Tim Barber House & Home | Blog | A Range of Options: Ventilation For Y | While often a design afterthought, range hoods are an important kitchen appliance that warrants special consideration. Selecting the right hood for...

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A Range of Options: Ventilation For Your Kitchen

While often a design afterthought, range hoods are an important kitchen appliance that warrants special consideration. Selecting the right hood for your range type and kitchen size can improve your cooking experience. Who knows?! You might discover your inner chef! 

Kitchen Ventilation: Wall Mount Range Hood

(Photo credits: Courtesy of Karyn Millet Photography)

Why You Need a Range Hood

A range hood plays an important role in your health and the cleanliness of your kitchen space, not to mention adding to the aesthetics,

  • Running the range hood while cooking can remove hazardous smoke, steam and grease, and significantly reduces cooking smells and eye irritants--a boon for anyone who cooks fish or sautees onions. Additionally, the range hood can remove deadly carbon monoxide from the air.
  • Reducing excess heat and steam.  Do you find yourself singing It's Too Darn Hot! while creating edible masterpieces? Cooking produces both heat and steam. Installing a quality range hood will keep the kitchen cooler and more comfortable.
  • Keeping your kitchen clean. Your range hood expels grease, preventing it from adhering to cabinet doors and walls. Sticky messes belong on your kids, not on your kitchen surfaces.   

Kitchen Ventilation: Ceiling/Island Mount Range Hood

(Photo credits: Courtesy of Laura Hull Photography)

Types of Hoods

  • Under Cabinet Mount: As the name implies, these types of range hoods are installed on the underside of your wall cabinets.
  • Wall Mount: This type of range hood is installed directly on the wall above the range, oftentimes with a decorative chimney or duct cover.  
  • Ceiling/Island Mount: Ceiling/Island mounted range hoods hang down from the ceiling, typically over island or peninsula-style ranges.
  • Downdraft Ventilation: This type of range hood is commonly used in kitchens with islands or peninsulas or when a stove is placed in front of a window. Odors and heat are ducted downwards through the floor and out.
  • Wall Ventilation Fan:  A wall or ceiling vent fan is a less focused alternative to a range hood. While it may provide good ventilation to the entire kitchen, it doesn’t prevent grease/steam from adhering to surfaces as well as a hood. 

Understanding Air Flow

The volume of air exhausted through your range hood is measured in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). Depending on the size and type of your range and hood, the position of the hood, and ductwork, the CFM required by your range will vary. 


You can determine the amount of CFM required by using the following calculation: TOTAL BTUs/100=Required CFM. As a rule of thumb:

  • Electric range: 150-300 CFM  
  • Gas range: 300 CFM
  • Professional Style Range: Depends on the number of BTUs generated by the cooktop – often much higher than those listed above.

Size Matters

When choosing a range hood, size matters, especially when considering whether it will provide adequate ventilation and efficiency, and how it compliments your kitchen aesthetic.

Kitchen Ventilation: Wall Mount Range Hood

(Photo credits: Courtesy of Clark Dugger Photography)


For maximum efficiency, you want your hood to be as close as possible to the range top. Hoods can be installed as low as 18" away from the cooktop, but really? This impedes the cook's ability to use taller pots and poses an in-your-face obstacle for taller chefs. To compensate for more distance from the cook top, we often increase the size and CFM rating of our hoods. Many range hoods are the same width as the range – but we design professional range hoods to be six inches wider than the cooktop.


For obvious reasons, you don't want your range hood to be so loud that your sous chef can't hear your instructions. To reduce noise, you can buy a more powerful range hood and run it at a lower speed. Frequently, we use a remote exhaust, where the actual fan and motor are mounted on an exterior wall or roof. Additionally, it is important to make sure your hood is installed with the proper sized ducting. Incorrect duct size can increase the overall noise generated by a hood. 

Kitchen Ventilation

(Photo credits: Courtesy of Karyn Millet Photography)


We love them all - stainless steel hoods, copper and brass hoods, integrated wood hoods, plaster hoods, glass-wrapped hoods, tiled hoods – and the hood we will dream up next. For inspiration on range hoods and more, check out our Chef’s Kitchen Pinterest board.


Unless dinner in your home arrives fully-cooked, that hood will need cleaning. Dust loves to comingle with the sticky film that inevitably coats a range hood.  Grates will need to be removed and cleaned of that dust every few weeks. Over time, your range hood may “break in” and start to patinate.  Welcome to the world of wear and tear; it is the trademark of culinary mastery.  It says, "A true cook lives here." 


For additional information and excellent articles related to kitchen ventilation, please visit: