Range Hood Document

ROCIS ISSUE BRIEF

Thomas J. Phillips
ROCIS Principal Investigator
January 2018

 

Ducted Range Hoods:

Recommendations for New and Existing Homes

 

WHAT is a ducted range hood?

Ducted range hoods are metal or glass devices installed above stoves and ovens. Usually shaped like an inverted funnel or bowl to capture the cooking emissions, they employ a fan and ductwork to remove pollutants directly to the outdoors. Range hoods are also known as kitchen hoods, exhaust hoods, fan hoods, and extractor hoods. Some microwave ovens mounted above stovetops also have an exhaust fan and ducting to move cooking emissions outdoors. However, ductless (or recirculating) range hoods lack a vent to the outside and do not effectively remove cooking emissions, even if the hood has grease, particle, or charcoal filters. (Note: the following recommendations will only be referring to ducted (vented) range hoods that exhaust to the outside of homes, unless specified otherwise.)

 

WHY do homes need a ducted range hood?

Cooking produces odor, moisture, and air pollutant emissions in homes, whether done with a gas or an electric appliance (Fortmann et al. 2001, Zhang et al. 2010; Dennekamp et al. 2001; Perrot et al. 2003; Fluckiger et al. 2000; Jørgensen et al. 2013; Svedahl et al. 2009; Arbex et al. 2007). Indoor pollutant levels from cooking can exceed health guidelines for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and aldehydes, especially for gas stoves (Fortmann 2001; J.M. Logue et al. 2011; Singer et al. 2017). These pollutants can increase the risk of both short-term and long-term health effects (Coker et al. 2015; Belanger et al. 2006). Residential cooking or space heating with a gas stove has been associated with respiratory problems in children (Dekker et al. 2001; Coker et al. 2015), especially in unventilated kitchens (Kile et al. 2014). Cooking can also emit potent mutagens and carcinogens into the air (Sjaastad et al. 2010; Felton 1995; Knize 2006; FCI FAQ 2015; Poudel et al. 2017; Sohn 2017), and the large amounts of moisture emitted by cooking can increase the risk of bio-allergens such as mold, bacteria, and dust mites multiplying in a home (US EPA 2015).

Using a range hood can help reduce pollutant exposures and health impacts from cooking, by keeping emissions from spreading into and lingering in a home (Kile et al. 2014; Pacitto et al. 2018; Jacobs & Borsboom 2017; Fortmann 2001; Peters & Borsboom 2017; Fluckiger et al. 2000; Singer et al. 2017). Opening windows alone is not nearly as effective as a good range hood, especially when wind speeds are low or outdoor pollutant levels are high. Range hoods also help cool a house by removing excess heat and moisture from cooking. They are required for new home construction, major remodels, and additions, and recommended by green and healthy building programs (Build It Green 2017; EPA 2015; USGBC 2017), ventilation industry standards (ASHRAE 62.2), and state and local building codes (Stratton & Singer 2015).

 

WHO needs a ducted range hood?

Everybody who cooks with a stove or oven needs to use a range hood – especially if your household includes children, persons with asthma or other respiratory diseases, the elderly, or persons sensitive to odors. The more burners you use, the longer you cook, and the more the cooking produces odors, smoke, or moisture, the more you need to use effective kitchen exhaust ventilation. Range hoods are also essential for smaller homes with less volume to dilute the cooking emissions. Anybody planning a new home, remodel, or replacement of any range hood should take advantage of the opportunity to install a better range hood system.

 

WHEN AND HOW do I need to operate a ducted range hood?

 

HOW do I select a “good” ducted range hood?

The best range hood to meet your needs depends on your building and appliance characteristics, your type of cooking, your household’s sensitivity to odor, pollutants, and noise, and your budget. (See SUPPLEMENT: Criteria for Selecting an Effective Ducted Range Hood)

 

Some cautions:

 

WHAT ELSE can I do?

Regardless of whether you have an effective vented range hood, there are some easy ways to further reduce indoor pollution exposures from cooking and to improve pollutant removal by the hood, including reducing cooking emissions and funneling the plume into the hood. (See SUPPLEMENT: Easy Ways to Reduce Exposures to Cooking Pollutants.)

 


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Fellow ROCIS team members Linda Wigington, Don Fugler, and Rob Busher provided the encouragement and assistance that made this project happen. Numerous technical experts provided invaluable input on draft versions of this document, helping to greatly improve this version. The creativity and generosity of the numerous researchers who provided the evidence supporting this document was amazing. We are especially thankful to the Heinz Foundation for partial support for this project.

 

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