A range hood serves two purposes – it can be a safety feature as well as a design element in remodeled and updated kitchens. First, safety. An efficient range hood can clear the kitchen of steam and grease that will eventually damage cabinetry and millwork. Short term, these cooking residues can cause stagnant air and even kitchen fires. A range hood is usually vented directly to the outside, so the hot, humid, particle-filled air is not recirculated throughout the kitchen. The range hood helps clear the air of food and cooking odors. In addition, range hoods are more efficient than a vented microwave placed over the cooktop. Standard hoods offer 300 to 400 cubic feet per minute of suction, which is beyond sufficient for most kitchens. In the state of Virginia, if the hood exceeds the 400 level, an automatic fresh air make-up is required, which can increase cost as much as $1,500. Your custom builder or remodeler should be able to recommend a range hood that both meets the required standards and looks great in your new kitchen. To provide the best advice, he’ll take into consideration the size of your cooktop, its heat output and the size of your kitchen, as well as the look you’re trying to achieve.
As a design element, range hoods can be stunning center pieces over a kitchen island, or they can be built in to existing cabinetry to complement the woodworking. Whether wall- or ceiling-mounted, retail market or custom-made, there is a range hood to fit your needs and budget. Today’s trends are toward stainless steel, copper or custom-made stone and marble. For an appliance with a limited but necessary use, the possibilities are nearly endless.