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The Air in Here: Finding the Best Ventilation for your Kitchen

Preparing hot food can lead to things worse than burnt toast. Yeah, let’s talk vapors. A dish simmering on the stove can release unwelcome odors into the air, impair the cook, and deposit unsightly residues onto the kitchen’s surfaces.  You can combat this, however, with effective kitchen ventilation.

Finding the right hood

Kitchen designs today frequently include a range hood (sometimes called a cooker hood) that sucks up odors and keeps the crud from creeping onto your counters by redirecting the fumes.

Some hoods have a collection unit above the range that functions like a fan and redirects the vapors above eye-level; other hoods vent the vapors through the ceiling or wall to the outside.

Directing the vapors outside of the house means better air-quality. Systems of this type also extend the longevity of a kitchen’s decor. Simply venting steam to above eye-level is still considered a safety measure, but it won’t reduce odors and potentially increases the amount of residue accumulation on upper cabinets.

There are a few characteristics to consider when searching for the right cooker hood.  Different hoods will have different noise levels when active, so do a  sound-test before you buy one.

Since hoods that vent to the exterior are effectively sucking air out of the room, pay attention to how much fresh air enters the room. The recommended ventilation rate varies according to the size of the room, the type of cooking and location of the range. An effective range hood also includes a filter (washable or disposable) that helps extract some airborne pollutants, such as grease, from being released into your house or the air outside.

Getting the right look

A final consideration when exploring kitchen ventilation is its aesthetic. There is no need to sacrifice style for practicality anymore; some striking vent options enhance, rather than detract from, a kitchen’s décor. In fact, a current trend is to highlight a kitchen’s ventilation as a design feature.  Instead of just trying to blend the hood into its surroundings, think of kitchen ventilation as another opportunity to showcase a sculptural element. These days, its not an exaggeration to use the term sculpture either.  Some of the range hoods on the market are closer to a work of art than an appliance.

There are other units that serve multiple purposes by incorporating multimedia features, such as television, with ventilation.

For the art-lover, certain vent hoods integrate paintings or imagery with functionality.

Many options that provide adequate ventilation and are exceptionally discreet. Effective kitchen ventilation may only require a simple, streamlined, wall vent.

In the past, ventilation units tended to be ugly and detract from the kitchen’s aesthetic design, but recent innovations have transformed the appliances from conspicuous monstrosities to inspired sculpture. Hoods can be chic and functional at the same time and add to the glamor of your new kitchen.

By Emily Struzik

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