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Sep 1, 2010 12:37 AM

what's a range hood good for?!

I've been trawling the interwebs, looking at hood pictures and reviews etc etc. I had gathered that I should buy something that really sucks and is ducted outside. Then I realised, I've never had a rangehood before, and I cook all the time and have always cooked a lot since my teens, and it's never been an issue so I'm wondering if I actually need one...and what exactly for?

Is it just for smells? Because I generally like my cooking smells, and I love how my husband and kids come home and go mmmmmm, what are you making mum?!

Is it for grease? Because I am having cabinets built to the ceiling and everything that is exposed will be used and cleaned regularly.

And my kitchen is big and airy and has big glass doors and windows to the outside, so pretty well ventilated, as it is. What don't i get?


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  1. For those of us living in super-weather-tight homes and apartments with smoke alarms, such a hood can be the difference between peace and quiet and screaming alarms at the drop of a hat.

    I cook with a lot of strong spices and have had the alarm go off when I'm frying chilies. I've also had the alarm go off when carmelizing onions, and on occasion even when I'm simply making toast.

    Also, while smells may be yummy when fresh, without proper ventilation smells can accumulate and overlay each other and become, over time, ummmm, perhaps somewhat less pleasant.

    It depends on the type of cooking you do, I would say.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ZenSojourner

      Also, in warm climates where we pay dearly to chill the house, venting away heat and steam can only help the electric bill.

      1. re: ZenSojourner

        And over time those "yummy" kitchen smells begin to permeate everything in your house - the paint on the walls, carpeting, curtains, upholstery, clothing, etc. and turn unpleasant real quick. Thing is, the resident(s) are often unaware of the smells, they get used to it, but visitors definitely notice them.

      2. Personally I'm with you. I've got a hood. I rarely use it because I don't like the noise. I don't fry a lot, and my house is an open plan. My house does not smell. Really.

        3 Replies
        1. re: DGresh

          Nothing like the 3 day old aroma of.......Lamb Kidneys............

          1. re: DGresh

            Thanks DGresh, I feel the same way. And most of my friends don't regularly use their hoods either. Yep, noisy. My mother uses hers but she has one of those charcoal filter ones and I know she doesn't change the filter half as often as she is supposed to. Just looking at the family and friends around me, most of them may as well not have one.

          2. I think a hood is essential, especially in open floor plan homes...removing odors, smoke, steam from boiling, etc. A good one won't be that loud, plus it's not like it's on constantly. If noise is critical (for real?) choose one where the motor can be remotely located. Big, airy, and lots of windows is nice, but it's not going to move the air out unless you direct it. If you do decide to install one, do not make the magazine mistake of mounting it too high off the cooktop

            1. If you do not use a vent and your smoke alarm never goes off, you might want to check the alarm to make sure that it works properly.

              I also find that the vent is useful in siphoning grease away. I am not worried about the grease collecting on the cabinets, but I don't like it when it splatters my arms or clothing.

              1 Reply
              1. re: E_M

                oh no, my smoke alarm certainly does go off. I wish someone would invent one that has a great BIG off button on it that was easy to smack with a broom handle.

                It doesn't go off much so i've always just lived with it.

              2. Because of your airy layout all of the steam and grease gets dispersed but at some point the ceiling/cabinets above the stove and the highest points of your ceiling will stain.