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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!

              1. After reading the replies from several of the followers of this discussion , it becomes clear that the venting problem is probably under the floor, not at the range top! As a retired ventilation expert, I can correct some of the facts they are giving you, ie. (the 25 mile per hr guy) indicates such a low velocity , it couldn't capture any air 2 inches away from anything let alone grease laden heated air which naturally wants to rise. I suggest that any one who wants to install one of these first get a professional who knows how to calculate air flow to tell you the right way to discharge the air. To give you an example CFM means cubic feet per minute (the volume) and VPM means the velocity per minute (the speed at which air moves and is necessary to capture the oil or grease laden air from your cooking) it is always measured in feet per minute not miles per hour, as the previous individual would have you believe. Simply put, if the duct from the fan is too small, too long, too many elbows or badly configured it's not going to work! In my 33 yrs of ventilation design I've seen many kitchen over the range hoods that don't work either. So before you write off these downdraft systems have a dealer show you one that works before you buy.

                33 Replies
                1. re: Metalbender

                  metalbender you are correct...unfortunately most people move forward without the proper research to begin with. As I pointed out in my recent response to this very dicussion. The distance that the fan is placed from the downdraft is critical, as are all of your observations. What is not being mentioned is the height of the pop up. This is critical. You cannot effectively vent cookware that is higher than the pop up... one such negative comment about pop ups was made by an individual who could not understand why her 8 inch pop up wasn't effective when using her 13 inch stock pot. First and foremost is...hot air rises...yes...I thought we all knew that..apparently not. Next...trying to upgrade on the cheap...if you can't afford to do it correctly..DON'T do it.

                  1. re: broker1152

                    Adding a different perspective to this, we recently moved to a home with a Dacor cooktop with downdraft on an island (cooktop's on the island, not my home). The downdraft vents down (duh) below the floor and to the exterior wall at the backyard. In our previous home we had a standard hood venting out through a side wall. Given the current condition:

                    1) it's noticeably loud when we're outside in the summer (obviously limited to when it's in use, but the fan is still loud)

                    2) given the recent polar vortex weather conditions, cold air permeates the interior of the island.

                    Not deal breakers, but still things to consider.

                    1. re: ferret

                      Ferret,.. Our current configuration is a kitchen center island cooking and seating station consisting of a 6 burner Wolf Rangetop and a Dacor ERV3615 (15" rise) retractable downdraft with a Dacor 10" intake 1100 CFM inline blower (1116 CFM) @ 0.0" static pressure. The exhaust vents to the backwall of the home approximately 10' from our deck. When gathering on the deck you can hear it, but it is more like white noise than anything else.. It doesn't bother us...and it doesn't seem to bother guests either, whom by the way, find the design upside of having the open kitchen layout more attractive than an overhead hood, and well worth the nominal downside of hearing the muted exhaust noise of inline blower outside. As for the cold air, you may want to install a vent tip on the outside of the home that is facing downward. This will certainly reduce the velocity of the air current coming in. And you are right...it should not be a deal breaker. Good luck

                      1. re: broker1152

                        We do have a vent extension that faces downward, but when the ambient air temp outside is zero, there's not a lot you can do short of some kind of damper. Like I said, not a huge issue but a bit of frigid air in an otherwise warmed kitchen is an eye-opener.

                        As I said, we bought into this configuration (and it's a little too recent and too needlessly expensive to bother messing with). If I were starting from scratch I would have put a little more thought into it.

                    2. re: broker1152

                      While I agree that height is important, it is second to capture velocity. Enter the Jenn- Air , which incidentally is getting a bad rap, probably for poor installation. The fan on a Jenn-Air is limited to the static pressure of the duct design. You can't just vent it any configuration you want and expect it to work. But they do work and they work well. As for the person with the cold draft in her system, the termination cap should include a back draft damper, if it doesn't replace it.

