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Community and Q&A

Range hoods: a necessary evil?

Peter L | Posted in Building Code Questions on

If one is only installing an electric convection cook top (no gas) and does not cook greasy foods. Are range hoods still necessary?

I don’t like range hoods and from what I gather local code does not require them as long as you are not using a gas cook top. If you have the latter, you are stuck installing one because gas & propane requires outside venting. I find range hoods to be a counterproductive item inside of a tight home. In addition, the gas cook top produces nasty CO, NO2 and other deadly toxins. Building a home with low VOC’s and products that don’t off-gas, then only to install a carbon monoxide producing appliance in your kitchen, with a range hood that pulls out conditioned air, makes no sense.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    If your local building code does not require the installation of a range hood fan, it's up to you to decide whether to install one.

    While it is true that electric stoves don't produce the combustion byproducts that are produced by a gas stove, there are still several good reasons why you might want a range hood exhaust fan. Ordinary cooking produces particulates and various gases that may be detrimental to the health of occupants who breathe them. (Of course, cooking also produces delicious odors that we all enjoy.) Even if you don't fry food or grill meat, your house will probably last for decades, and some future resident may have different cooking practices from your cooking practices.

    But the bottom line is -- it's your house.

  2. Jin Kazama | | #2

    Completely unecessary ....

    if you are using your stove only to boil up water, cook pasta, rice etc..

    On the other hand, if you enjoy degreasing your wall/cabinets weekly, and the smell of burned butter all over the house !

    Kitchen exhaust fan is a necessity.
    It can be designed to have minimal impact on energy, you need to strive away from the latest trend of fashion designed block fans that pulls 1400cfm to do so.

    If you want to recude the energy impact,
    look for a very large tapered hood similar to the ones used in restaurants,
    and then look for a quality, low cfm fan with speed control.

    BTW, if you are in a cooling climate ...exhausting the heat generated by your coooking appliances is not something to be seen as negative.

    I can tell you that we heat up our very large kitchen for quite some time with the heat from our stove set at 500F for pizza during winter :)

  3. Peter L | | #3

    I spoke with the local building code department and they DO NOT require me to have a kitchen range hood. So I have decided to not install one in my future home design. We almost never cook anything greasy or smelly and it will be a 100% electric induction top. We can always open a window to ventilate the once a year cooking smells we might create.

    I can save money and energy by not having to buy and install a range hood and not having to poke a hole in my roof or wall. The current home we live in, we almost never turn on the range hood, maybe once a year.

  4. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #4


    You probably are aware of the recirculating range hoods with charcoal filters. Over the years, they've gotten a bad rap, but I think they are a good choice in an energy efficient home. Then install a Panasonic WhisperComfort spot ERV near the kitchen (but not close to the stove). It can bring in fresh air with a 3X smaller energy penalty:

  5. Jin Kazama | | #5

    Peter: at least consider recirculating or air filtering options.

    But you ain't going to use it ... just don't push it on the energy penalty, because it ain't an acceptable reason not to install one.

  6. Peter L | | #6

    I will have a HRV system in the home that will have a line coming into the kitchen area. Of course it will be away from the stove area but in the vicinity of the kitchen so that it can remove stale or smelly air from the kitchen.

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