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Do You Own a VENT A HOOD Exhaust Hood Over Your Stove??

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  • MarkG Jan 19, 2007 12:05 AM
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there is what seems to be a complex internal cleaning process because the oil that is sucked up by the fan is collected in a internal collection unit. and there are other maintenance issues as well. do you do this maintenance on your own?? will vent a hood dealers do it for a price?? for those remodeling, Vent A Hood is just outstanding though the unit we have is so loud, you cant hear the phone. But it sucks up cooking oil like a dream.

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  1. http://www.ventahood.com/magiclung.jsp

    "The Magic Lung® housing snaps apart for easy cleaning in the dishwasher or with warm, soapy water."

    It's not complex, just follow the instructions that came with your VAH...

    Joe B.
    VAH SLXH18-236 Owner

    1. I too own Vent-A-Hood, but I have to say that after reading about how Chef Thomas Keller has someone clean the hood in his kitchen everyday (perfectionist that he is), I tried to do the same for about two days and decided that three Michelin stars would not be coming my way anytime soon regardless of the state of my VAH.

      1. This is an old post but I thought I'd reply to hopefully help someone avoid the problems that I have due to buying a Vent-A-Hood.
        First: Although this "Magic Lung" nonsense looks great on paper, it doesn't work.
        They tell you that: "The Magic Lung® housing snaps apart for easy cleaning in the dishwasher or with warm, soapy water. Moreover, the Magic Lung® is the only ventilation system that collects the grease in the easily cleaned housing rather than in hard-to-reach areas behind a mesh or baffle filter".
        And go on to say: " The Magic Lung® blower system is designed so that if the motor is running properly, the system will liquefy grease in the sealed blower housing and create a pressure barrier, lowering the risk of an attic or wall fire".
        Well I've had a 42 inch dual blower Vent-A-Hood over my 36 inch Viking Range for two years now. Here's what REALLY happens:
        The grease that collects (along with the dust because there is no filter) in the housing does NOT just remain in the housing. It gets everywhere. Both blowers get completely covered with grease and dirt. The grease also is blown up the vent causing the vent to become filthy too. This thing takes HOURS to clean. I should know. I started cleaning mine at 4PM today and I'm not finished yet and it's 7:30. I took a break to write this.
        As far as their statement that "the system will liquefy grease in the sealed blower housing and create a pressure barrier,".....this is laughable. Sealed blower housing? There are two flimsy plastic flaps that create about as much of a seal as a piece of scotch tape on a fire hose.
        As far as the claim that it's quiet: It's not. True, if you only have it on low speed it is fairly quiet. But unless you are only simmering something on one burner, low speed is not going to do much. High speed is loud.
        Another problem is their customer support. It's non-existent.
        I had installation and technical questions when I bought mine and it took weeks to get an answer from them.
        Also after mine was installed I had to call them again because it was vibrating. They sent out a service tech who told that the housing was not sealing against the hood. The fix? I have to buy and install weather stripping everytime I clean it.
        I should mention that I am a mechanic and very technically capable. I'd hate to think how the average person would deal with this.
        Well that's my Vent-A-Hood review.
        I have to go back and continue cleaning it for another hour.

        My advice is this: Due some research and buy something else. And don't do what I did and rely on the hype that the manufacturers and sales people push. Check out installed units and talk to people who use it.

        Joe

        12 Replies
        1. re: joe_the_cook

          It's hard to jump in and respond to someone who's so obviously frustrated/irritated with a piece of equipment. But this is so excessively negative, I kinda feel like I have to.

          We have a 42" x 27" VAH over a 36" Bluestar. Maybe we don't drive our range as hard as you do. But I've cleaned the hood once in the almost a year we've been using it (due to clean again fairly soon). And I didn't think it was that big of a deal, maybe 45 minutes. There was some oil that'd collected in the baffle- it came out easily. The rest I just went over with hot soapy water and Windex to clean it up. Was it perfect? No. The oil/grease polymerizes some and unless you got medieval on it with oven cleaner, it isn't all coming off. Not the end of the world. Now that I think about it, I suspect I did use the oven cleaner to make quick work of the gooey stuff.

          I agree that the plastic flaps are dinky. I've thought about making up some aluminum or stainless ones to replace them (or putting a backdraft damper from FanTech in the vent duct). Honestly, I'm not concerned about any residual grease that gets into the duct. I buy into the claim that most of it is getting thrown out of the airflow by the blowers. Trying to clean up into the duct just seems way too fussy to me. Besides, I'm sure there's some carryover even in filtered hoods- it's not like they have pleated paper filters, so there are open passages for air to go straight through.

