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Help Please - Cooktop recommendation

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HELP - gas cooktop recommendation
I am new and accidentally posted this to the "kosher" thread originally. Sorry.

I have read all the discussions I can find on here but hoping to get some QUICK advice. We're in the middle of remodeling a kitchen in a home we recently purchased. We will have an island with granite countertop and gas cooktop (non-negotiable for my wife).

Because of walls, venting and other issues are options are:

gas cooktop with downdraft built in (my wife wants the Jenn Aire, but reading this board gives me pause).

gas cooktop with separate telescoping vent (leaning toward bosch top and broan vent)

gas cooktop with no venting on the island but putting a through the wall utility fan (think 1950s).

It needs to be 30".

In kind of a hurry as we're in the middle of the project (I could explain why I"m just asking now, but trust me there is a reason).

Like to stay under $2,000 but could go higher.

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  1. Downdraft is useless and telescoping vent is next to useless.

    BlueStar RBCT304BSS is the best 30" gas cooktop regardless of price.

    It is about $1600.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DeeAgeaux

      Thanks for the blue star recommendation. Sorry to hear about the downdrafts. Any thoughts about options 3?

      1. re: DeeAgeaux

        I have a ten year old vent that moves up an down for my electric cooktop. It works pretty well I think. It is noisy though.

      2. I had a Jenn Air downdraft and was elated to see it head out the door during our kitchen reno earlier this year. Noisy, ineffective and a dirt and dust trap.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Thanks. I am surprised to read so many negative comments about Jenn Aire, but they are so prevalent I can't ignore!

          1. re: sqmr3

            Another "had a Jenn Aire downdraft once...it was horrible" vote here. I am guessing that their prevalence is because of people who don't cook a lot wanting their kitchens to look "serious," especially builders. It is the same mindset that buys matching sets because of the way they look. (I have no problem with matched sets in theory, especially if they are good stuff and well priced, but they are usually loaded with items that the buyer, if they cook a lot, will want to replace, like 8" bread knives and skillets.) I'd go With the Bluestar and over the cooktop vent. My Ventahood has been a solid performer for years, better than the Thermador at my old house.

        2. If you can't mount a conventional hood directly over the cooktop, the cooktop is in the wrong place, in my opinion.

          1. Cook tops,gas,there are literally dozens.The first thing I would ask is where are geographically? An issue regarding future support may help you choose.Your cooking,do you need high BTU burners or have the cookware for them?Do you make soups and stews stove top,needing a really good low or extra low burner.Your needs and wants are big here,if you already grill and use a slow cooker frequently maybe your cooktop needs are minimal.
            Fan and exhaust are tougher to solve.DOWNDRAFT ??It's not for me,but maybe all you need. Have you looked at all the brands?? the list isn't long,but there is more than JennAire.

            1. In option 2, do you mean that you'd run ducting straight up and then take a 90 degree at the ceiling to head to a vent that leads? That's probably the best bet, unless your existing ducting takes a lot of turns in the wall on its way out from the kitchen. If it does, it might be worth it to create a separate duct.

              Additional notes: Make sure your ventilation is close enough to the cooktop even if it looks dorky (no more than 30"), and spring for a Vent-A-Hood if at all possible. When I helped my Mom redo her kitchen, we were told a Zephyr would work just as well. It does not. (I'd go with a 36" wide hood for a 30" cooktop)

              6 Replies
              1. re: ninrn

                Sorry I wasn't clear. This is an island and we can't vent through the ceiling. We can vent through the floor to the outside. From what I am reading on here most people do not like downdraft cooktops or downdraft vents. I am also gathering that the separate vent that raises up is the better of those two options (but not much better).

                1. re: sqmr3

                  You can do without a vent altogether if you don't have a high-output stove and don't cook things that put a lot of smoke and such into the air.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Wow, really? That would be great. I think then we'd do a utility fan through the wall in case we burn something. Having a real hard time making a decision about this and we need to decide. I assume it would be very difficult to go back and add a downdraft vent at a later time, cutting through granite.

                    1. re: sqmr3

                      Hoods are nice, but I haven't had one for sometime now. I avoid making smoke as much as possible. I used to make a lot of stir fry dishes, for which a smoking hot wok is best, but I'm not doing that now. It would leave deposits on everything. If you opt for just an exhaust fan elsewhere in the room, you shouldn't get a puny one. Try to get one with sufficient capacity or it's not really worth doing, in my opinion.

                      Why can't yoy put a grille in the ceiling with ductwork between the ceiling and the floor above, leading to an external fan?

                    2. re: GH1618

                      I'd rethink that with a gas stove, there may be building codes that require an outside vent for gas cooktops. That's the case where I live, gas must now be vented to the outside.

                      1. re: mikie

                        Of course local codes prevail.

                2. Also, I should note we are not gourmet cooks or anything close. Nothing too fancy, but maybe with a new kitchen and (and some help from you all) we'll learn.

                  1. The "no vent" is a problem. At least put in a ductless re-circulating island hood. 6" larger than your range (ie a 36" hood for your 30" cooktop), even larger if you can swing it. It is not a great option but far better than nothing at all. It will not remove the heat, but it will at least slightly reduce smoke/grease/steam that would otherwise float through the air and get on everything in the room.

                    If you can somehow run the a vent along the ceiling and vent out a wall that would be better, but does not sound like a real option for you.

