Whether you don’t have room for a ducted system or don’t like the look of one, ductless range hoods are on the rise. These range hoods are easier to maintain, install, and operate similarly to vented range hoods. However, purchasing the right range hood for your needs is important, especially if you opt for a recirculating hood.
When choosing the best ductless range hood for your home or business, there are several factors to consider. It’s also important to remember that the best range hood for someone else might not be the best one for you.
If you’re worried about how to choose the best ductless range hood, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll break down how to make your choice, list the top range hoods on the market, and help you determine whether or not a ventless range hood is right for you. Let’s get cooking!
The two basic types of range hoods are ductless ones and vented ones. Ducted range hoods draw polluted air and odors from inside your home and through a vent pipe to the outside. Polluted air includes smoke, smog, grease, fat, and other particles generated in the kitchen that contaminate the air. These are best at improving indoor air quality.
Rather than carrying the air inside your home to the outside, recirculating range hoods purify the air through a different method. They have a carbon or charcoal filter that traps and removes contaminants from the air as it passes through the filter. This range hood has a fan that sucks air through the filter, which purifies it before the clean air gets “recirculated” back into the kitchen.
Because a duct-free range hood is cleaning the air and putting that same air back into your home, some say that it isn’t as effective as vented range hoods. However, critics of ducted model hoods say that removing conditioned air inside your home is inefficient. With avid lovers and haters on both sides of the aisle, it’s tough to know which recirculating hood is right your you.
How to Choose the Right Type of Range Hood
Contrary to what critics say, ductless range hoods do indeed work. They operate the same way your furnace and HVAC system does, passing air through a purifying filter before redistributing it into your home. However, ductless models aren’t as effective at removing certain contaminants as ducted range hoods.
To help you make your range hood decision, let’s look at how to choose between a vented hood and a recirculating one. We’ll also look at what type of ventless range hood is right for you.
Efficiency and Eco Friendly
In terms of efficiency and eco-friendliness, there’s no doubt that recirculating or ventless range hoods are the winner. Because vented range hoods are taking conditioned air inside your home and carrying it outside, your HVAC system will have to work overtime to keep up. Remember that the air your hood removes, or filters is contaminated and dirty.
Ventless range hoods don’t require much electrical power to operate, making them very efficient. The carbon and charcoal filters are durable and reusable for up to three or four months, or even longer if you don’t cook often.
Versatile and Mobile
Because recirculating range hoods don’t have any pipes or attachments connected to them, they can be anywhere in your kitchen. This makes them much more mobile and versatile than vented range hoods. Vented hoods have a pipe or duct connected to the back or top that needs to run outside your home.
Because of this extra accessory, vented range hoods typically take up more space than ventless ones. You will also have to position your vented range hood against a wall so that your vent pipe has somewhere to go and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
The Amount of Cooking You Do
Another important consideration is the amount of cooking and baking you do. A ductless unit will suffice if you only cook occasionally, such as several times a week or month. Even if you cook often, you can get by with one if you maintain it and change the filter often.
The Type of Cooking You Do
Just as the amount of cooking you do plays a role, the type of cooking you do also plays a role. The more grease, fat, smoke, and nastiness you produce, the more likely you’ll need a vented range hood. However, as we said before, as long as you maintain and clean your hood and change out your filter, you can do almost anything with a recirculating range hood.
Asian dishes, bacon, fajitas, and other dishes that use a lot of oil and produce a ton of smoke are the most damaging to a recirculating range hood. They may sometimes have trouble keeping up unless you invest in a quality one.
The Type of Stove You Have
One of the biggest fears is whether or not their ventless range hood will work with a gas stove. Whether natural or propane, gas produces carbon monoxide and is deadly in large doses. However, if you’re cautious and enlist a few other preventative measures, you can certainly operate a gas stove with a recirculating range hood.
It’s important to note that the filters in ventless range hoods cannot remove carbon monoxide. As a result, you would do well to open a kitchen window or have another form of ventilation to get carbon monoxide out of your house.