          As for the seal/vibration, maybe there's some solution that doesn't require replacement every time you clean. For us, one fan on low is sufficient 95% of the time. Sure, going to high speed on one or two fans gets loud when you're standing at the range. I pretty much expect for a range hood to make some noise or else it isn't doing its job (as an aside, that's unlike Panasonic bath fans, which are super quiet). I don't expect to be enjoying a bit of Mozart as I sear my steak. It's probably a good thing- if something's going on that requires that much ventilation, I probably ought to be paying pretty close attention to it. And both fans running on high will pull out about as much smoke as I can generate with a wok running on a 22k Btu burner- that's pretty comforting to me.

          As for technical support, reading between the lines, I suspect that you sent them an e-mail and didn't hear back in a timely fashion. I have seen this kind of comment a lot with folks dealing with various sectors of the manufacturing industry. Even in the super-wired times we live in, the best advice I can give (to anyone) is this: If you have a time-critical problem or information need, pick up the phone and call.

          When I was getting ready to order a duct cover for our hood, I got excellent advice from our local distributor. The problem was that the length I needed wasn't available as standard, and I didn't want to wait for the time to get the custom length fabricated (9-12 weeks, IIRC). The guy I spoke to had previously spent a lot of time installing hoods. His suggestion, which ended up working great, was to get the next size up and cut a hole in the ceiling and just slide the extra length up into the attic. That plus a little caulk, and you'd never know.

          Anyway, there are a lot of hood brands out there, and definitely several that are cheaper than VAH. With the exception of Broan, I don't think any of them have the kind of track record that VAH has.

          We're happy with ours. Sorry that you're so annoyed.

          1. re: ted

            ted,
            we're considering exactly the same combination you wrote about - are you happy with your blue star and ventahood 4 years later? any recommendations?

            1. re: scottms

              Sorry for the slow response- been out of town for work for several days and mostly out in the heat instead of in front of the computer.

              Yes, we're still happy. I did finally replace the plastic flappers in the VAH with homemade metal ones that are a big improvement. Gives me a little more comfort that less heat is wafting up the exhaust duct in the winter. When we got several days in the teens this winter (unusual for GA), I was stuffing a towel in there and that was the impetus to finally make the replacement flaps.

              I need to replace my burner igniter modules. I found a good price online for a single one that handles all 6 burners. I believe this is the one that BS uses as stock now. Unfortunately it will require a little tweaking to retrofit the one to replace the two that are installed. Have been so busy lately that I just haven't had time to sit down and tackle it.

              I'm hoping this will address our issues (multiple burners won't shut off the igniter after lighting). I have replacement Viking-style electrodes also, but that may be more difficult to trade out. There was a poster on THS who had done this and put up a description of what he did.

              For 5+ years out with good use, I'm not upset at all that a couple of parts need replacing. I tried to save a few bucks by picking up parts from other sources, so it's on me to get it to work. If you read my other posts, I also replaced the oven thermostat about 18 months ago. No problems with that since.

              1. re: ted

                Thanks for the response Ted. I called Blue Star and apparently they have changed the igniters to individual units on each burner that are "easy to replace" as they do tend to crack if they get wet. They supply two extra with each new stove and apparently they are quite inexpensive if you need more. They claim that this igniter set up is needed because of the open burners that are the hallmark of the range and well worth the bother. We'll probably pullt he trigger and buy the range and hood this week as we love to cook and have been suffering for years with low end (mostly electric) ranges.

                1. re: scottms

                  The electrodes (igniters) have always been one per burner. There were 2 modules that fire them, but I believe that's changed to one module for all 6 burners. The module(s) are in the control panel behind the burner knobs.

                  The electrodes are maybe a $5 part. BS charges $25-$30 (IIRC). The ones I picked up were much closer to the $5 price point. But they're going to require a little work to replace. The other issue that applies to either is that the tiny screws that hold the electrode to the burner from beneath seem to rust out over time. That makes getting them loose or replacing them tough.

          2. re: joe_the_cook

            Oh man where to begin......
            Well the weather stripping is doing little...actually it's hindering things. It's letting you ignore the real problem, the fan is vibrating.

            Vibrating = Out of balance
            Since it was new you should have told the installers to march up and balance the thing. Next time the fan is cleaned have it balanced then.

