How to Install a Range Hood Vent
Range hoods help you to ventilate your kitchen workspace. Ventilation is particularly important for homeowners with gas stoves since it helps to dissipate gases and smoke for the sake of safety, as well as grease and odors in the kitchen.
Many homeowners rely on their over the range microwaves to vent smoke and odors. This is excellent for kitchens that are low on space and need their appliances to do double duty. However, a nice hood vent tends to rank high on many homeowners’ kitchen remodeling wish list.
Hood vents have a stylish appeal that can draw attention and make a statement in the kitchen. An angular steel model gives a kitchen a formal, contemporary feel when paired with granite countertops, while a hood vent with curved sides will give a nice, rustic appeal with wooden countertops.
Range Hood Venting Options
A range hood’s venting power is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the CFM, the more air the unit can move, and the louder it will be during operation. Professionals recommend having a minimum of 40 CFM per foot of your range workspace.
Or, for gas cooktops, you should have 1 CFM for every 100 BTUs of power. Gas cooktops average at around 7,000 BTUs per burner, with high powered burners being around 14,000 BTUs.
Range Hood Ventilation Methods
1. Ducted or Vented Hoods
Ducted or Vented Hoods fully vent grease, smoke, and kitchen odors to the outside. This is the best ventilation system that you can invest in. It decreases how often you need to clean your kitchen surfaces and does not require frequent filter changes.
Ducted installation requires an investment of about $500 to $1000 for the hood, labor, and professional ductwork.
2. Non-vented, Duct-free, or Recirculated Hoods
Non-vented or recirculating hoods draw odors from the kitchen workspaces and trap the grease and smoke up and away. These filter the air before circulating it back into the home.
Duct-free models offer a less expensive installation process, since they don’t require ductwork. However, duct-free units do require you to change their filter every three to six months, which adds on $15 to $30 two to four times a year.
3. Convertible Hoods
Convertible hoods can be installed either as ducted or duct-free. Convertible hoods generally allow for both vertical and horizontal ventilation.
- Rotary fans have blades and tend to be less expensive.
- Centrifugal fans are shaped like a barrel or wheel. These are better suited for long ducts because they can offer more power.
Common Range Hood Models Include
1. Under-Cabinet Hoods
This is the most common type of range hood. These fit above a stove range, but below the cabinet.
2. Wall-Mount Hoods
Like under-cabinet hoods, wall mount hoods usually fit over the cooktop. However, these models attach to the wall itself, rather than the underside of a cabinet.
3. Downdraft and Island Hoods
These are hoods that are mounted through ductwork in the ceiling and do not require a wall to be suspended over a kitchen island cooktop.
Downdraft ventilation is most often used for kitchen islands so that a large hood doesn’t block a view or cut off an open floor space. These fit into the counter and cabinet next to a cooktop. The fumes are drawn downward, under the floor, and the out of the home. They are relatively inefficient when compared with a vented hood unit because they have to fight against the natural tendency for air to rise.
How to Vent a Range Hood
Your range hood should ventilate vertically, meaning through the ceiling and roof, or horizontally, meaning through a side wall. Vertical ventilation is the most effective, but it is not always possible.
It’s important when installing your own ducts to plan ahead and envision where you will run your ducts, whether it’s through the ceiling to your roof, straight through the wall on which the hood is mounted, or through the kitchen ceiling and then out through a side wall.
- Make sure that the air is vented outside, rather than into another enclosed space such as an attic.
- Only use galvanized steel or metal ducting. Do not use plastic venting or ducting.
- Use the ducting that’s the same size or even slightly larger than the vent opening. If you have a very powerful hood, you’ll need a larger duct. An average 400 CFM unit will need a six-inch duct, but a 1,200 CFM hood will require a 10 to 12-inch duct.
- You want the duct coming from the transition piece to be at least 18 inches long, before using an elbow in the duct.
- There should be at least 24 inches of straight vent between any two elbows.
- Use as few elbows in your ducting as possible so that you create a straight shot that will make you airflow better. Use no more the three 90 degree elbows.
