Kitchen Ventilation


Kitchen Ventilation

In many homes, cooking is the largest indoor source of air pollutants. Exposures can be higher in the kitchen compared to other places in the home. We can still enjoy the many benefits of cooking by installing and using range hoods that vent to the outdoors. This group will promote discussion about how to select effective range hoods, strategies to improve the efficiency of existing ventilation systems for kitchen pollutants, and what to do in homes that don’t have ducting already installed above the range. It will also touch on cooking and health studies, and how to reduce emissions through different cooking practices and appliance use.

Members: 38
Latest Activity: on Monday

Discussion Forum

Difficult retrofits

Started by Don Fugler. Last reply by Dennis Heidner on Monday. 8 Replies

It is one thing to retrofit a range hood in a single family building with the stove against an outside wall. Conditions will often be more difficult than that. How do you retrofit a range hood into…Continue

Kitchen Ventilation Resources

Started by Tom Phillips. Last reply by Tom Phillips Apr 8. 3 Replies

Here are my top resources for 1) general overviews and summaries, and 2) guidance and tools for selecting, designing, and installing kitchen range hood systems.(PDF attached)The items are annotated…Continue

Depressurization/make-up air issues

Started by Don Fugler. Last reply by Dennis Heidner Apr 5. 40 Replies

One of the issues to consider when adding a range hood, or replacing one, is whether it will cause depressurization problems in the house. If the exhaust flow of a range hood (or any other fan)…Continue

Recirculating hoods

Started by Don Fugler. Last reply by Dennis Heidner Apr 3. 1 Reply

Beloved by builders, scorned by building scientists, and largely ignored by homeowners, recirculating hoods have a mixed reception. They do not require a wall penetration. They will not cause house…Continue

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Comment by Alice La Pierre on February 22, 2019 at 1:55pm

I volunteer with a non-profit that provides free home repairs for low income seniors and people with disabilities.  One of the most common things we see is bad kitchen ventilation.  By "bad", I mean really, really bad.  In one case, the elderly homeowner had hired a big box home supply store's contractors to come out and install a new  kitchen fan.  After it was installed, she kept setting off the smoke-CO detectors in her house every time she cooked, so, of course, she disabled them. 

I did an assessment, and discovered that the fan motor had burned out, and the fan blades weren't spinning.  A further inspection showed that not only weren't they spinning, but the knock-out panels behind the motor were still in place -- no air was getting past them.

We installed a new kitchen exhaust fan, with proper venting, the following weekend, just in time for her to have the family over for Hannuka and make a bazillion latkes.  And this time, the smoke/CO alarms didn't go off.

Comment by Rob on October 25, 2018 at 1:48pm


Please see two recent ROICS team member presentations from the North American Passive House Network 2018 conference held in Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Linda Wigington presented Beyond Dilution: Reducing Exposure to Particle Pollution in High Performance Homes.

  • Tom Phillips presented Healthy Kitchen Ventilation: Best Practices in Low-E Homes

PDF's of the presentations are available here.

Comment by Don Fugler on May 18, 2018 at 3:05pm


Thanks for that. It is good to hear about specific interventions like yours. The data from our particle monitoring in Pittsburgh homes shows that cooking with electric stovetops generates similar amounts of particles compared to gas. There have been many studies that indicate NOx is far higher in houses with gas stoves. If you switched from a gas cooktop to an electric induction, you would see a drop in both particles and NOx when cooking.

Comment by Alice La Pierre on May 17, 2018 at 3:43pm

A couple of factors influence how well emissions can be reduced from cooking.  The obvious one is switching to electric, or electric induction, to eliminate particulates from natural gas combustion.  But the other less obvious one is the height of the vent hood.

In residential applications, code likes it to be between 26 --30 inches, but local codes can drop this down to 18" or allow it to be as high as 36".

The higher the vent hood, the fewer particulates will be drawn in.  My preference for my own vent hood was 30", to prevent the head-bonking aspects of a lower hood.  Eighteen inches seems to be far too low to be comfortable for the chef.

My own personal story:  In 2012, we did a major renovation to the house, which included draft sealing and additional insulation, new insulated wood windows, and building a second wall on the exterior of our 1923 stucco Craftsman house in Berkeley, CA.  This resulted in a dramatic drop in the use of our natural gas furnace and electricity , and increased comfort for all occupants.

During the retrofit, we didn't have the funds to replace our vintage Wedgewood style gas stove with pilot lights, but we added, for the first time, a ventilation hood.  After four years, i was diagnosed with the beginning stages of asthma, and was given an inhaler to use.  The symptoms were especially bad first thing in the morning.  With testing, we were able to eliminate allergies to dogs, pollen, mold, and other common allergens.  The one thing they couldn't test for was natural gas particulates, but I had a sense that this was the cause of the illness.

In November 2016, did research into induction ranges; the price had come down, and Consumer Reports rated one from Sears quite highly.  For less than $1,000, i could swap out the old gas stove, install a new 40-amp circuit (another $400), and install an induction range., just in time for all that holiday cooking.

Within two weeks, my asthma symptoms disappeared, and have not returned. Moreover, there was no significant increase in our electricity consumption, just a slight bump for all that holiday cooking, but it was mostly offset by our solar PV.

Your mileage may vary, but this seems to be a winning combination in our house:  A very tight envelope, good ventilation, and an induction range.


Members (38)


Discussion Forum

Difficult retrofits

Started by Don Fugler. Last reply by Dennis Heidner on Monday. 8 Replies

Kitchen Ventilation Resources

Started by Tom Phillips. Last reply by Tom Phillips Apr 8. 3 Replies

Depressurization/make-up air issues

Started by Don Fugler. Last reply by Dennis Heidner Apr 5. 40 Replies

Recirculating hoods

Started by Don Fugler. Last reply by Dennis Heidner Apr 3. 1 Reply

Good Eating with Reduced Cooking Emissions

Started by Linda Wigington. Last reply by Tom Phillips Dec 27, 2018. 7 Replies

Choosing a range hood

Started by Don Fugler. Last reply by Tom Phillips Sep 25, 2018. 7 Replies

Low velocity consequences

Started by Robert Bean. Last reply by Robert Bean Jun 14, 2018. 7 Replies

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