            Also turn fans off before you pull your filters out this will prevent the "grease globs" from being pulled onto the fan, thus causing it to go out of balance. Then wipe the upper track that houses the filters. And of course wipe lower track,and empty drip trays. Then throw cleaned filters back in place.

            Hope this helps.
            Lou (humble hood cleaner)

            1. re: joe_the_cook

              While i can't comment on the cleaning i will say that I am equally disappointed with VAH. It was the most expensive piece of equipment we bought for our kitchen and we have already had three service calls in less than a year. The first was for the dual speed motor, vibrating and noisy at low speed, the second was for the same reason, the third was for the same reason and now we have to have them service it for the fourth time!
              My belief is that the dual speed motor simply does not mechanically work for any length of time. I think that the governor malfunctions as it creates an oscillating sound along with excessive vibration.
              Again this is a brand new unit and really hasn't been used all that much.
              Any comments?

              1. re: bpiwek

                We have a 7 year old Ventahood. Works perfectly. Our model has both a single speed and dual speed blower.

                No issues with vibration or noise. Both blowers on is only marginally louder than the dual speed blower on low.

                Apparently YMMV

              2. re: joe_the_cook

                Thank you. I was thinking that I should get one now I won't

                1. re: knitone

                  Let us know what you get and why you decided on it. Our Ventahood is almost 5 years old and has functioned very well.

                  1. re: knitone

                    We've only had ours a couple of months, so I dare not comment on cleaning, it's still clean. The noise level is so far below where the recycling hood we had was that I perhaps don't notice. We did about 3 years worth of kitchen tours and listened to every vent hood we could. I can't say any were significantly less noisy than the Vent-a-Hood, even the one with the remote fan was only maybe slightly quieter. We have the 42" Euro wall hood, don't know if that makes any difference or not. It ended up being the only, what I would call high end vent that we could actually find a demo of in an appliance show room. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the relatively smaller metro area we live in and the proxsimity to the factory. Although I'm sure there are other hoods with simialr features, there are some neat things on the VAH. I typically turn the fan on low just to pull out fumes and gases, but it automatically turns up the fan when the heat sensor detects you have an excess of heat building up, so when I was boiling water for cannolini and also boiling water to wilt the spinich, it jumped to a higher fan speed and then back down again when things cooled off a little. So far we've been pleased with this hood.

                  2. re: joe_the_cook

                    I installed Vent a hood in 1986 and we have been using it since then (for 26 years). My wife cooks Indian food on an industrial scale. My kitchen ceiling is white and it is till today looks as white as it was painted 26 years ago. There is no layer of oily film to speak of. I paid $550 then for the unit with two blower (650 cfm). I have a PHD in Physices, I can tell you The Magic Lung blower system is the best design to get the maximum air flow into the blowe without any resistance. Yes, you have to clean it. You don't need to clean the squirrel cages, if they are too dirty, you can buy them for a#12/piece. They beed to be balanced just like your car tire. For your information; anything which is rotating at high speed around any axis needs to be balance to avoid vobbul and subsequent vibration. Your mechanics did not understand the fundamental . The sealed blower means you do not need to oil the motor. We remodeling our kitchen and I am going to replace my 26 years old Vent A Hood (worling perfectly) with a stainless steel chimney model. I don't think there is any hood in the market today with this kind of efficiency. My neibours say when my wife cooks, they savour the the Biryanee smell and that spicy aroma the hood sucks out, leaving no aerosol particles to lingler around to be absorbed by your clothings, hair and carpet. All my Asian and Indian friends use Vent A Hood far longr than you have. No one have evern complained about maintainance. Remember, even Toyota Camry needs regular mainainance.

                    SVP

                  3. I'm with Joe on this one. I'm not the cook, but I'm the guy that cleans the hood. I'm also the guy who, in spite of a degree in physics, fell for the line spun by VentaHood. I should be ashamed. Ours is old -- about 15 years -- and it only has one speed (the right speed for getting the grease out of the air!!). It's noisy. Neither the cook nor I like it.
                    I confess, I don't clean it often, and when I do, the fan 'squirrel cage' usually needs to be cleaned. It's hard to get off, it's hard to clean, and it's hard to put back on.They could have designed that better! My planned solution is to buy some of the metal filters for a Sears hood and jury rig a mounting for them.