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The activated charcoal filters in your recirculating range hood are as important as the range hood itself. After all, you’re simply transferring dirty air from one place to another without the right filters.
These filters aren’t cleanable; you should replace them every three or four months, depending on how much cooking you do. However, charcoal filters can last upwards of a year if you don’t get much use out of your range.
On the other hand, you should regularly wash the metal baffles below the carbon filter. Most modern range hoods have dishwasher-safe baffles, which make for easy cleanup.
CFM refers to cubic feet per minute or how much air the fan on your recirculating range hood can move in a minute. The higher the CFMs, the more powerful and effective the fan is at removing contaminants. You should choose a fan with the right amount of power based on the size of your kitchen and the amount of cooking you do.
The size of the physical range hood also plays a massive role in the selection process. If you have a smaller kitchen with limited space, you don’t want to make the mistake of purchasing a massive range hood. It will look like an eyesore in the enclosed area and make your kitchen feel cramped. Instead, you should opt for a range hood that’s powerful enough to serve your purposes while being small enough to blend into your kitchen.
Range hood loudness is measured in sone level rather than the decibel levels. Most recirculating hoods have powerful fans that can be noisy if you’re not careful. If noise levels are a big factor, you will do well to spend a little extra and purchase a range hood with a lower sone rating for a quieter fan.
A sone rating of 6.5 or less on the high setting is considered acceptable. As a comparison, 6.5 sones is about 56 decibels.
Lighting is also a big factor when choosing your recirculating range hood. Most modern range hoods have LED lighting that’s both radiant and efficient. Lighting is extremely important if you have an older kitchen without good interior lighting. It’s also very useful for preparing your dishes and cleaning up after yourself.
Finally, budget is often the most important factor when choosing a recirculating range hood. You want to spend enough money to get a quality product, but not so much money that you can’t afford the upkeep and maintenance.
If you’re purchasing a new range hood, there’s also a good chance that you want to make other improvements to your home. Don’t spend your entire home improvement budget on a single item such as a range hood.
Maintaining Your Range Hood
Maintenance and upkeep are never fun for household appliances, but they’re essential. Maintenance is essential for recirculating range hoods. Apart from replacing your activated charcoal filter every three or six months (depending on the model), you should take care of the rest of your range hood.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep your recirculating range hood healthy and operational.
- Use glass cleaner or acetone when wiping down your range hood.
- Wipe down the exterior surface of the hood and the top of your stove.
- If necessary, add Soft Scrub to your towel for pesky stains.
- Remove your stainless steel filters or baffles and wipe them down. These baffles are dishwasher-safe, so check with your specific model.
- Remove the fan blower from the vent hood. Clean and inspect it for any damage.
- Remove and replace the carbon filter underneath the fan every three months or as needed.
You should perform this maintenance every time you need to change your filters. However, you should wipe down the exterior of your range hood and keep your kitchen clean regularly.
Do ductless range hoods work?
As long as you have a ductless range hood that’s the right size and properly maintain it, recirculating range hoods can do most things that vented range hoods can.
Can ductless range hoods be used with a gas stove?
You can use a ductless range hood with your stove, keeping in mind that they won’t eliminate carbon monoxide. You should have another source of kitchen ventilation, such as a fan or window, to take carbon monoxide outside your home.
Which filters are the best for ductless hoods?
Ductless range hoods should have a replaceable charcoal filter. Depending on your brand of the hood, you’ll have to order the filters from the manufacturer or a supplier. Some brands of carbon filters are available on Amazon. Some high quality convertible hoods will have dishwasher-safe stainless steel filters instead of or in addition to carbon filters.
As you can see, recirculating range hoods certainly have their place worldwide. Because of their efficiency, ease of use, and installation are becoming increasingly popular. As long as you choose the right range hood size and style and properly maintain it, there’s no reason why you can’t operate safely and smoothly in your home with a ductless range hood.