Like many kitchen accessories and cookware, range hoods have developed a balance of function and beauty. While hoods were originally developed to remove cooking odors and smoke from the home, they have also come to serve as design statements in many kitchens.
Range Hoods and Health Issues
The purpose of a kitchen hood is to clear the air while making a meal. Cooking on the stove can produce steam, grease and moisture which can cloud the air in the kitchen and spread to other areas of the house. Smoke and airborne chemicals are also released in cooking. While it is well known that second-hand smoke does damage to the respiratory system, cooking smoke can also harm the lungs. When food is fried in oil, oil particles are released into the air which is then inhaled. Additionally, when food is burnt a carcinogenic smoke is emitted. These particles and smoke can linger in the kitchen if it is not properly removed. High quality kitchen hoods vacuum contaminated air out of the kitchen and replace it with fresh air. Kitchen hoods can do more than just clear the air; they clean it as well and make it safe to breathe.
Ducted vs. Ductless Range Hoods
Homeowners have a choice between either ducted or ductless range hoods. The ducted or vented range hood vacuums the air above the range and releases it outside of the home. This type of hood is the most effective at removing contaminated air and cooking odors. In fact, restaurants are required by the federal government to have ducted hoods in the kitchen. However, not all homeowners have the ability or the kitchen layout to install a ducted system. The solution is a ductless range hood. Ductless range hoods do not replace the contaminated air with fresh air, but instead use filters to clean the air. The air gets sucked through the filter and then distributed back into the house. Using a ductless hood with a charcoal filter will remove most smells and refresh the air.
Range Hood Options
Range hoods have a functional purpose but they have also become kitchen design elements. Homeowners can choose between wall-mounted and ceiling hanging kitchen hoods, as well as combination hoods which have elements of each style. The wall-mounted units sit against the wall and can be placed under cabinetry. Ceiling hanging hoods can be used for stovetops that are in kitchen islands or in wall cabinetry. Kitchen hoods are typically made from metal and are available in a variety of finishes, from copper to stainless steel. Homeowners can choose a hood that brings a contemporary edge to their kitchen or they can opt for something more traditional. Manufacturers of kitchen hoods offer a wide variety of aesthetic options.
For more information on choosing a range hood see the following article from HomeDoctor.net: Choosing a Range Hood.