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





-Filter Types


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.

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