Kitchen Hood Tell-All


It’s no secret that kitchens are one of my favorite rooms to design for clients. Gone are the days when kitchens are sterile spaces to be in, they are now an opportunity to be creative and designing them provides much problem-solving! From getting the layout right, to selecting interesting materials that will be suitable for its use, there are many different things that come into play when designing a kitchen.

There is one aspect of a kitchen design that can easily get forgotten about until it’s (almost) too late! And that is the range hood. It’s often overlooked, yet it’s a crucial element of a kitchen design. 

The kitchen hood serves as a practical non-negotiable for every kitchen. It extracts air, steam, and unwanted cooking odors from the space when cooking on the range or cooktop below. The hood helps to keep the kitchen air clean.

Aside from the functionality of a kitchen hood, they also add to the overall design of the kitchen! It’s important to review the entire kitchen design when choosing a hood and considering its size.

One aspect of choosing a kitchen hood that can get homeowners easily confused is the size of which they need. 

In this tell-all guide, I’ll be deep diving into the kitchen hood to explain how to strike the perfect balance between functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Let’s take a closer look!

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Kitchen Hood Types


Firstly, it’s vital to understand the different kitchen hood types available and how they differ, in design, functionality, and overall aesthetics. Here are the most popular types of kitchen hoods:


Wall Mounted Canopy Range Hoods

These are a very popular choice of range hoods as they have a range of CFM and design options. These hoods look more like an appliance above the range and replace the over-the-range cabinetry.


Range Hood Inserts

Range hood inserts have been designed to be used with your custom hood. They are hidden within the custom cabinetry above the range and allows you to design the area above the range to your preference. They provide you with creative control over the overall look of your kitchen.


Under Cabinet Range Hoods

These range hoods are installed under a wall cabinet, and offer a more discreet, built-in look. They tend to be smaller in size, but still provide a good amount of ventilation.


Microwave Hood Combinations

This isn’t a recommended route, but has been very popular in the past. You can read all about why this isn’t a great location for a microwave here. These hoods offer a space saving solution by combining the microwave with a vent to extract air.


Why Does Hood Size Matter?


The hood size matters because it influences the overall design of the kitchen, and can inform the efficiency of the ventilation itself.

It’s common to have an oversized hood in larger kitchens. Cabinets and venting systems are built on a 3” module. Therefore, having a hood that overhangs 3” on either side looks intentional and provides a wider area for cooking smells to be taken away from. A total overhang of 6” is the industry standard for kitchen planning and design. When the kitchen is large enough, making the hood 6″ larger than the range look great and functions extrodinaritly well. 

Aside from the width of the hood, the vertical distance also matters for performance (more on this later), but the CFM requirement for the appliance versus the insert is what needs to be taken into account in relation to the distance.

Remember – the range should have technical requirements you need to comply with, and can inform the hood chosen.

If space is a premium in your kitchen, or you’re looking to maximize as much cabinet space as possible, you shouldn’t use an oversized hood. Instead, choose one that has the same width as the range, but pay special attention to the CFMs to make sure it’s powerful enough for the space.

In this project above, cabinet and storage space needed to be maximized. Therefore, the hood size is the same as the range below but we payed special attention to the CFM value to ensure it was suitable for the space.


CFMs – What Are They?


When searching for a kitchen hood you will become aware of a term called CFM. This refers to how many cubic feet of air your range hood moves per minute, at its highest speed.

What does this mean exactly? The CFM indicates how quickly the hood will extract air from your kitchen. So the higher the CFM, the faster the ventilation.

If you have a choice between different CFMs, always choose the higher CFM but always ensure your room size can take the measurement.


Hood Mounting Height


Another crucial factor to consider is the mounting height of the hood. This refers to the distance from the top of the range to the bottom of the exhaust.

What is important to remember is that every kitchen hood is different. From their CFM measurement to the type of ventilation. Therefore you should be checking the recommended mounting height for your specific range hood.

Here in the US, the code states that there must be at least 30” between the cooking surface and a combustible. A mistake I often see is that it’s measured from the countertop instead of the top of the cooking grate. If there is a grate (sometimes the case with gas cooktops and ranges) and it’s raised above the countertop, then the hood needs to be raised as well if it’s combustible.

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