                      1. re: Metalbender

                        metalbender you hit the nail on the head with the termination cap backdraft damper ... I hope Ferret saw it. We had a Jenn- Air prior to the Wolf and Dacor configuration... downdraft was.built into the rangetop, and it worked well...except if you used the grill...then oh man...lookout if there was a flame up....sucked the flame right into the intake fan...melted it and some wiring...kitchen renovation was in order.

                        1. re: broker1152

                          I know I need to address the venting issue at some point; we just moved in about 5 months ago and the problem wasn't evident until the recent freeze. Considering how well thought-out the rest of the kitchen was it's surprising that they never found this to be a problem.

                      2. re: broker1152

                        I'm in the throes of a kitchen remodeling project. I'll be keeping my Dacor cooktop and I'm donating my hardly-used Dacor downdraft unit to Habitat for Humanity. For a long time I was convinced that the appliance salesman sold me the wrong exhaust unit for the cooktop; however, in preparation for donating it, I found the original installation guide and the product brochure, which very clearly shows those two units (the cooktop and the downdraft) together. WHAT was Dacor thinking when they designed that component? More than that, I wonder if they ever tested the two together.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          These system are for the most designed to be compatible, but more importantly is the end users environment. What I mean is... did you do measure the cubic footage of the space where you were going to do the installation, and did you follow the CFM ( cubic feet per minute) VPM (velocity per minute), duct work guidelines and requirements for the volume of space calculated,... and did you purchase equipment with the recommended capacity to service those requirements efficiently . We followed those recommendations, but then purchased components with greater capcity to increase efficiency.

                          1. re: broker1152

                            Those are interesting and relevant questions. When I purchased the cooktop and downdraft, no, I did not ask those questions. I wasn't even aware of the guidelines, requirements, etc. I'm wondering why the appliance salesperson didn't ask me those questions. The appliances were purchased from a high-end retailer, and while I accept some of the blame for these oversights, I largely blame the retailer.

                            This time around it's very different. I've OVER-researched overhead exhaust fans and HVAC options. I've had conversations with contractors and sales people about CFMs, duct runs, 90-degree turns, 6" venting, sones and makeup air. I've learned about filters and end caps. I know more than I ever wanted to know about this stuff, and I'm still not sure I've bought the right unit for my needs. But this much I DO know -- it will perform better and serve me better than the old Dacor ever did.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              Inquireing minds want to know . . . what did you purchase?

                              We probably spent more time and effort researching our vent hood than any of the other items that went into our kitchen remodel. We even talked to a regional rep from the company that made the hood. He was a wealth of information on performance and requirements. There are so many factors, but the ones that stick out are vent pipe size, run and turns and how that effect the air flow. The other is hood size vs cooktop size, it' needs to overlap the cooktop. Also distance above the coocktop, the less the better. We ended up with VentAHood.

                              1. re: mikie

                                If money was no object, I would have gone with the Vent-A-Hood. Like you, I overthought and overresearched the vent purchase. To complicate things, I needed an island hood -- we're in a 2-story home with a room over the kitchen and outside venting was a challenge, to put it mildly, because of the way the ceiling joists run. My HVAC contractor is here today, and he's assured me that the exhaust hood I've chosen will work very well with the venting plan (linear footage, 90-degree turns, etc.)

                                I really thought I was going to end up with a Zephyr, but in the end it was a Broan. My cooktop is 30"; the hood is 36". It became a price-driven decision with the sacrifice being that it's noisier than I wanted it to be. It's 500 CFM, so I think it'll be adequate for my needs. Sure, I could have gone for a better brand for lots more $$$$, but given the appliance budget I set for myself, I'm very okay saving a bit on the vent hood so I can spend more on other things.

                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  No one I know has an unlimited budget. We went about our remodel differently than most people I think. We shopped, got prices, started adding up what it would cost for what we wanted and made concessions where we could, but then said this is what it costs, so were going to spend that amount. I think most people say we'll spend $xx,xxxx and make everything fit in that space.This will be our last kitchen remodel, we may have to replace some items over time, but as far as remodel goes, this is it. Other than the VentAHood nothing was the most expensive item in the appliance store, they're all good brands, Electrolux and Kitchen Aid, but not the really high end stuff. We evaluated every purchase carefully and made decisions based on the value of each piece. My wife put a lot of value in the vent hood. What we had for the past 20 years was horrid, so it was going to be an improvement no matter what, but she was willing to forego some higher end stuff to get the hood she wanted. I will say the VentAHood is great.

