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Why Do Stoves Need Vents?

Having cooked for most of my life, the one thing I’ve always taken for granted was the stove vent. Now, needing to replace it, I realize just what a fantastic job it’s been doing all these years.

Stoves need vents for improving a kitchen’s indoor air quality, to prevent the build-up of dirt and mold in and around the cooking area, kitchen cupboards, and walls; to vent cooking smells, unwanted smoke, and steam from the kitchen, and to prevent the inhalation of stale and toxic kitchen air.

To get the best results out of your vent, what do I have to do? And, what if my stove doesn’t have a vent? Can I still get the same benefits as someone whose stove has a vent?

Why A Stove Needs A Vent?

One of the least apparent and appreciated appliances in a home is the ventilation hood found above the stove. Other common names for the vent are:

  • Exhaust Plume
  • Extractor Hood/Fan
  • Ventilation Hood
  • Fume Extractor
  • Kitchen hood

The Purification The Kitchen Air

  • The most important reason to have a stove vent is that it removes potentially toxic gasses and pollutions from the air in your kitchen. We’ve all burned something while cooking, and the aftermath has called for quick action. The stove vent, in this situation, becomes your best friend. It helps you deal with smoke, gas, and grease, all of which have potentially dangerous side effects if inhaled. 
  • At the push of a button, the vent cleans the kitchen air. It sucks up all those undesirable smells, odors, and particles and helps reduce the toxic air you may be breathing in. 
  • A good stove vent will also help cut down the growth of bacteria, germs, and mold in your kitchen. If, however, you battle with the quality of your indoor air, try running an air purifier nearby.
  • Stove vents also cut carbon monoxide emissions present in your home. With the health dangers of this toxic gas, adequate ventilation in a cooking area is a must. 

Extracts excess heat from the kitchen

We all know that cooking up a storm creates heat in the kitchen, whether it’s from you or your stove. As with smoke and airborne toxins, a good vent will remove that heat and make the cooking experience more comfortable and a lot cooler.

Helps with kitchen lighting

Not all vents have lights. If your vent does, it helps you see what you’re doing, both during the cooking and cleaning processes. A light will help you know if you’re burning your food or not, and when cleaning, it allows you to see all the dirt and grease in those hard-to-get places. 

It helps make cooking a joy

The use of a stove vent allows for a clean and comfortable cooking environment. With the reduction of unpleasant odors, your creative cooking style has a lot more freedom.

You’ll be a lot more eager to spend time cooking when you’re not battling foul smells in an overheated home. It’s these small pleasures that contribute to a healthier family lifestyle. 

It can help improve your property value

In today’s real estate market, every home is expected to have a stove vent. People expect this luxury, and if your stove doesn’t have a vent, it may deter a buyer.

Does Code Require A Stove Vent?

Stove vents are not explicitly required by code in residential areas, but they have to abide by the individual state’s respective safety standards. Requirements for commercial stove vents may include, but are not limited to: 

  • A commercial vent must duct to the outside. 
  • Stainless steel must be used in the ductwork and must be mounted between 24 and 28 inches away from the cooking top or stove for maximum efficiency. 

The Two Types Of Stove Vents

An important consideration you’ll face when installing a stove vent is the type you’re going to need. Will it be a ductless vent or a ducted vent?

You need to ask the first question: Are there existing ducts for me to fit a ducted vent? Depending on your kitchen design and setup, this will answer your immediate choice dilemma. 

A second factor you need to consider is cost. Ducted vents are definitely more expensive. There are, however, pros and cons to both ducted and ductless vents.

Ducted Vents

  • Though relatively common, the ducted vent depends a lot on kitchen design. Because of this, you may be restricted as to where it can be installed. 
  • The ducted vent needs to be connected to a duct with pipes that carry the kitchen air outside.
  • Should you choose to go with a ducted vent, you’ll need to have ducts and pipes installed by a professional.
  • Although ducted vents are standard in commercial kitchens, it’s not uncommon to find them in family homes. 
  • Depending on your cooking habits, a ducted vent is definitely something to consider.

Ductless Vents

The most significant benefit of the ductless vent is that it can be installed almost anywhere. 

  • The ductless vent operates by filtering the air in the kitchen. It sucks in the air using a fan and filters cleanly recirculated air back into the kitchen. 
  • The ductless vent consists of a fan with charcoal and carbon filters that suck up kitchen odors, smoke, and grease particles. The air is then filtered and recirculated through the kitchen.
  • You need to clean filters regularly and change them at least once every two years.

Ducted Vents: The Good & Bad 

You’ll find that nearly all industrial kitchens have ducted vents because of the more significant amounts of smoke, fumes, and toxic air being produced. 

Ducted vents are far more effective in getting rid of humidity and steam from the cooking area. Instead of recirculating filtered air, they expel it entirely from the kitchen. 

Many people claim that ducted exhaust systems run more efficiently and are a lot quieter than ductless systems. This is debatable as noise and efficiency will depend largely on the make and model you install. 

A ducted vent’s main drawback is that it needs to be installed with a duct system going from the kitchen area to outside a home or building.

Ductless Vents: The Good & Bad

Ductless vents are definitely more versatile and can be installed just about anywhere. Because they only filter and recirculate air throughout the kitchen, the need for installing ducts or pipes to the outside is not necessary.

The installation process, in this regard, is a lot more convenient than a ducted vent. Some ductless vents run on timers and can be programmed to turn on and off automatically. 

The ductless vent’s main disadvantage compared to a ducted vent is that it only recirculates air instead of expelling stale air and drawing in the fresh air. Your kitchen, therefore, may, during cooking, remain pretty humid. 

A ductless vent fan also requires more power to operate, but a lot will depend on the brand, size, and model you install. 

Remember that filters will need to be replaced fairly often with a ductless vent, adding to ongoing costs.

Costs to install ducted and ductless vents

A contractor will charge anywhere between $50 and $100 per hour, with the average being $85 and possibly a trip fee. The installation will vary between one and four hours, not including time to modify ductwork or electrical work.

Cost of ducted and ductless vents (materials only)

The average cost for a ductless vent can range between $100 and $300. 

Your ducted vent will be between $200 and $1500

Conclusion

While no law compels one to have a stove vent, it is advisable to invest in one. Remember that by doing so, you’re investing in your health and family’s wellbeing. Your stove vent will keep your kitchen cleaner and a lot more comfortable to work in.