Kitchen Ventilation – Range Hoods and Vents

The photos enclosed were taken of a kitchen range and range hood during a home inspection conducted by my company, Magpie Property Inspections LLC in Parker Colorado. It has an exterior vented hood.  It raises the question as to whether a cooking range or cook top is required to be vented in a kitchen. While some jurisdictions may have specific requirements regarding installing exhaust ventilation in kitchens, it is not a strict requirement all areas. In some cases, an openable window in close proximity to the range is sufficient to meet the local building requirement.  Regardless of whether it is required, we believe all kitchens should be vented for safety and to help keep the kitchen and home clean. It removes smoke and odor, or in the case of an unvented fan, helps it circulate the smoke through a filter to help it dissipate more quickly.

There are two types of fans:

Vented Range Hoods: The fan in a vented range hood is attached to a duct, so it moves air from the kitchen to the outdoors.

Unvented Range Hoods: An unvented, or ductless, range hood has a fan but no duct to the exterior. Instead, it uses several types of filters to clean the air, and then recirculates the air into the kitchen (these models are sometimes called recirculating hoods).

It is much better to vent the air outdoors than to recirculate it into the room. A vented hood that removes steam, smoke, heat, and cooking odors is the best way to keep your kitchen clean. It will help to get rid of grease and dirt particles that can accumulate on your walls and cabinets.

Unvented range hoods do filter some grease and cooking odors from the air, but they are not nearly as effective.  They do not remove heat and humidity, so they won’t help keep your kitchen cool while you cook.

If you do not have a fan in your kitchen, or are planning to remodel your kitchen, we strongly recommend installing an exterior vented range hood. It is a good investment in our view.