                                  Good luck with your remodel, they are always a challenge, but worth it in the end.

                                  1. re: mikie

                                    We approached our remodeling project in a similar way. We didn't start off with a number in mind; we spoke to contractors and designers and talked through ideas. Then, when we were about 90% certain about what we wanted, we got a few bids and went from there. We did make changes in what we thought were "must-haves" when we saw how much certain components added to the bottom line. And then we tried to keep things reasonable. I upgraded the granite, the faucet and the sink and I spent a little less on the fridge and range hood. Despite change orders, as of today I'm probably within 5% of my original contract price. Not bad.

                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                      "Not bad" I'd say that was great, fantastic, excellent, pick one. We were over by a fair amount. My wife kept asking the contractor/cabinet maker " . . . can you do (whatever)?" and they would say sure, she never asked how much and they never said how much. I finally told him he can say yes, but he has to tell her how much it's going to cost extra. Plus we ran into a few snafus, like the vent had to go where the gas line was, so the gas line had to be moved. And the big surprise, there was a sofit over the old cabinets, but the new cabinets are up to the celing, well there was HVAC duct work behind part of the sofit. I was there when they discovered this and I remember the words from the cabinet maker, who had the cabinets made already, "wasn't expecting that to be there". Never a good sign.

                                      Overall we did much as you, gave up the travertine floor for less expensive through body porcelin tile, it was significant as it also runs into our rather large family room as well as the kitchen. Gotta keep it real.

                                      1. re: mikie

                                        One area of frustration for me was my contractor's inability (unwillingness?) to separately price out certain components of my cabinetry. When I totally eliminated a stand-alone 48" wide wet bar, the amount he credited me on the change order was considerably less than I felt it should have been, based on his original estimate for all of the cabinetry. And I learned very quickly that every single "can you do _____?" has a price tag attached. The dollars always seem to be flowing in one direction -- out of MY pocket, and into the contractor's.

                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                          This advice was costly for us to obtain...If you are in a position to do so....FIRE him now....You will find that this issue is just the tip of the iceberg.... Never accept that response from a contractor...and do not pay for work that is not completed. If you you feel uncomfortable with this contractor....do not proceed with him on this profect. The cost over runs we incurred would have been avoided if we had taken this very advise sooner than we did...We found another contractor and what a difference. The things he found and corrected were numerous, but the end result was wonderful. You would be surprised what a difference there can be if you just take a step back and really assess the situation objectively. Don't be affraid to change horse mid stream if you have to..

                              2. re: CindyJ

                                Wonderful to hear.I trust all of your research will pay off. We really enjoy the culinary experience at home. One thing though,...6" venting is rather small. We have 10". I do not know the dimensions of your kitchen, or what equipment you are using. Can you share that with me. And you are correct...your retailer should have had the knowledge. Also, please do install round duct work.

                                1. re: broker1152

                                  We will have 6" round ducting because we don't have the space for 10". Here's the thing -- every decision I've made regarding my kitchen remodel has a cost implication. Could I have bought a bigger, better, more efficient venting system? Sure! And a bigger, better range, oven, dishwasher and microwave. And fancier cabinets, more gorgeous granite and prettier hardwood flooring. But I don't have unlimited financial resources AND I don't live in a McMansion. I think my choices and decisions are reasonable and in keeping with my budget and my renovation goals. And hopefully, this time around I'll avoid major mistakes -- or at least I won't make the same mistakes I've made in the past.

