kitchen range hood

The exhaust fan for your kitchen should vent outdoor rather than recirculate back into your kitchen.

by Janet Akers


I have had a few experiences with exhaust fans in the houses I’ve owned.  The first house I ever owned had a non-vented range hood in the kitchen.  There was no particular reason why the builder could not have vented it, but he didn’t.  Although it had a filter, the range hood was pretty much useless at removing food odors and smoke.  It may have helped pull air into the room when we opened the kitchen window, but that was about all.  The next house I bought was only partially completed, so I made sure to have the range hood vented.  I suggest that you do the same in your kitchen remodel.


The other place that I have had a problem with venting is in the bathroom.  When you purchase a new exhausting bath fan, you will see that they are rated according to how much air they are capable of moving (cubic feet per minute, or CFM), as well as the sound level (in sones).  I have seen plenty of wimpy fans in my friends’ homes, so I was concerned with finding one that would do the job well.  I’m also the kind of person who likes to examine the merchandise before I buy it.  The building supply store that I used had a number of models on display that were actually connected to a power supply so they could be turned on.  When I went to check them out, I took a piece of printer paper with me.  When I turned the power on for each of the models, I placed the piece of paper against the vent to see how powerful the suction was.  Some of the fans didn’t pull enough air to even hold the paper.  Fortunately, I found one that did a good job.


I brought the bathroom exhaust fan to my partially-built home and left it in the hands of the builder.  What I did not realize until after I moved in was that since the bathroom was on the first floor of a two-story home, the builder did not bother to have the fan vented to the outside.  Instead, it was vented into the space between the floors.  My care in finding a powerful fan was wasted as I was not about to use it to send damp air into this confined space.  Next time I will be more attentive….