Berkeley Study Sheds Light on Kitchen Range Hoods

A study conducted by research scientists at Berkeley examined the amount of indoor air pollution in homes in Southern California caused by cooking in the kitchen. The scientists discovered that half of these homes contained serious indoor air pollution levels, rivaling levels of outdoor air pollution. Specifically, these homes had high levels of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. To battle indoor air pollution, homeowners should turn on the range hoods in their kitchens while they are cooking.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab scientists are developing a test for rating the efficiency of range hoods manufactured for use in residential kitchens. This will be an international test that will create a standard and rating system. The scientists created a test lab, in which they prepare the same meals again and again, and test the different speed levels of consumer range hoods. Jennifer Logue, Woody Delp and Brett Singer worked on the research. The scientists determined that the indoor air pollution produced by cooking contains some of the same elements as smog.

The also scientists found that not every range hood was as efficient as it could have been. Some of the range hoods only ventilated fifteen percent of the indoor air pollution caused during cooking; others ventilated half of it. A standard rating system will help consumers make decisions about which range hoods to purchase. Kitchen ventilation is extremely important in preventing the harmful effects of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide on human health. These gases can contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

It’s essential to turn on the range hood every time you cook, especially in this day and age, in which people keep their homes air-tight to save on AC and heating. Unfortunately, there is no government authority overseeing the levels of indoor air pollution in our country. The researchers concluded that consumers should always use their range hoods, should use the back burners on their cooking surface when possible and should use the range hood at the strongest setting.

The researchers also recommended that range hoods be designed to turn on and off by themselves without the user having to remember to turn it on with each use. There are range hoods on Range Hoods Inc, such as the Cavaliere-Euro AP238-PS29-30 30” Wall Mount Range Hood, that include Heat Sensitive Auto Speed (HSAS) technology. These range hoods turn on by themselves when 115 to 158 degrees of heat is detected.

Remember while shopping for range hoods to look at four factors: the dimensions, the CFM, the sones and the duct work. The range hood needs to cover the entire cooking surface, so know the dimensions of your range before buying a kitchen vent. Also, look at cubic feet per minute, which will tell you how much air the range hood can move. The noise level may influence your decision; the noise level of a range hood is measured in sones. Lastly, make sure the duct work you install is not too long and does not contain too many bends, which will decrease the efficiency of ventilation.

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