                    1. Hi,
                      Has anyone had this problem with their VAH? Mine is about 15 years old. The main problem is that the underside paint is peeling terribly, so much so that I am worried about the paint falling into my food. Anyone ever had this problem? Any ideas short of buying another one?
                      Thanks,
                      Anne
                      Anne

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: alennox

                        Git rid of the paint, it's not suppose to be there. I see many like this and like yours the stuff is peeling and falling off ...... so what do the restaurant owner often do?

                        Repaint it!!...............grr Ever wonder of the accumulation of bacteria in that paint?

                        Just have it cleaned to bare metal....that's what code (NFPA 96) recommends.

                        Hope it helps
                        Lou (humble hood cleaner)

                         
                        1. re: LouG

                          You are sooo right...NFPA 96...the system is clean when you see "Bare Metal". Remember not to ONLY pay attention to what you can see...the real problems occur in the shaft and the fan because of heavy accumulations passing the filters and collecting, this causes a real fire hazard...it can take only one spark to ignite if not properly maintained...especially if you are dealing with a commercial fan...all the moving parts, belts and so on....friction causes heat all the built up grease is fuel for the fire...so if your fan starts squeaking you need to check your belt and possibly grease the bearings do what you can to maintain a fire-safe place...www.standard-safety.com

                           
                           
                      2. I just have to say, that I have been selling these hoods for 30 years, and they are the least service-issue hood we sell and the quietest. If yours is loud I will bet you my house that it is an install problem........it always is when we hear this complaint. Call the manufacturer and they will help.......they are an amazing team. They have been making these hoods for over 70 years, and they've got it right............truly.

                        1. I know this comes too late to respond to the original poster....but, in defense of Vent a Hood, I've had mine for 26 yrs over my stove (single) and over my gas grill (double blower/grill in kitchen). My hood is about 10' long. I use my grill at least 4 times a week for all these years and I've never had a problem with the hood...other than the grease build up. My hood vents through the roof and I've actually had commercial restaurant steam cleaning from the roof down and from the hood up. They cover all electric and it's worked fine....but after so many years, I do finally have to replace the single. My question...do you know if they sell just the snap on motor/blowers and has the style changed in 25 yrs?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JoiedvPBGV

                            I have a VAH over a 45" electric cooktop, and like others bought it because of the no-filter characteristic. It's been in place for about 8 years.

                            As to noise, I agree with everyone that says the thing is ridiculously loud, even with only one of the two fans operating.

                            We did have to get a VAH tech in, not long after the install, because the vibration was also ridiculous. Tech blamed it on the installer, of course; said "someone must have bent one of the fan blades". He did replace that motor/blower though, "since it's under warranty anyhow, although technically we're not supposed to do that if it was damaged during installation". I got the impression he was looking for a tip for the "favor", btw.

                            As to cleaning, ironically I have not yet had to do that because shortly after we moved in, we switched to a vegetarian and low-fat diet -- thus no frying, grilling, or other grease-producing cooking takes place on the range. So pretty much the main thing the VAH has had to handle in 7 1/2 yrs is steam from pasta cooking! Thus, I've seen no reason to get crazy with cleaning the thing, especially since I'm house-hunting at the moment and if the next owner of my house cooks differently, they'll have to deal with the vent-cleaning issue, not me. :-)

                            Sure hope they have earplugs handy for when they turn the thing on, though.

                            However, the halogen lights on the VAH are very good, I will say that, LOL!

                          2. My wife and I have owned a dual-fan Vent-A-Hood for about 11 years now. Although it does its job nicely, it is a bit hard to clean. I can deal with nearly the entire cleaning process until I get to the two little flipper panels that are mounted directly above both fans. The two small panels that get blown into an upright position while the fans are blowing, and then "should" flip down to cover the vent passages when the fans are shut off.

                            I still can't seem to get those two little flippers very clean...if cleaned at all. Any suggestions? They are so saturated with very sticky grease and tend to stick in the up position from time to time.

                            Thanks folks...great blog.

                            Gramps.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Grampa Doodie

                              A friend taught me to mix ~1 cup of baking soda and ~ 1 teaspoon salt with water to form a paste-like consistency. This paste is great for cleaning grease. (I get the 10 lb. bag of baking soda from Costco.) I use it to clean all the removable parts of the hood as well as the entire hood and it really works. I dip the surface of a sponge in the mixture then rub it across the greasy surfaces (with the grain of stainless steel). The grease seems to absorb into the baking soda mixture and forms clumps. Then just rinse with water or wipe the residue off with a clean soft towel that you frequently rinse. The best part is that you don't get any cleaning chemicals near your food prep area, and it's cheap! Good luck.

