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A Definitive Guide to Kitchen Hoods

From materials to the efficiency of your culinary space, here is everything you need to know for stylish ventilation.



Photos by Emily Minton Redfield

When it comes to designing your dream kitchen, hoods serve form and function. They can be beautiful and enhance your kitchen space whether they act as a statement piece or camouflage into the overall design—but ultimately, you want to make sure you like the look as well as the efficiency of your kitchen hood design.

How you see it

It’s critical to factor in the line of sight from every entry point into your kitchen. Is the hood against a wall and thus seen only from particular angles, or is it above an island and can be seen from all sides? Is it integrated nearly seamlessly with your ceiling material, or do you need a downdraft (these units can be independent units that telescope up from behind the cooking surface or integrate within a cooktop containing a fan that sucks the fumes and some down through a pipe under the floor)?

What you see

What kind of kitchen hood do you have your sights set on? Materials include metal, wood, drywall, tile, brick, logs, and stone—or a mixture of these. You can also consider embellishments like straps, rivets, carved moldings, corbels, and inlays, which are all options that come in various materials like metal or wood.

How it works

You can’t plan for form and function without considering the mechanics of your kitchen hood design. Liners can be configured with different switches controlling things like the fan speed and lighting. Custom sizes can be made, or you can purchase off-the-shelf liners.

When it comes to blowers, there are internal, inline, or external types, and each have their own set of pros and cons. You’ll need to consider your construction limitations and budget to determine which kind of blower is the best fit for your kitchen.

In regard to filters, there are numerous options—baffle filters, charcoal filters, and proprietary systems specific to certain brands. It’s best to consult with your design team on all of these features to choose the most appropriate options for your specific style, space, and limitations.

The capture area

With bigger and grander cooking equipment available on the market today, it’s important to ensure your culinary space is properly ventilated. A kitchen hood’s size and shape can change, but its performance boils down to the capture area and cubic-feet-per-minute that can be ventilated from the space.

Don’t forget…

Makeup air requirements are always changing; it’s imperative to plan for these parameters with your design team from the beginning. Also, induction-cooking units do not have as strict ventilation requirements. If you want the look of a particular hood (a minimal style or perhaps you don’t want to compromise on storage because of restrictions for the area needed to clear combustible materials), but you don’t want to be restricted by codes, then you should consider an induction cooktop unit. 

Cristal Romero and Linda McLean are certified kitchen designers with William Ohs Showrooms. Contact the walk-in-friendly showroom to schedule an appointment with an award-winning designer at 303.321.3232.

Content for this article provided by William Ohs Showrooms.

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