Do you have a Range Hood, and do you actually use your Range Hood in your Kitchen? Regular use of kitchen exhaust ventilation systems can help control excess moisture in the home. Indoor air and human health are major housing issues.
As part of a study of kitchen usage, the Center for Real Life Kitchen Design at Virginia Tech interviewed 78 households, asking many questions about when and how people use Kitchen Range Hoods.
The big three: noise, ignorance and belief that it’s “not necessary.”
The participants in the interview cooked regularly and frequently: 68 percent cooked complete meals five or more times per week and 97 percent prepared dinner on a regular basis.
The majority of participants (84 percent) had electric ranges, but most also owned a microwave oven. An interesting finding is that 32 percent used the microwave oven about the same as their range top, and 31 percent used the microwave oven more than the range top.
Most of the participants (92 percent) reported having mechanical kitchen ventilation systems. The most common type was an updraft system—a hood attached to a cabinet over the cook top or range. The most common features in the ventilation systems were a light (91 percent) and a multi-speed fan (84 percent). Over half of these systems (55 percent) were routed to the outside; however, 17 percent of the participants did not know if their ventilation systems exhausted to the outside.
Here’s the really interesting part: Only 8 percent of the participants used their ventilation system whenever they cooked, while 8 percent used ventilation “almost never,” and 15 percent used ventilation only “once in a while.”
The table describes the most frequent reasons that people cited for using or not using their kitchen ventilation systems. The most common reasons cited for using a kitchen ventilation system were to control odors and smoke. Noise was the most common reason for avoiding the kitchen ventilation system.
Participants gave various reasons for using their kitchen ventilation systems specifically with cook top cooking, typically to solve problems with odor, smoke and steam. Kitchen ventilation was less common when only the oven was being used: 46 percent never used ventilation, while 28 percent only used ventilation for oily/greasy foods and 17 percent for smelly foods.
The Energy Star website includes a searchable database that you can use.
One of the best innovations in range hood technology in recent years has been particle and heat-sensing devices. In our view, these devices should become the de facto standard across the industry. Further, it’s time for range hoods to be integrated with the Internet of Things. For homeowners, reluctant or not, there would be clear health benefits to regular use of range hoods. And for those who choose not to use the hoods, devices that are “smart” can automatically kick on anyway, clearing the air for everyone else who lives in the building. For more information be sure to Contact your local Kitchen Designer to get a personalized approach at picking the right Range Hood for you.
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