                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    money is important...but proper planning can overcome high prices...if you can't afford ..or accomodate higher CFM capacity inline blowers...go with overhead hood...be mindful of metalbenders expert advise... intake velocity is important...smoke, grease laden vapors are heavy and require higher velocity to be pulled into the intakes... but ...they are hot...and they rise...so you do not need high capacity to vent them out if you go overhead.

                                2. re: CindyJ

                                  CindyJ, Please excuse the typo.... I meant to say, DO NOT install round duct work...it is slow

                                  1. re: broker1152

                                    " . . . I meant to say, DO NOT install round duct work...it is slow"

                                    Can you please explain? My experience is that air flow is restricted by the amount of drag and that there is more drag in corners of square ductwork than in round duct work. Unless you are talking about flexable duct work, in which case you would be absolutely correct in calling it slow as the corrigation disrupts air flow.

                                    Perhaps Metalbender can clairify.

                                    1. re: mikie

                                      Yes I will clarify...I do mean flexible.

                                      1. re: broker1152

                                        So are you saying DO install flexible duct work, or do NOT install it? The ductwork that's being installed is round metal.

                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                          Round metal is the correct material.

                                            1. re: mikie

                                              we also had the sofit issue...our new cabinets are hand crafted maple with honey finish...so the ceiling had to be absolutely flat as you know to accomodate the crown moulding.. you can't hide the dips with caulk when you have wood cabinets,...and the guys with the skills are not cheap. Did you run into that issue with the ceilings and what did you do.

                                              1. re: broker1152

                                                Yes to some extent, not bad, but there are a couple of spots where I know there is a bit of a gap between the oak crown molding and the ceiling, but honestly, if you don't specifically look for it, you don't notice. The one that comes to mind is on a corner, it's just a dark shadow. They did a reasonable job of getting the ceiling flat enough.

                                                You can find more pictures of our cabinets and the ventAhood here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Greene-...

                                                My cabinet maker was exceptionally good and the cabinet doors are quite unique, unless you live in the Gamble House. They are derived from elements in the Gamble House, designed by Charles and Henry Greene in Pasadena in 1908. This is where we got into the; I know you can, but tell her how much discussion. This is an early picture, the knobs aren't even on the doors yet.

                                                1. re: mikie

                                                  Really fine cabinets....great detail. did you use built ins for the ovens. Also,I can't make out the wall tile...is it Solistone glass bricks...because it looks similar to our walls. what did you decide on for appliances..

                                                  1. re: broker1152

                                                    Yes the ovens are built in, they are KA one a convection and the other a "speed" oven with convection/microwave. Amazingly that thing works exceptionally well for a pie or other small oven item. Don't need to crank up the 30" standard convectiion oven that way.

                                                    The wall tile is Honey Onyx. we looked all over to find this.

                                                    The 36" rangetop is Electrolux as is the fridge, ovens and DW are KA. The sink is Blanco and the faucet is Hans Ghroe.

                                            2. re: CindyJ

                                              yes...round is fine...not the flexible...do not use flexible...even for the corners...use solid round elbows...

                                          1. re: mikie

                                            I assume when you talk about drag, you are actually talking about static pressure in the duct, which simply means the resistance caused by the pressure against all sides of the duct and the resistance increases as the distance increases. As for the square verses round duct either will work equally well if sized properly. Flexible duct should never be used for grease laden air discharge. It's static pressure is very high, the folds in the pipe which allow the pipe to bend create traps for grease to build (possibility of fire), and the bends create additional static problems, not to mention that I doubt if any mechanical inspector would ever approve it for this use. Round duct is usually used because of ease of installation.

                                            In response to the lady who was upset with the salesman who sold her the hood, remember his title-----SALESMAN . Very seldom will they be qualified to give you advice on design installation. To be safe, ask the salesman for a prior installation you can check out before you buy your system. See how it works and I don't mean the one in the showroom!

                                            1. re: Metalbender

                                              Metalbender... Thank you for sharing your expertise in regards to this discussion. We tend to speak in the vernacular related to the subject, but you use the appropriate terminolgy due to your expertise. Your accurate assessment of the concerns has been invaluable.