When Should I Run My Kitchen Range Hood?

Kitchen range hood exhaust fans serve an invaluable function in filtering indoor air. If you never run your exhaust fan or only turn it on when something starts to smoke on your stove, you may want to make a few changes. Knowing when and how to use your exhaust fan can reduce indoor air pollution and keep kitchen surfaces clean.

The Role of the Kitchen Range Hood

Most stoves have some type of exhaust fan. These fans are commonly located above the stove and under a hooded structure. You need an exhaust fan whether you have a gas or an electric stove. Either kind of range produces air pollution and sticky residues that adhere to kitchen surfaces.

Exhaust fans not only reduce air pollution from cooking and burning foods, they also remove moisture, food particles, smells, and grime from the atmosphere to keep your kitchen clean and safe. For gas ranges, exhaust fans also play an important role in removing noxious gases, such as carbon monoxide.

Range Exhaust Fan Best Practices

Homeowners commonly flip on the exhaust fan when they start to fry or sauté foods that may smoke or smell. In reality, you should turn on the exhaust fan anytime you cook on the stovetop. For best results, turn on the fan 10-15 minutes before you turn on the stove. Then leave the fan running for about as long after you turn off the stove. This added running time will improve filtration capabilities and reduce the number of contaminants you may inhale.

Some exhaust fans connect to ductwork that removes particulates from the kitchen and disposes of them outside the home. Other fans use charcoal filters to clean the air before redistributing it within the home. If you currently run an exhaust fan, follow the user manual’s recommendations for cleaning or replacing the filter for maximum air quality results.

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Range Hood

Some kitchens don’t have range hoods and others have exhaust fans that no longer work. If you’re not ready to invest in new equipment, use these tips to keep your kitchen clean and safe:

  • Open the windows and use a plugin fan. Place a small fan in the window and run it backwards, or on an “exhaust” setting, to rid your home of cooking odors and some contaminants.
  • Invest in a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter. Run a portable HEPA unit in the kitchen while you cook to remove odors, smoke, and other contaminants from the atmosphere.
  • Use a grease guard. If you fry, sear, or sauté foods on a regular basis, purchase a small screen to place over the cooking pan to prevent splatter.

Choosing a Range Hood

A strong ventilation system will move air quickly and efficiently, remove air contaminants, and feature a low running sound. You may need to compromise on one area or another, but these three factors indicate overall performance. Follow all installation instructions or invest in professional installation for best results.

If you have any questions about your kitchen vent hood and exhaust fan best practices, contact us today. Our friendly HVAC team would be happy to answer any of your questions.


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