                              1. re: challenged

                                Thanks Challenged...I'll certainly give your "brew" a try on the very greasy parts.

                                I've tried many stainless steel cleaners and polishes on the actual hood with pretty good results. Zep, Oven Magic, Rubbermaid, etc. So far what I have learned is that if your hood has any amount of grease on it (I'm talking the exterior now), you might have better luck with a "cleaner" during your first stage of cleaning, and not anything with the word "polish" in it's title. I usually hit the outer parts of the hood a couple times with the Rubbermaid Stainless Steel Cleaner and paper towels, and then finish it off with some polish. Seems to work fine for me.

                                As for the interior...same Rubbermaid Stainless Steel cleaner with lots of elbow grease. (Pun intended.)

                                All in all, my wife and I love our VAH over our DCS cooktop.

                                Gramps.

                            2. Over the past 20 years or so, we've remodeled three or four kitchens and put pro-style or real commercial ranges in all of them, with 48 or 60" VAH's above, and have been pretty happy with all of them. All the ranges have been pretty high output and I am known for kicking up lots of smoke and grease.

                              The VAH's clean up as advertised, at least for me. I don't know why it would take a whole day. They snap apart with two buckles over each blower unit and go right into the dishwasher. While they are on the potscrubber cycle I hit the back wall with some 409 spray; the hardest part is climbing up on the stovetop.

                              I don't find them particularly loud; the loudest part is the air rushing through the vents, not the sound of the motor. The biggest annoyance is that on our oldest unit, I can't replace the low-output fluorescents with the newer halogens. We did have one fan out of balance; it was a thirty second fix with an Allan wrench.

                              Every time I do another remodel, I look for alternatives just out of curiosity, and when I see the $$ vs. air-draw equation, I just shake my head in bafflement.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: acgold7

                                Thank you to all who answered my question about VAH. We purchased a 42 inch hood and a Wolf basic (no frills) 36 inch range (in the end we were worried about the cleaning of the Blue Star and liked the semi sealed burners on the Wolf. Both have functioned extremely well for the past month. The Wolf is truly an amazing range. The range of gas control from too hot to handle to a perfect simmer (on every one of the 6 burners) has been a pleasure to use. When we uncrated the VAH I looked for the trouble prone plastic flaps and one was a little off angle. Afraid it might vibrate after installation I trimmed it slightly. Installed the hood is quiet and powerful. The controls are a little hard to find at first hidden under the lip but work well. On high the hood lives up to the hype blowing the heat of up to 5 burners going simultaneously out of the house. We have some vines near the exhaust and one can easily see the power of the blowers that are amazingly quiet considering the volume of air being moved. How these extremely expensive appliances will hold up over time and how the VAH will clean are still unknowns for me but our initial opinion is that, if you have the money to spend, they are worth the expense. My wife is a fantastic cook and her food doesn't taste much better than it did on our old flat top electric stove but it's a lot easier (and fun) to cook on the Wolf and some dishes really come out a lot better now (and the only difference is the range). There is no comparison between the VAH and our old microwave hood. Thanks chowhound for your site and to all who contribute.

                                1. re: scottms

                                  Glad it's worked out, you must be having a great time firing up the gas after years of electric.

                                  I've had a 42" VAH over a 36" Blue Star (like Ted) for 5,6 years. I love the BS but I've had my issues with the loud, hard-to-clean VAH -- still, it keeps the air clean & looks great.

                                  For anyone else considering these 2 appliances, here's my .02:

                                  VAH: Talk to your installer/contractor about quieting the operation with installation (remote blower, silencing tricks).

                                  Blue Star: Fabulous American made range & way easier to clean than you'd think, don't let that stop you.

                                  Once you're in the market for these appliances you're often splitting hairs. This must be why most of us are happy with our purchases after making different decisions.

                                  1. re: bungalowbees

                                    If You use a remote blower instead of the standard one, it won't be Vent-a-Hood. You might as well by another hood without an integral blower intended for remote blower use.

                                  2. re: scottms

                                    Good for you that you backed away from the Blue Star. I have had mine for a little over a year - and would never have bought it if I knew then what I know now! I have the cooktop as opposed to the range and that is what, I believe, makes the difference with regard to difficulty of cleaning - AND I CAN'T EVEN USE A GRILL/FLAT TOP piece over two burners --- THIS BURNS THE STAINLESS COOKTOP!! Can you believe!

