Building codes require a kitchen-range hood for dispersing moisture, odors, fumes and heat from the immediate area during cooking. To comply, homeowners have various options that can be grouped into two categories: exhaust fans that vent outdoors and exhaust fans that don’t.
The best kitchen ventilation system includes an in-line exhaust fan that vents outdoors. It pulls polluted air out of the kitchen through ducting and exhausts it through a vent in the roof. In some situations, the vent may be located in an exterior wall. In-line exhaust fans are quiet, reliable, efficient and economical, and they keep kitchen counters, walls, floors and furniture cleaner for longer than non-venting fans do. And Energy Star-qualified models, more than 50 percent quieter than standard models, are available.
In contrast, kitchen exhaust fans that don't vent outside simply recirculate the polluted air around the kitchen. They’re also noisy, which can deter homeowners from using them.
A kitchen ventilation system that includes an in-line exhaust fan typically has six components. Beginning in the kitchen and ending at the roof, they're usually encountered in this sequence: hood, back-draft damper, ducts, duct attenuator, fan and termination device. Here’s how they’re installed:
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