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Appliance World

Go With the Air Flow

            One of the most important kitchen appliances, even though it often doesn’t get a second thought, is our ventilation. It will help the cooking appliances perform better and keep cabinets looking newer for longer. Proper ventilation is necessary to maintain the look and function of your kitchen and to ensure your investment isn’t wasted in a few short years. The requirements may vary from state to state and even city-to-city, so it is best to consult with your contractor and appliance professionals to ensure you’ve made the right selection. By not using ventilation or an inadequate system you are also allowing nitrogen dioxide to build up in your home, which is harmful to your health and can cause issues with your lungs.

 

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When cooking there are a few by-products happening that you will want to remove from the home, which include heat, odor, gas, grease and smoke. Your pan and cooking surface are emitting a lot of heat, which you want to properly cook your food and make delicious meals, but you don’t want to let it escape into your kitchen. If not properly vented outside it could damage the surrounding cabinets, tiles and walls. The heat will increase the temperature in your kitchen and as it cools will create an ideal environment for moisture to collect on your counters, cabinets and new finishes which means mold may easily start to grow, even if you aren’t cooking often.

            When using a gas range only about 40% of the energy from the burner will make it to the pot. The rest of this heat and gas need a place to go, and that shouldn’t be into your home. Depending on the BTU (British thermal unit), or heat output of your cooking surface, will determine just how powerful your ventilation needs to be; which is measured by how many cubic feet of air can be removed in one minute, or CFM. The find the right amount of power you should calculate the total BTU of all of the burners and divide by 100. You may need more if you have a built in grill in your range or longer ductwork than most. Typically an electric or induction cooktop doesn’t need to be as powerful since it only needs to remove the rest of the cooking by-products as they put out less heat.

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            While your food should smell amazing as you are cooking, there are some odors you may not want to let linger in your home such as fish and fried or greasy foods. These will not only stick to your clothing but may also be absorbed into the porous material of your cabinets and walls. Your food will still smell delicious as you prepare it but it doesn’t have to still smell when your done eating it. Using things like butter, oil and other fats will create grease, especially when cooking meat. As it splatters it can stick to your surfaces creating a grimy film, while it is impossible to remove all of the grease from cooking much of it can be trapped through ventilation. Grease splatter can also affect the burners as it can buildup and cause the igniters to stop working or the gas to flow inadequately.

In order to maintain ventilation properly and to ensure most pollutants are being removed continuously, it is advised to clean or change your filters frequently and after heavy use of oils. It also helps to always turn your ventilation on when you start cooking. By enabling it on earlier, you will create a flow of air that makes it easier to remove the cooking by-products. Most people forget this step and only think to put the on the hood after there is too much grease splatter or smoke. No one tries to burn their meal, but let’s face it, sometimes it just happens. It’s easy to get distracted as you may be focusing on another part of the meal, heard your child say oops from another room or one of life’s many other interruptions and it can happen in just a few seconds. Regardless of when this occurs and smoke starts to fill the room, it can cause some panic as you turn your vents up as high as they can go. If there is already a flow of air before anything starts to smoke up or splatter, it will be removed more efficiently and without having to hear it on it’s loudest setting.

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There are many factors to achieving functional and efficient ventilation, which mostly rely on its location, type of motor or blower and how quickly the ducts can access the outside. The more turns your ductwork has to make not only means the motor has to work harder but will cause the air to deflect, making more noise. If you can, it is best to redirect the vent to the outside of the home through a wall or the roof, ideally not into an attic or crawl space. Ensure you have a damper to prevent outside air from entering through the exhaust. The location of the blower will also determine power and noise. Internal blowers are closer to the filters and may tend to be louder but often require less power as it is easier to move the air. An in-line or remote blower lies within the ductwork or on the outside of the home and are generally quieter but require more power since it has to pull the air from a further distance.

Some other options for hoods include ductless ventilation that recirculates the air back into the kitchen. They do use a filter to remove most of the pollutants, however it is not as effective as completely removing them from the home, especially when it comes to gas. Depending on your kitchen and design there are many options for your ventilation. Downdraft systems might be necessary based on your home or for island applications; however they never function as efficiently as traditional hoods as the heat, gas and smoke will naturally want to rise and are forced in the opposite direction. Beyond the traditional stainless hoods, there are other metals with endless custom options, models with glass features, ones that can be installed in your cabinetry and many more. To pair the right ventilation with your cooking please stop by one of Appliance World’s showrooms to view the many choices. We have several units that are live allowing you to see exactly how it could work in your kitchen. Ask any questions to our knowledgeable sales associates and they will gladly assist you in selecting the right hood for your home.