                                2. We have an old school vintage NuTone exhaust fan like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuc4MV...

                                  I found the one in the video in at neighborhood Dumpster day, and it sold within a week online. People keep emailing me to see if I have another one (I don't), but I think it's funny that this is such a hot item.

                                  It works well, and is easy to clean. It just goes into the wall above the stove. Not much to it, really, and ours is original to our 1949 house. There's something to be said for a durable workhorse like that.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lmure

                                    On lasting extractors. in England.

                                    I have a nine inch VentAxia extractor in my kitchen,
                                    It is the kind of thing you would see in a bar or restaurant and is a bit pricey
                                    but like a good watch , I get pleasure from it every time I look at it.
                                    the first one lasted 20 years, then the motor failed.
                                    15 years ago with new parts fitted it goes like a train.
                                    Every few months I dismantle it and except for the motor, put it on a gentle wash in the dishwasher.

                                    on #1 setting it will remove all cooking steam and put on 'boost' it will suck your socks off..

                                    So, Imure, I agree with you.

                                     
                                  2. I put one in years ago, then moved before I got much use out of it. While I had it, I thought it was terrific! I'm planning to put one in where I live now.

                                    What do you mean maintenance issues? You remove the grease trap and wash it. That's all.

                                    1. We have had a Vent-a-Hood for over three years. The easiest way to clean the hood is to remove the cover(s) as instructed by the manufacturer. Place them on newspapers and wipe off, wipe out any excess and pooled grease with paper towels. Then spray the various parts (including the plastic flaps) with WD-40 and wipe them off with fresh paper towels. WD-40 cuts the grease and makes the cleaning waterless (no rinsing needed). WD-40 also works well on the exterior stainless areas as well as on our range top backsplash.

                                      16 Replies
                                      1. re: TennilleGuy

                                        luckily my wife is the handy one in the family. she is in the process of disassembling and cleaning the vent a hood and it is not an easy or convenient process. i cant imagine many home owners being able to handle this. yet it must be done to avoid a potential hazardous situation I wonder if other brands of hoods are easier to clean

                                        1. re: MarkG

                                          I guess the bottom line is that, if you want to cook like a restaurant, you ought to be prepared to clean like one.

                                          That said, it's not like a 5-gal bucket of hot water and a 1/4 c. of TSP is particularly high tech. You could use dish detergent in it's place, I suppose.

                                          I'd shy away from WD-40 because you're introducing all those aerosol VOCs into your house. Not the healthiest thing to do. Also, I've noticed that the mineral oil "cleaner" we've used for our stainless hood and fridge seems to have polymerized on the outside of the hood. I'd go for something like vinegar Windex or one of the citrus-based degreasers to clean at least the outside of the hood.

                                          1. re: ted

                                            you are greatly underestimating what is involved in disassembling and then re assembling the hood.

                                            1. re: MarkG

                                              What, exactly, do you mean by "disassembling the hood"? I had one years ago, and it was merely a matter of removing a metal box which acted as a grease trap, and which was attached by a couple of latches. Has this mechanism been changed, or are you referring to more extensive disassembly sometimes being required?

                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                First off... TED is correct about WD-40. However, the grease trap can be cleaned this way without too much inhaling of fumes.

                                                Secondly, There is more to this than "merely" cleaning the "box". The two rotary fan blades (white; black) need to be removed (requiring a extended length Allen wrench on the set-screws). These blades accumulate grease and are not easy to clean! Then, they have to be replaced at the proper position and the set-screws retightened.

                                                1. re: TennilleGuy

                                                  OK, but are the fan blades cleaned with the same frequency as the box? I owned one, but didn't have it long enough (about a year) to have to do that.

                                                  Wouldn't any exhaust fan need the blades cleaned periodically?

                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    No, not necessarily at the same frequency, but I've found that it's much easier than letting them accumulate grease that sticks on harder. I've had my unit since '07. Certainly much easier to get to and clean than those hoodless pop-up downdraft units.

                                                    I suppose that most exhaust fans have blades... so?

                                                    1. re: TennilleGuy

                                                      So isn't it necessary to clean any cooking vent system from time to time? The important point is whether cleaning a Vent-a-Hood is easier than cleaning another type of hood, or not. The idea with Vent-a-Hood is that the grease is extracted from the air before it goes into the duct, so the duct should need cleaning less often. Is that true or not?