- Do not use more than 40 feet of ductwork.
- Seal all joints with duct or HVAC tape.
- Insulate the duct to prevent condensation problems.
How to Run the Venting Ducts
- The vent hood will have places available for either attic or wall exhaust. Cover the one that you will not be using.
- Mark where you want to run your ducts.
- Cut a hole into the wall or ceiling. Do this by using your drill to make guide holes, and then using your saw to complete the circle.
- Make sure that the ducting protrudes a little from both the ceiling and the exit point.
- Do this until you are ready to cut the hole that will lead your vent outside of the home.
How to Install a Range Hood Vent Through the Ceiling
Venting vertically through the roof is one of your best options when it comes to a fully venting range hood.
- Caulk gun
- Pry bar
- Flexible duct with insulation
- Asphalt roof cement
- Roof-mounted exhaust vent
- Roofing nails
- Beginning in the attic, drill a hole through the roof where you want your vent to go. This should be between two rafters and at least three feet away from any other roof protrusion, such as skylights, chimneys, or bathroom vents. It’s also best to keep your kitchen vent five feet upward from the roof’s bottom edge, otherwise known as the eaves.
- On the roof, use a jigsaw to cut a round hole.
- Measure out a square that’s slightly larger than the vent hole and remove the shingles in this area with a hooked blade. Do this by gently prying up the shingles around the hole so that there’s room for the vent to slide under.
- Apply asphalt roof cement to the bottom of the vent, and slide in the vent under the shingles. The should cover the top of the vent flange. The lower part of the vent flange, however, will sit on top of the shingles.
- Use roofing nails to nail the lower half of the flange in place at the corners.
- Conduct the duct to the roof vent.
How to Install a Range Hood Vent Through the Wall
For those who cannot vent through the roof, venting through a sidewall is the next best option. This is called horizontal wall venting. You can do this by installing an elbow out of the top of the back of the hood. To do this method, you need at least 18 inches of straight venting before installing the elbow.
Another option, necessary for mounting an island hood vent, is to run ducting through the kitchen ceiling from the hood top and then use an elbow to run it through a nearby exterior wall.
- Accordion ductwork
- A vent and mounting box
- Long flat-head screws
- Clear roofing-grade exterior caulk
- Cut a round hole in the appropriate size for the ducting.
- Attach the vent unit to the mounting box with using long flat-head screws around the edges two to three inches apart.
- Apply clear, roofing-graded exterior caulk as a seal between the mounting box and the vent.
- Trim the vent’s flange in order to fit the mounting box.
- Attach the ducting through the hole.
How to Wire a Hard-Wired Range Hood into a Plug-In
Many range hoods only come with the option to hardwire them into your home electrical grid. However, basic electrical wiring can turn the hardwiring into a plug. While hard-wiring would be the ideal option, converting to a plug is a temporary fix for an impermanent installation. This conversion is a more common choice for an unvented model.
- Make sure that the outlet that you would be plugging the range hood into would be sufficient for the range hood’s power requirements.
- Check your manufacturer manual and make certain that a fix of this kind isn’t against code or won’t void your manufacturer warranty.
- Source a plug and cable that can carry sufficient power. These are often labeled as appliance cables.
- Separate and strip the wires.
- Use wire nuts the connect the wires from the appliance cord to the wired from the range hood.
- The white wire is your neutral and needs to attach to the largest prong on the plug.
- The black wire is your hot, it should wire into the slightly smaller prong.
- The green wire is your ground and needs to connect to the lower middle outlet prong, the long thin one.
- Carefully secure your wiring in place inside the range hood. Then make sure that your new chord has a way out of the range hood so that you can plug it into an outlet.
All kitchens should have some kind of ventilation. Just like many appliances, such as dishwashers and ranges, the range hood requires careful placement for it to be most functional. Kitchen ventilation needs to be ideally placed to keep grease particles from gumming up your kitchen’s surfaces and to clear away the smoke (which will ensure your fire alarm is not triggered needlessly). Practical concerns aside, an attractive range hood can add a focal point that ties together your kitchen’s design.