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Jun 24, 2007 06:14 PM

Jenn-Air® Gas Downdraft Slide-In Range

Does anyone have an opinion on the Jenn-Air® Gas Downdraft Slide-In Range? We are not sure if we need an exhaust fan on an oven that is on a pennisula with a sliding glass door in the kitchen. What are people's opinion on this? We are redoing our kitchen and were originally looking at the GE Profile Convention oven but it has no exhaust fan.Thank you.

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  1. A downdraft fan is better than no exhast at all. But an overhead exhaust hood will keep the kitchen cleaner and smelling better. Also, the food you cook will taste better because your nose won't be totally saturated with the smells of cooking. If you put any effort into what you cook the best ventilation is the way to go.

    However, plenty of people in my family get by boiling, baking, frying, and sauteing with either a downdraft exhaust fan or an open window. Yes the whole floor will smell like onions and garlic or whatever is cooking. Yes the cabinets are grimy. They walk in and say "smells good".

    1. when we moved into our house it had a thermador downdraft on a central peninsula in our very open kitchen, configured much as you describe. I never really used it because it was noisy. When we replaced the stovetop, we tried to find one with a downdraft which would fit the "hole" in the counter, but it was impossible, so we went without the downdraft, and I didn't want a big hood in the middle of my kitchen. I don't miss it a bit, and I cook CONSTANTLY. My cabinets and ceilings are *not* greasy. Frankly I have never understood the compulsion to have a hood. Ready to be flamed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DGresh

        If the foods you cook and the techniques you use generate more steam than anything else I would agree that you could probably keep things clean without a hood. If you cook fattier foods at high temperature with methods that involve searing, charring, or frying that will not be the case. The "compulsion" may stem from a desire to be "just like the commercial kitchens" as it is with a lot of the motivation for SS appliances; in many municipalities the commercial kitchens must have fire suppression hoods, so that is a safety issue. Few if any home building codes require a true suppression system in the kitchen, though I think that might be a good idea. I've seen a number of homes that were damaged from kitchen fires -- now that is FLAMED in a way that nobody wants.

      2. Had a downdraft for years and will never have another: The downdraft sucks the heat from the burners sideways, greatly reducing the BTUs available for cooking your food. After talking with several appliance salespeople, I've come to the conclusion that all downdrafts do this. Either get a hood or go without.

        2 Replies
        1. re: pikawicca

          I have a downdraft Amana, and I experience the same thing. With the exhaust fan set on high, you lose heat; set on low, you don't really draw much out of the house. If I renovate, I'll put in an overhead hood.

          1. re: pikawicca

            Agreed, pikawicca.

            I have a downdraft cooktop and it's lousy. (Jenn-Air Expressions, Gas with Downdraft)

            In addition to the fact that the downdraft sucks the fire sideways, the things that fall in through downdraft vents are very hard to get out, as it's a long rectangle. Overtime, it amounts to an ick and difficult cleaning job.

            I'd love to replace it with an Induction cooktop and a backdraft on my island, but I've been told I'd have to dig up the floor to run more electric to the island.

          2. I have the Jenn-Air dual-fuel downdraft slide in range (the other fuel is electric, for the oven). Two gas burnerson one side, the grill on the other, downdraft in the middle.
            You need a hood. With the hood off, grilling a steak sets off the smoke detectors- the downdraft is not powerful enough to handle the smoke. Also, Pikawicca is correct, the downdraft sucks the burner flames, so if you are using the burners while grilling, it takes a lot longer to, say, boil water. And the downdraft comes on automatically when the grill is on, so there is no way to shut it off.

            All that said, I love having the gas grill! It is great for steaks, although, only the front half, closest to the gas supply, gets hot enough to get a steak blackened on the outside but rare inside. I put tinfoil on the bottom surface under the grill burner to catch drips, even though the manual says not to.

            1. If you cook any 'delicate' sauces on a regular basis, you'll hate downdraft. One side of your pot will be cooler than the other. It's not just that it steals the heat, it's the fact that it pulls cool air onto one side of the pots, leaving one side too warm, the other too cool. Very obvious on a larger saute pan on low-ish heat.