What Is a Kitchen Exhaust?

What Is a Kitchen Exhaust?

When renovating your kitchen, there are plenty of fun tasks like playing around with the layout and choosing your cabinetry and stone. Then there are a few things you need to think about that aren’t quite as exciting, like ventilation.

If you’re embarking on a kitchen renovation, there will come a point where you’ll need to think about your kitchen exhaust—but what is a kitchen exhaust and what do you need to consider when choosing one?

Here we’ll shine some light on kitchen exhausts so you can choose the best option for your kitchen.

Key Summary

A kitchen exhaust (or rangehood) is an appliance typically installed above a stove or cooktop to extract airborne contaminants.

What Is a Kitchen Exhaust?

Also referred to as a rangehood or an extractor hood, a kitchen exhaust is a mechanical appliance designed to remove smoke, vapour, fumes and airborne grease that are produced when cooking.

Typically installed directly above a stove or cooktop, kitchen exhausts provide important ventilation by operating a fan or blower connected to ductwork to suck in airborne contaminants and extract them from the kitchen and interior of the home.

Kitchen exhausts come in a variety of materials including stainless steel, cropper, bronze, nickel silver and zinc and also usually include in-built lighting to make for easier cooking.

Why Is a Kitchen Exhaust So Important?

Cooking can release a variety of odours and pollutants into the air inside your home. From moisture and grease to carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, a kitchen that lacks proper ventilation can allow potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) to enter and accumulate in your home, affecting the indoor air quality and potentially also affecting your health.

A kitchen exhaust provides valuable protection for your family by working to extract these potentially harmful pollutants, keeping the air in your home fresh, clean and safe.

Kitchen Rangehood Styles

There are a variety of styles of kitchen exhausts to choose from to best suit your kitchen design. 

  • Canopy – Canopy rangehoods are fixed to the wall and model the style of the industrial rangehoods often seen in commercial kitchens. Canopy rangehoods are typically left exposed to create a feature or focal point.
  • Fixed/wall mounted – Wall mounted rangehood are fixed directly to the wall in between overhead cabinets like an awning.
  • Ceiling mounted – Installed directly into the ceiling above a cooktop, ceiling mounted rangehoods are discreet and minimalist, making them ideal for use above a kitchen island or in front of a window.
  • Under cabinet – These rangehoods are cleverly integrated into overhead cabinetry to create a clean and minimalist aesthetic. They can be an ideal choice for smaller kitchens.
  • Slide out – Slide out rangehoods are discretely integrated into overhead cabinetry. They can be pulled out when needed, then retracted when not in use to provide extra headroom.
  • Downdraft – Downdraft rangehoods can be installed into the cabinet space behind a cooktop, removing the need for an overhead rangehood. They can be raised and retracted as needed to maintain a sleek and streamlined cooking space.

What’s the Difference Between Ducted and Recirculating Kitchen Exhausts?

You’ll generally have the choice between two system types when choosing a rangehood—ducted and recirculating. The key difference between the two types of systems is the way they process the air that is sucked in.

Ducted kitchen exhausts

Ducted (or vented) kitchen exhausts use duct work to extract smoke, gases and other contaminants from above the cooktop and releasing them outdoors.

Recirculating kitchen exhausts

Recirculating (or ductless) kitchen exhausts use filters (such as activated charcoal) to remove smoke, grease, odours and other particles from the air it sucks in, before recirculating or pumping the clean air back into the kitchen or the roof space of the home.

Are ducted or recirculating kitchen exhaust systems better?

Ducted systems are generally regarded as the better option as any moisture and contaminants are removed entirely when they are vented outside of the home. While recirculating systems clean the air it sucks in before it is pumped back into the home, the filters do require regular cleaning or replacement to ensure the system continues to function optimally.

While a ducted system is generally the more preferable option, many homes lack the necessary space or access to accommodate a ducted system, making a recirculating system the only option.

What Are the Different Types of Rangehood Filters?

There are three main types of filters that are commonly used in rangehoods. 

These include:

  • Mesh: Made from layers of thin strips of aluminium or stainless steel which are woven together, mesh filters work to trap airborne oil and grease. They require regular cleaning.
  • Baffle: Made from curved or corrugated aluminium or steel frames which catch grease and oil, baffle filters also require regular cleaning.
  • Charcoal/carbon: Activated charcoal filters trap contaminants using a process called adsorption. Charcoal filters can’t be cleaned, so will need to be replaced regularly.

How Often Should You Clean or Replace a Rangehood Filter?

It’s important to keep rangehood filters clean to prevent heavy grease from building up (and potentially blocking) airflow through the unit.

How frequently you need to clean your rangehood filters will largely depend on how often you cook. It’s generally recommended that mesh and baffle filters are cleaned at least every 2-3 months and replaced every couple of years (or if you notice they are not working effectively). Charcoal or carbon filters generally need to be replaced every 3-4 months.  

You should always refer to the product manual for specific cleaning and maintenance instructions for the individual rangehood.

Perfect Your Kitchen Design With Mint

Planning a kitchen renovation? Get in touch with the team at Mint Kitchens.

Offering an end-to-end kitchen design and build solution, we’ll guide you through the process to create the new kitchen you’ve been dreaming about. 

See what we can do or book a showroom tour at one of our locations across Melbourne to kick start your renovation.

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