There you are in the kitchen cooking up a storm. Your friends and family are gathered around chatting and watching you cook. Everyone’s having a great time, except you. You’re worried. From the corner of your eye, you watch the hot steam rising from the pans simmering on the burner, coating your beautiful maple wood cabinets in moisture before reaching up and spreading out along your clean white ceiling. You’re just itching to switch on the range hood fan. But, something stops you. The noise. Saving your cabinetry would end your guests’ conversation.
I’m sorry to tell you that pinching yourself will not awaken you from this bad dream. It’s a scenario that plays out in nearly every kitchen across the country. The fact is that most people do not use their range hood fans because of the noise.
what’s the problem?
The first step in rectifying the problem is to figure out what’s causing the noise. Is the motor whining? Is the hood vibrating? Or is it just the sound of air whooshing the steam away? Depending on what’s causing the problem, the solution can be a simple do-it-yourself or you may need to call in the professionals.
Some range hoods are designed to come apart to allow for easy cleaning. Separate all the pieces, wash them thoroughly and check for any loose connections. Sometimes a simple cleaning is all it takes.
If part of the ductwork is vibrating, wrap that section in a thin layer of insulation. This trick is perfect if the ducts are hidden behind overhead cabinets. If the ducts are exposed, I recommend calling the manufacturer for tips on which kind of insulation would be appropriate and how best to apply it.
As for that loud whooshing sound … well, there’s not a whole lot that can be done about that. Remember that the point of the range hood fan is to suck the steam up and out. It should be loud if it’s doing its job. Having said that, there are two tips I can suggest that will minimize the disruption.
If you’re handy, it shouldn’t take you too long at all to install a silencer between the hood and the fan. Before you head out to the hardware store, though, you should place a call to the manufacturer. The service department will either provide you with the right silencer for your particular model or will recommend a comparable part. This might also be the time to call in the professionals!
Failing that, the only way that remains to quiet a range hood fan is to use the function that’s actually built right into it. Most fans come equipped with settings – usually low and high. Set your fan to low about 15 minutes before you begin cooking for maximum benefit. Allow the fan to run at low the whole time that you’re cooking. Although it won’t be completely silent, it should be quiet enough for you and your guests to carry on a conversation. Only use the high setting when whatever you’ve got cooking is producing the most steam, and let it run for short periods of time only.
choosing a quiet range hood fan
Maybe you’ve had enough of that old, loud fan that’s currently occupying space in your kitchen, and it’s time for a brand new range hood. In that case, I have a couple of tips to help you make the best choice.
Fan noise is measured in sones. Remember, the lower the number, the quieter the fan. A refrigerator, for instance, comes in at one sone. A rating of four sones is similar to the sound of a large air purifier, and would be considered annoying to most people. Unfortunately, in the case of fans you do get what you pay for. Budget fans can often be rated at four sones or higher. Look for those rated at three or lower.
Even if you’re able to sample the fan noise of a particular range hood in the store, it may still sound differently in your kitchen. So, researching brands that produce lower sones is not the only aspect to consider. Choose a range hood that offers varied settings. Some fans literally only come equipped with an on/off switch. Look for a minimum of low and high settings, or some combination in between that will allow you to control the level of noise.
In our daily lives, we’re constantly surrounded by a cacophony of noise. The kitchen doesn’t need to add it. Tell me how you use your range hood fan, and let me know if you have any of your own tips to add.