                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                        To me, the "important point" is whether or not the hood does its job... take fumes and smells out of the kitchen. I cannot answer for all other hoods, but the Vent A--Hood does a good job for us. If I l look up into the duct, directly above the unit, there is very little grease on it.

                                                        If ease of cleaning and a nice clean duct is your primary concern I suspect you are facing a tough choice. Good luck. Let us know, after a year or two, how whatever you choose is working out.

                                                        1. re: TennilleGuy

                                                          To clarify, in the immediately preceding discussion, the question was whether the Vent-a-Hood was difficult to clean. It is in that context that the "important point" is how it compares to others, because any hood system will need cleaning.

                                                          The original post raises a question about the maintenance, not the effectiveness.

                                                    2. re: GH1618

                                                      I don't think you need to pull the squirrel cages (fan impellers or "blades") as often as the fan box. Once you get the long Allen wrench, you have it and it shouldn't be a big deal to take them off.

                                                      Personally, I'd argue against cleaning more than 2x a year. In part because the fan box itself is not stainless steel (nor are the squirrel cages). If you overdo the cleaning, the coating on these steel items will wear out that much quicker, and you'll end up with a rusty box/fans. I really don't think there's an odor issue or fire danger if it isn't full of oil to the point of dripping down on the range.

                                                      To me it's really a "relax, don't worry, have a [insert beverage of choice]" situation.

                                                      1. re: ted

                                                        I have to agree Ted. I've cleaned the impellers/squirrel cages maybe 3 or 4 times in about 12-13 years, the metal fan box probably twice a year, and the inside and outside of the hood itself maybe once a month. Of course this is all directly tied to how much you use your cooktop. Our cooktop consists of 4 burners and a grill. When we use the grill (which isn't all that often), things get pretty dirty. That's to be expected. Same holds true if we pan fry our meals.

                                                        Not too sure if others have experienced this, but our impellers started losing their coating after a few years of use.

                                                        My wife and I enjoy the hood and have to say that it truly does what it's supposed to do. And that is, it takes all smoke, fumes, and grease away from our cooktop. On cold MN winter nights, I can fill our front yard with lots of smoke while grilling some thick steaks.

                                                        Is it a pain to clean? I don't think I'd call it a pain. It takes some time and effort. But in the end, it's doing what it's supposed to do.

                                                        I like your "beverage" comment. :)

                                                        Gramps.

                                                    3. re: TennilleGuy

                                                      We've had a VAH for 19 years and no problems, except cleaning, which I don't do as often as I should. Fairly easy to remove the bottom cover and the box, but I have never cleaned the now very yucky rotary fans. I'd like to take them off and put them in the dishwasher, but can't figure out where the set screws are (probably hidden by built up grease). How extended an Allen wrench do I need and where are the screws?

                                                      1. re: BobInSF

                                                        I must admit I've never removed the squirrel cages either after 18 years. I probably should run them through the DW before their 20th anniversary, I guess.

                                                        The set screws are on the center hub in the back of the blower, inside. A long Allen wrench will be helpful.

                                                        I've always been concerned that if I don't replace them exactly correctly, they'll hit the housing and make an awful racket. But I guess it isn't rocket science.

                                              2. re: MarkG

                                                >>>" it is not an easy or convenient process. i cant imagine many home owners being able to handle this"<<<

                                                I guess we have different experiences. I find it both extremely easy and extremely convenient, and I can't imagine anyone NOT being able to do it.

                                                The hardest part is climbing up on the stove to reach the blower housings. Then it's two snap buckles (four in my case) and into the Dishwasher. Takes about 30 seconds and virtually no effort.

                                                For the squirrel cages, all you have to do is hit them with a little 409 before you remove the housings and let them sit a bit. After the 409 does its job, just turn them on for a second or two, and the dissolved grease will get flung off into the housing.

                                                Nothing ever goes up the vents.

                                                You can take the fans off if you wish and put them into the dishwasher too, but I've never done this in the 18 years I've had the unit.

