Isn’t the range hood in the picture gorgeous? I love the clean lines, and the fact that it looks anything but like a typical range hood. Not all kitchens can accommodate this open design, though.
Renovating my own kitchen revealed some nasty truths about the range hood that I’d been faithfully using. First, that beautiful copper hood was actually paint. Second, the fan was just too small for the standard range that sat beneath it, and third, the venting system hadn’t even been hooked up! All that time (about a year!) of turning on that old, loud fan, it was doing absolutely nothing to dissipate the steam!
I suppose I should have expected that. The kitchen in my 60 year old house had never been updated. I wanted to take the whole room and put it in a museum. Sure, retro is in … but not quite to that degree.
Anyway, there I was in the market for a brand new range hood. Never having had to buy one before, I had no idea what to consider. So, after talking to a number of experts on the subject, I decided to compile what I learned and let you in on a few important tips.
It’s (Not) All About Style
One of the first things anyone sees when they walk into a kitchen is the range hood. Everyone wants to own the most stylish hood because it adds to the overall beauty of the kitchen. But, step back a bit. The first consideration should not be the look. It should be what the range hood offers you in practical function. Find out what each hood hood in your budget and style preference does, and whether it meets the way you use your kitchen and range.
The Over-The-Range Microwave
Given that my kitchen is fairly small, and I use my microwave enough for it to merit its own space, I was completely bent on buying an over-the-range microwave. A tool that serves two functions instead of one is a great option, right? Apparently not. The general consensus, I learned, is that the microwave-come-range hood works in very limited circumstances. If you find yourself cooking very little, and hence producing little smoke and steam, then this will be one handy appliance for you. If you’re cooking for a family, or just doing a lot of creative cooking, the over-the-range microwave just can’t handle the amount of steam and smoke typically produced. In the end, although this is a great product under certain circumstances, nothing beats the power of a good range hood.
Vented or Ductless?
The duct free range hood option is certainly attractive. The less ductwork anyone has to look at the easier, and perhaps more beautiful, the kitchen will be. But ducts do serve an important purpose. They can also either be hidden behind cupboards or designed to look more stylish. The original range hood in my pre-reno kitchen was ductless. The fan sucked up all the steam and smoke only to deposit it inside the cupboard space, which I then had to regularly scrub down. Not fun. Of course, not only was that old range hood not properly installed, it was also missing the necessary filters that would soak up all that dirty stuff. So, if you’re seriously considering a duct-free range hood, I’d recommend talking to a lot of experts to make sure that it is, indeed, the right choice for your kitchen and lifestyle.
If you’ve decided to splurge on an extra large range, you need to think about the fact that you may have to rip out some wall cabinets as well. The rule of thumb is that the range hood must be at least as wide as the cooking surface, if not an inch or two wider. The extra width ensures proper ventilation throughout the cooking process.
Over to you: How did you choose your range hood? What other tips can you offer?