Understanding Noise Level in Range Hoods

Shopping for a range hood and trying to compare models can seem overwhelming at first. You may be trying to compare a huge list of features while you may not be familiar with the meaning of each feature or detail. While shopping for a new kitchen range hood you are examining CFM, mounting style, colors, style and shape, control panels, speed levels, cooking lighting and more. While shopping for a new range hood noise level should definitely be on your list of features to consider.

A common complaint people have about their older range hoods is that the appliance makes too much noise. This unfortunately leads to some people never turning on the range hood in their kitchen. A high level of noise from the fan in a range hood can be distracting, can disrupt conversation and make it hard for someone cooking to hear the television or what’s going on around them.

This isn’t a good place to be in because if you don’t turn on your range hood it doesn’t get the chance to perform its important function: ventilating your kitchen. Range hoods ventilate the kitchen of harmful gases, unwanted odors and grease, which makes surfaces messy. Without your range hood working while you cook, your kitchen may have a high level of air pollution, including gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. If you’re unhappy with your current range hood, it may be time to start looking for a replacement.

You may have already noticed that the noise level of a range hood is measured in a unit named “sones.” Sones measure the loudness of a fan. Sones are a linear measurement; if something is four sones, it is twice as loud as two sones and so on. The more sones it is rated for, the louder the fan will be. Sones are easier to perceive by putting them in context. For example, a refrigerator that is running comes in at one sone. People having a conversation will be rated at four sones.

The sone rating for a range hood is related to the CFM of the range hood. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and it measures the airflow capacity of the range hood. Don’t feel overwhelmed; this simply measures how much air the range hood can ventilate out of the home. The higher the CFM number, the more air the range hood will exhaust out of the kitchen. If you perform a lot of cooking, you will want a range hood with a higher CFM. When running your range hood at a higher CFM level, you will also hear more noise.

Just remember that a lower number of sones means the unit is less loud. It may also help to know that sones are now being measured for the average CFM for the unit, rather than the maximum CFM. Note that even if you are comfortable with the noise of a demo range hood in a store, the range hood may sound different once it is installed in your kitchen.

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