Ventilation Systems

Ventilation, or the process of moving inside air to the outside, is necessary to remove pollutants and contaminants from the interior air. Ventilation can be mechanical by pulling the air through filters through the use of fans, or natural vents in an attic or basement that prevent molds and rot from forming.

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Mechanical Kitchen Ventilation System

A mechanical kitchen ventilation and exhaust system, where air is pulled through a hood or vent, is a necessity in any home to eliminate odors, moisture, heat, steam, and carbon monoxide caused by cooking that would otherwise damage insulation, paint, wall paper, or any other interior finish. There are basic wall mount ventilation units as well as slim hood designs that slide out from cabinet units placed over the stove or gas burning range. Mechanical ventilation units may also be elaborate duct systems with added convenience in maintenance and abilities. However, any ducting for the fans that may pass through another, unheated level or space such as an attic, needs to be insulated to prevent moisture from forming on the ducts.

Parts of the Kitchen Ventilation System

Fans and filters are the most important components of ventilation units, as the fans are responsible for pulling the air through the filter which in turn traps particles that may cause clogs and cause a fire hazard. The filter should be easily removable for maintenance and cleaning. A kitchen ventilation system should be as wide as the range or stovetop, but does not have to appear purely utilitarian. The hood may be custom-designed or have a decorative canopy in order to improve its aesthetics.

Ventilation Systems: Cautions and Tips

In an attic or basement, natural ventilation is necessary in order to prevent excessive humidity which can cause mold and rot to form as well as to vent humid, moist air which will reduce any effect of insulation the home may have. Air from other parts of the house should never be ventilated into the attic, but always to an outside duct, especially vents placed in the bathroom and laundry room where there is a high amount of warm, moist air. Mechanical ventilation systems are not usually necessary in an attic and may in fact interfere with furnace and air-conditioning units, while pairs of vents, one pair placed low on the roof, the other high, increase cross-ventilation. Basement vents should never be closed or blocked as the mold and rot that will form can cause serious structural damage.