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Do Telescopic Downdraft Systems work?

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Misshiggy Aug 23, 2009 04:50 PM

Has anyone seen or used a "Telescopic Downdraft System" - what I call a pop up vent for the range? I need to know if they 1)work, 2) if they suck heat away from the burner like a downdraft that's part of the range top does and 3) how much room they take up in the cabinet below. Thanks for any help!

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    dmd_kc RE: Misshiggy Aug 23, 2009 09:00 PM

    I've never heard anyone say anything positive about them. My mother had one with her very expensive Thermidor range, and I can tell you by firsthand experience that it was 100% useless. I'd never consider one after using that. Can't say how much room they take up, but I'd imagine each one varies by manufacturer, and you should be able to view the installation guide online before purchasing.

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      hipchick47 RE: Misshiggy Aug 23, 2009 09:15 PM

      I had a Jennair countertop gas cooktop with a downdraft. I loved it!!! The downdraft sucked eveything in the air for miles lol. It was a little hard to clean, but u could put the filter in the dishwasher and there was a jar that collected the grease underneath. My jennair took no cabinet space below. I used the area for pots and pans storage. No heat was sucked, in fact, the downdraft barely fanned the flame. I do not know anyone who has liked the thermador pop up. Good luck.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hipchick47
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        Misshiggy RE: hipchick47 Aug 24, 2009 06:21 AM

        Hipchick47, your Jennair had the downdraft in the center of the unit, correct? Did the downdraft come on any time the stove was on or only when you turned it on?

        1. re: Misshiggy
          Paulustrious RE: Misshiggy Aug 25, 2009 05:49 AM

          It has a separate switch. You don't necessarily want it on in Winter sucking out all that heated air. And there is some noise to consider. They work reasonably well but do not do as good a job as a ventilator hood. I have only worked in two kitchens with downdraft units. One was a Dacor - can't remember the other. Neither of the owners thought them worth the investment.

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        Normandie RE: Misshiggy Aug 23, 2009 09:47 PM

        Misshiggy, I've never had one, so I can't speak about them directly from personal experience.

        However, we custom-built our home about four years ago. Our kitchen designer and the electrical contractor both advised against them. For both, the main reason seemed to be that a downdraft exhaust system by definition require a more circuitous venting route to the outside than does overhead exhaust.

        Therefore, by virtue of both longer distance to the outside, and usually more turns and angles in the venting, downdraft systems are less efficient than overhead systems. Less efficiency usually means less functionality and higher operating costs.

        As I said, I've never had a telescopic system, so I can't swear to this, but it simply sounded like common sense, once they each explained it, independently of one another. So I put my range on an exterior wall, with a short, direct venting route to the outside.

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          Misshiggy RE: Misshiggy Aug 24, 2009 01:45 PM

          Thanks everyone for your input...don't think I'll be getting a telescopic downdraft!

          1. Candy RE: Misshiggy Aug 24, 2009 02:26 PM

            I have had a GE Monogram with down draft for years. It was not as good as my JennAir I had years ago. The only problem is the distance the fan has to pull the smoke and steam. My repair person said it can be remedied by putting a booster fan in there to help move things along. Other than that it is fine.

            1. CindyJ RE: Misshiggy Aug 24, 2009 07:35 PM

              Until last year, I had an old, old Jenn-Air glass cooktop with a center downdraft. I hated the cooktop, but the downdraft did work fairly well. Last year I replaced it with a Dacor gas cooktop and a pop-up downdraft that's in back of the cooktop. I love the cooktop and HATE the downdraft. First of all, the downdraft sucks the heat from the burners. With the old Jenn-Air, the pots sat right on the flat surface, so heat loss wasn't a problem. With the raised grates on the gas cooktop, the heat source is exposed and negatively affected by the draft. The next problem is that steam and fumes from pots on the front burners have a long way to travel to the vent. Finally, the unit only raises up about 8 inches or so from the countertop. That's hardly enough to catch the steam from a large pot.

              If I knew then what I know now, I would have skipped the venting entirely (installing an overhead vent was never an option because my kitchen has no exterior wall). It cost almost as much as the cooktop and I never use it. I wish I had asked the questions you asked before I bought it.

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                dawnb RE: Misshiggy Aug 25, 2009 06:17 AM

                I've had a DCS downdraft for over 6 years and I love it. But to determine if a downdraft will work for you, you have to assess your needs. Will or do you have a residential or commercial cooktop? What is the configuration of your kitchen in the cooktop area? In my case, I badly needed the storage space above my cooktop and did not want a bulky range hood. Also, my cooktop's BTUs are borderline residential/commercial so a downdraft was a good option for me. For most commercial cooktops with very high BTUs, downdrafts aren't the best option. My downdraft works beautifully; it does it's job, doesn't draw away heat and takes little to no room in my cabinet below. And as an added plus, I always get oohs & aahs from the kids (and some adults) when I cut it on and it rises out of the cooktop surface. Cool technology!

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                  RGC1982 RE: Misshiggy Aug 27, 2009 01:49 PM

                  I have a friend with one, and nearly chose one for my kitchen. It turned out that the one I wanted was designed to work well specifically when installed against a back wall, i.e., not on a center island cooktop, which is what I have. Something to do with the way the air flows. At that point, the extra expense seemed not to be worth it. The room that it needed in the cabinet below was quite a lot, compared to a regular down draft, but not a lot when you look at how much room a hood takes up. The room in the cabinet issue was the final straw against it for me.

                  I've cooked at my friend's, and frankly, I don't think any downdraft works as well as a great hood. However, I live with mine, even though I would rather have a hood. If I didn't grill regularly or crank the heat up for a wok or deep frying, I am sure I would have no complaints. I just know that I can overwhelm a downdraft pretty easily because I am always cooking smoky, messy things. And sometimes, a lot of pots at once.

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                    RobinCH RE: Misshiggy Nov 1, 2009 03:13 PM

                    I have a Jennair gas cooktop with downdraft. It is useless. It sucks the flames towards it, robbing heat. It is so inefficient that when you brown something in a frying pan our smoke detectors go off two rooms away. We are about to remodel the kitchen and I am looking for an overhead vent that can be connected to our existing ducting which runs down from the cooktop, though our slab floor to the outside kitchen wall. Is there such a thing?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RobinCH
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                      dmd_kc RE: RobinCH Nov 1, 2009 08:41 PM

                      Robin, you mean it has to travel under a concrete slab floor? I am sure you could find someone to do that work for you, but it'd be major, major dollars. And the more bends the air path has to make, the less efficient it becomes.

                      No chance to send it up and inside floor joists instead? Redoing drywall is a million times easier and cheaper than re-pouring concrete.

                      1. re: dmd_kc
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                        ThreeGigs RE: dmd_kc Nov 2, 2009 01:56 AM

                        Why major dollars? He's got vent piping in place, and all he needs is someone to creatively add some ducting to take it up behind the stove. A 90 degree bend, a rectangular duct up inside the wall, and voila, done. I see no reason to break the concrete slab from the description given.

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