                                                1. re: acgold7

                                                  In another post, I mentioned that i installed a Viking Badged Vent A Hood (48" - 2 x 600 cfm) in my old house about 20 years ago. I spoke to the guy I sold the house to last year. The hood is still working great. He keeps up with it by doing the proper cleaning on a regular basis. Vent A Hood is a great product IMO. I'm going with a BlusStar 42 inch Pyramid with a 1200 cfm internal blower in my latest kitchen, over a 36" RNB. This is what my salesman recco'd, and i liked him. He knew his stuff. I wanted Vent A Hood, but he talked me into the Blue Star. I'll post a pic back here in 6 weeks. I hope he was right. He handles all the fancy shmancy builders around these parts. Our house is not a fancy shmancy one, LOL. The kitchen will be nice though. Good luck

                                            2. If the unit is loud the best thing to do is return the unit..

                                              1. It sounds like everyone is making this much more difficult than it is. Definitely do not use WD40. You would be introducing a petroleum product into your cooking area. My hood vents a 6 burner Wolf and we cook 90% + of our meals. Because the hood is used so extensively I clean it about every 3 months. Not to promote a specific product but Dawn Grill Cleaner works great. Remove the grease tray beneath the blower box, 2 thumb screws, soak the grease with the grill cleaner and let sit 10-15 minutes. Remove the blower box, 2 latches 1 on each side, and do the same. Remove the fans, there is an Allen head set screw in the shaft housing, I think it is 1/8th inch, soak and scrub with a nylon brush. These can also go in the dishwasher. Clean the parts that have been soaking with a scrub brush and rinse with hot water. Reassemble and you are done. It takes me about 1 hour. The grill cleaner also works great on the hood itself which I clean more often. I love this hood and have had it for over 4 years.

                                                1. I have cleaned the squirel cages, once, and it was not a pleasant task. The hood is about 9 years old. After removing all the housing and figuring out how to remove the squirel cages, I discovered that they were directly connected to motors (which plug into outlets). Since they cannot be submersed, they have to be hand-cleaned. The grease was thick and hardened from years of neglect. Additonally, the blades are delicate. Too much scraping and the painted surface is removed. It was impossible to remove all the grease buildup, but I did a pretty good job. I then discovered that due to pressure applied during the cleaning process (they weigh about 3 lbs each and are awkward to handle), the balance was no longer perfect. Meaning, they wobble a little when turned on. Finally, I attempted to clean the trap doors that open to the duct but since they cannot be removed. I had to do this while they were attached. Since they are thin and delicate, I warped them enought so they do not close completedly when the unit is turned off. I am happy with the hood itself (does a good job), but would consider replacing the motors (squirel assembly), before I would ever try cleaning them again.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: yoblinky

                                                    Sounds like you cleaned the blower wheels. Take the time to look at these directions, and maybe you can resolve any balance issues:

                                                    http://www.ventahood.com/images/docs/...

                                                    1. re: yoblinky

                                                      Why didn't you just slide the blower wheels off the shafts and put them in the dishwasher?

                                                      1. re: yoblinky

                                                        I cleaned our squirel cages just a couple of weeks ago. There is a set screw in each cage, use a long allen wrench to loosen it. There is a flat on the shaft, so it goes back on the same way each time. I clean them with a degresser such as simple green and an old tooth brush., the dishwasher would also work. Just keep the cages on the correct shafts and there shouldn't be a balance problem.

                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                          Two added points from personal experience (1) a dishwasher can loosen the paint on the cage which will be hard to remove, even with an old toothbrush. (2) Try to keep the cages on their respective shafts from being pushed too close to the back before tightening; they can then rattle if slightly off balance.

                                                          1. re: TennilleGuy

                                                            Any suggestions?
                                                            I was cleaning the flaps on my VAH B200 that is ~14 yrs old and one of the flaps (mine are aluminum) is stuck in the full open position. When I reach up and try to pull it down it is firmly stuck and I will bend the flap. Does anyone know if there is a spring behind it? Any ideas how to fix it?
                                                            I bought this house 6 mos ago and I don't think the unit was ever cleaned. There was grease dripping out of the switches. It was a 5 hour cleaning job with windex and silicon spray.

                                                            1. re: lgjayhawk

                                                              Just realized the newer blower boxes come with the plastic flaps built in. i have an older model with no flaps on the blower box but aluminum flaps up in the ceiling opening to the vent tube to the roof. so you have zero visibility to the topside of the flap

                                                              1. re: lgjayhawk

                                                                Never mind. Just called VAH and they were very helpful. The flap is only hinged so must be caught on something.

                                                                1. re: lgjayhawk

                                                                  Probably hinged like a dryer vent. I'd jostle it around gentely to loosen it up. Try spraying a degreeser such as simple green up in there to loosen the grease.