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Mar 31, 2010 07:51 PM

Pop up vent vs. range hood, any experience with Dacor?

I have my entire new kitchen planned with the island gas 36 inch Dacor 5 burner cooktop and pop up vent with 1000 CFM blower in the island and a 30 inch Dacor wall oven with microwave above. I understand pop up and down draft systems are not as great as a hood, but I really don't want a hood.
My husband has found postings on this website that decry pop up and down draft (we all know the JennAire of old was no good).....but does anyone have current and practical experience with a new (08 or later) pop up of any brand? The appliance salesmen I've spoken to (one of which owns one and swears by it) see no big problem, as long as I accept they aren't as effective as a range hood.
I seldom fry, but do sear, simmer and saute.
Thanks for any information possible.

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  1. I have a 4-burner Dacor propane gas cooktop and a 30" Dacor raised vent that I purchased a little less than 2 years ago. I love the cooktop. The vent, however, was a total waste of money. It's useless, and here's why:

    First of all, the vent raises 8" up from the counter. The cooktop grates are more than 2" above the counter, which means that the vent is only 6" above the grate. If you're using a pan that's higher than 6", the fan sucks everything in the direction of the vent, but most of what it sucks goes OVER the vent, not down into it. It's a laugh to watch a simmering stockpot with the exhaust fan on; virtually NOTHING is exhausted.

    Next, consider the position of the vent -- in back of the cooktop. Anything that's being cooked on the front burners stands a slim chance of being sucked down the vent.

    Next, picture the 2" high grates with the gas flames beneath. Well, when that fan comes on, the flames are drawn toward the vent, and the amount of heat available for cooking is dramatically reduced. I think this system is much better suited to a smooth-top electric cooktop than to gas.

    And, as if all of this were not enough, when the fan is turned on it's so loud that conversation anywhere in the vicinity is impossible. It just so happens, I had an old, old electric glass-top Jenn-air downdraft system before I replaced it with the Dacor, and I must say, the Jenn-Air downdraft worked a gazillion times better than this Dacor does.

    If you're still not dissuaded, I've got a little-used pop-up vent system I'd love to sell you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: CindyJ

      Thanks so much for your reply with great details. Have you ever seen the vent "suck" the flame out completely?

      1. re: 2Busy2Day

        No, that's never happened. Also, I should mention that the instructions that came with the vent say you're supposed to turn the vent on about 5 minutes before you even start cooking to establish an airflow pattern in the room. In my experience, doing this makes absolutely no difference in the efficiency of the unit. All it does is prolong the noise. I wish my kitchen design allowed for an overhead exhaust. If I'd known all this about the downdraft system before my purchase, I would not have had any type of vent system and I'd be none the worse for it. And by the way, the dealer sang the praises of this system, AND I had it checked out by a service person shortly after I purchased it to make sure it had been properly installed.

    2. [quote]I have my entire new kitchen planned with the island gas 36 inch Dacor 5 burner cooktop and pop up vent with 1000 CFM blower in the island and a 30 inch Dacor wall oven with microwave above. I understand pop up and down draft systems are not as great as a hood, but I really don't want a hood.[/quote]

      1,000CFM hoods or vents are going to be loud. Make sure you test them before you buy and that they can be turned down for normal conversations when you don't need that much air flow.

      Having a nice dinner party where you can't hear or speak to anyone because you are cooking with a loud vent/hood running is NO FUN :(

      You definitely want the ability to pull a lot of air from the burners though if you have a high BTU model. You also need to ensure you have a good placement of the hood or vent or they will be useless or even worse, in the way when you cook.

      1. "as long as I accept they aren't as effective as a range hood."
        Let me fix that for you:
        "as long as I accept they aren't effective". Full stop.

        Want a simpler, cheaper, more effective solution than a downdraft? Knock a hole in the top of an outside wall right next to the ceiling big enough for an eight to twelve-inch fan. Wire it in on a wall switch. Boom, your entire ceiling as become a hood vent. Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may want to build a header across the ceiling that separates it from other rooms, it'll keep the hot air trapped in the kitchen.

        On a side note, try some math regarding your current choice:
        You need 5 feet of 6-inch diameter vent to hold 1 cubic foot. 5 feet times 1000 CFM is 5000 feet per minute, or about sixty miles an hour. An 8-inch diameter vent pipe would reduce that to about 35 miles per hour. That's how fast air will have to move through your downdraft system.

        If the pop-up is 4 inches by 12 inches, that also amounts to a 35 MPH airflow at 1000 CFM.

        1. After spending $600 and up on a pop-up compromise, there's always the inelegant solution of a $10 clip on fan, blowing across the cooktop toward the pop-up. Shade tree, for sure, but it does work

          5 Replies
          1. re: BiscuitBoy

            $600...??? More like TWICE that amount for the vent unit + the blower. But ya know, I'm liking your clip-on fan idea, and I might just give it a try.

            1. re: CindyJ

              So we went to a demo for 9 inch tall pop up Wolf and 13 inch tall pop up Thermador. The Thermador has the height to be much more effective. It got most all steam from back burners, and more than 50% from front burners. I'm going with the higher profile and the knowlege that it "ain't" perfect, but it is better than nothing. Thanks to all who offered information.

              1. re: 2Busy2Day

                So what if we did this on new or remodeled kitchen islands:
                1) build in a " box" behind the cook top or stove. The box would be fire proof, wide enough for the pop up fan and say, 8" above the counter.
                2) the eating space around the island would also be raised 8" above the counter top.
                3) the pop up is installed in the box.
                Now allowing 2" in height for the burner and 9" for the pop up vent, when the fan comes up, it is about 6" to 15" above the burner and above the bottom any pan or pot.
                There should be two benefits: Better exhaust pattern and no sucking the heat directly from the burner.
                I'll also post this in another discussion to generate discussion.

                1. re: 2Busy2Day

                  Hi 2Busy - can you give an update - how is the 13inch tall pop up working for you? Thanks!

                  1. re: daramarkb

                    Hi daramarkb
                    We moved in 1 April and are still settling into the new place. We cook at home 6 days of 7 and I likely use the pop up Thermador 13 inch vent 1 day out of 6. The kitchen is large, open and airy...we live in the mountains without a/c, so I often have the windows open now and don't feel the need to use the vent. Winter cooking will likely change my habits.

                    However, when I have used it, it works great. The intake slots are only near the top 4-5 inches of the unit, so the air is sucked into the upper range of the 13 inch projection. I have only used it on low or med and find the noise to be acceptable and reasonable. We know there is going to be fan noise, right? I admit we haven't had guests yet, or a dinner party...only finished the interior trim of the house 3 weeks ago, so we have been busy. (we laid flooring, painted, DH did finish carpentry).

                    I'm pleased with it and feel the extra few inches that Thermador designed into their vent was a great idea. It meets my needs and I don't have to look at an overhead vent which was my ultimate goal. Good luck.

            2. I have a Dacor pop-up vent. I don't like it and I rarely use it for the reasons already cited. It's noisy, it is ineffective, I have to watch to make sure I don't pop something off of a burner when popping up the vent, etc.

              The idea of a pop-up vent is very nice--to be able to have a stovetop in an island and not attached to a traditional hood system is aesthetically very pleasing. It's just not very practical.

              Good luck with your decision!