, cook books, pots, flowers, decorative plates and dinnerware. Shelves can be attached to the wall and line up with the bottom of the range hood, or shelves that are built into the wall (underneath the range hood) create a cool effect and make use of space. A water faucet, attached to a folding arm that comes out of the backsplash, on the wall means you will never have to stand at the kitchen sink waiting for pots to fill ever again. This is also a great feature for people who cannot carry heavy pots of water from the sink to the range.

In the end, you may just decide to let the wall design from the rest of the kitchen continue along the backsplash. That’s okay too; it’s your kitchen and it’s really up to you.

Covering the Range Hood

To each their own; not everyone has the same taste when it comes to kitchen décor. That’s why there are infinite options for designing and decorating your kitchen range hood. Some people prefer a simple, traditional look and will simply buy a wall mount range hood, under cabinet range hood or an island range hood and install it in their kitchen. These range hoods look great and are constructed of brushed stainless steel. Alternatively, some people like to spice things up and personalize their space. That’s why some people choose to install a range hood and cover it with an exterior or an apron.

You may choose to do-it-yourself and create your own range hood exterior. Others choose to purchase a custom built one. Either way, you will still need to purchase the actual range hood. There are different mounting styles to choose from in order to accomplish this task. An insert liner range hood is an excellent choice and the most common if you know you are going to cover the range hood with an apron. These models are typically smaller in size, come in a flush shape, two tiers or pyramid shape and cannot be seen at eye level. Also, the controls for these range hoods are underneath the model and cannot be seen. Wall mount range hoods, under cabinet range hoods and island range hoods can all be hidden as well with the right decorating, use of wooden panels or cabinetry.

If you were just to cut a hole in the wall for duct work, install the range hood and everything was visible after mounting your range hood, it just wouldn’t be appealing and the kitchen would look unfinished as a result. Some home owners will prefer the range hood to become a focal point in the kitchen or the focal point of a wall. Hiding the range hood in unique cabinetry or an apron that stands out with the use of design and color can accomplish this. Range hoods can also be covered using wood and molding. Molding, similar to a mantle, will also create a ledge where more decoration can be placed, such as recipes, photos or decorative plants and plates.

Trends in covering range hoods include aprons made of copper, range hoods covered in wooden panels with decorative trim and range hoods covered in wood and flanked on each side by pop-out cabinets for storing spices, cooking sprays, etc. These pop-out cabinets can run all the way down to the counter beside the range.

Covering the range hood yourself or hiring someone to do it can give you a lot of freedom and options. You can cover the range hood in wood and paint and stain it to your liking for a custom look. This is even possible with an island range hood. Make sure to use materials that are resistant to heat, grease and steam. A range hood exterior will be a personal addition to your kitchen that stands out, and you’re kitchen will be one of a kind.

Range Hood Filters

Filters are used in range hoods to remove unwanted particles from the air in your kitchen and reduce indoor air pollution. Cooking without the range hood, or a range hood that is too dirty to function properly, can expose you to unnecessary and possibly harmful amounts of smoke, grease, odors and gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Also, filtering dirty air in your kitchen helps keep your cooking equipment and expensive cabinetry cleaner.

The type of filters your range hood runs off of will depend upon whether or not your range hood vents air to the outside of the home or if you have a ductless option. Additionally, the filters you choose by depend upon your concerns regarding how the filters look in your kitchen. For example, especially if you have an island range hood, which is more visible, you may worry about people at your home seeing the filters.

Aluminum filter – Aluminum grease filters for use in kitchen range hoods are sometimes composed of multiple layers. They look like a tray of mesh and need to be cleaned over time. It’s best to create a routine in which you clean your aluminum grease filters periodically. The aluminum filters from RangeHoodsInc.com are dishwasher safe, which makes them easy to clean. Make sure they are dry before putting them back in the range hood.

Baffle filter – A stainless steel baffle filter will provide a different look. The troughs make the filters look less obvious and help them blend in with the overall look of the range hood. This creates a professional and elegant aesthetic. Our baffle filters are also dishwasher safe and easy to clean, making them an excellent choice that will last a long time.

Charcoal filter – Charcoal filters are used in ductless range hoods that do not vent the kitchen air to the outside of the home. As an alternative, ductless range hoods filter the kitchen air and let it back into the kitchen. This method is not as effective, but it’s a good option for those who cannot install ductwork in their residence. Perhaps you live in an apartment, or rent your home, or simply prefer the ductless option. Either way, charcoal filters cannot be cleaned and reused like aluminum grease filters and baffle filters. You will have to replace your charcoal filters after a certain period of time as they become full of grease. You may also want to clean the casing for the filter, which are often made of stainless steel.

RangeHoodsInc.com offers stainless steel baffle filters, aluminum filters and charcoal filters for your kitchen ventilation needs. Stainless steel is resistant to stains and rust, which gives the product a long life and keeps it looking great. Additionally, our products are ETL listed and certified by Interek for compliance with safety standards for electrical and gas products in North America to assure you that the products in your home are up to code. Contact us to order additional filters or if you have questions about your current filters.