                    Last option if no island hood rules that I can think of would be to stick a small 1 or 2 burner induction cooktop on the island (very efficient, does not create as much waste heat as a gas top) for light duty cooking/heating and steaming/boiling. Then have a separate gas cooktop by the wall with a wall vented hood for the frying, grilling, searing, sauteing, etc. A little excessive, but any cooktop that sees any real work (gourmet or not) that is non-vented or filtered in any way results in greasy ceiling, walls, cabinets, etc. in a few years, and you can't just slap a new coat of paint over a grease film.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: khuzdul

                      Just to add to khusdul's points, no vent is also hazardous to your health. The gas cooktop itself releases particulates into the air of the home, as a byproduct of combustion, which are harmful to the lungs. The cooking processes also release particulates which are hazardous to your health, Not to mention the fact that a film of grease **will** settle on everything in and around that island cooktop. If you value good health, good indoor air quality, and the future resale value of your home, add the best vent that makes sense for you. Even a telescoping vent is better than no vent (and IMO better than a recirculating vent).

                      1. re: janniecooks

                        I sincerely appreciate everyone's advice and help. Its funny, we have never had anything but a microwave over the stove with a recirculating fan, and never used that very much. My wife is dead set on gas and there is amount of convincing that will change her mind. I now wish we would have tried to relocate things more/better. Wish i had discovered this board sooner. This kitchen was not designed well in the first place when it comes to venting and other space. There are no outside walls (walls that go to the exterior of the house).

                        Thanks again for all your help

                        1. re: sqmr3

                          Don't dispair, a lot of apartment dwellers have the same problem. I can't vent my hood, so I got the best re-circulating hood that I could fit in to the space. When I cook something really smoky, I open the windows/doors/etc. It's worked for many people for many years (my folks never had a hood or a vent...). Just if you can at least have a re-circulating hood that can filter the air...

                          1. re: khuzdul

                            khuzdul - which recirculating hood did you get?
                            and where did you do your research?
                            I' need to do the same thing and am not finding a lot out there...

                            1. re: monab

                              I went shopping for a recirculating hood with my friend earlier this year. She was ready to pay whatever amount to get a good one. We went into a high-end appliance store and was looking for help. The sales guy said they're all the same. The only difference is in the look (stainless/white/with or without microwave).

                              Also make sure the filter is installed correctly. Apparently that's most common mistake people make, he said.

                              1. re: monab

                                I have a wall mounted hood, which won't work for you as you are getting an island hood. It's a Viking and if I did it again, I would go for a hood with a higher CFM airflow rating (get more of the smoke) AND a larger hood (better coverage of edge burners)...

                                Once you go re-circulating though, they can only do so much since they output the air back into the room. Just get something that can suck up most of the smoke, heat and grease, and can cover your outer burners.

                      2. I had a GE Profile down draft (center vent) and it was horrible. The only thing it vented was the heat it pulled from the burners. I never used it.

                        To be a contrarian here, I would go with no hood and buy a standalone HEPA air filter from Costco. and find a place near the kitchen to place it. It will filter the air better than any hood, vented or not. Health issues? ROFLMAO--a re-circ hood will do nothing for fine particulate matter. Get a good HEPA air filter that can turn the air over every 2 hours in the space and you will be far better off.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: phxjcc

                          You are right that range hoods in general, re-circulating hoods especially, make horrible air filters in regards to most types of indoor air pollution (fine particulate matter, fumes, chemicals, odors etc.) from gas cooktops. If the concern is removal of those pollutants, the HEPA filter in the kitchen is a great idea - much more effective. DoE and Berkely labs agree on this!

                          Range hoods are not built for, nor intended to directly address health concerns of indoor pollution.

                          If your concern is larger grease particles, than the range hood trumps the HEPA filter in effectiveness. With the right CFM rating, installed properly above the cooktop, recirculating hoods can trap 30% of 10 micron airborne grease particles using the standard baffle system. Then the charcoal filter can remove another 50%. That's about a 65% efficiency combined on the first pass of the air captured directly above the source. Down to 5 microns, the combination only removes about 20% of the grease particle material. Grease particles in that size do not stay suspended in the air long enough for a HEPA filter to clear out in 2 hours, and these particles are going to go somewhere - the ceiling, walls, cabinets and other surfaces. The hood is situated directly over the cooktop and 20% to 65% removal of most of the particulate material (the greater the overhang of the hood beyond the edges of the cooktop and the greater the CFM, the more particulate matter it can get at) is better than 99.995% efficiency of 0% of the particulate matter since the HEPA won't see any of it... Fire safety labs which inform building codes and fire codes agree on this!

                          If you had a vented system, the remaining grease particles, as well as any of the other pollutants would vent outside (again the greater the CFM and the greater the overhang, the more of the pollutants it is going to be able to get rid of), the grease trap being more for preventing fire hazard of grease building up in the vent system then being intended for health or environmental concerns, which can still apply to re-circulating range hoods, as well as helping to reduce grease buildup on indoor surfaces.

                          If the HEPA filter did have a shot at removing the grease particles, it would do a much better job than a range hood, but the grease particles would kill the filters in short order. The replacement costs of the pre-filter and HEPA filter would pay for the range hood pretty quickly. Theoretically because the HEPA filter never actually gets a chance to remove any significant amount of the grease. The charcoal filter of the hood can get pricy, but they both last longer than the HEPA would in similar circumstances, and the baffle grease trap system never needs replacing, just regular cleaning.

                          Range hoods and HEPA filters are differently effective and cost efficient for different types of pollutants, all of which a gas cooktop will produce. Using both a range hood and HEPA filter would actually be far better than either alone (though I use a "HEPA type" filter and not a true HEPA filter near my kitchen).

                          1. re: khuzdul

                            What is "the right CFM rating"?

                            180, 300, 600?

                            1. re: phxjcc

                              That would depend on the size of area expected to be covered and how many BTU's output there is.

                              If one wants to be pedantic about it: Based on the Home Ventilating Institute, sum the BTU output that the range or cooktop can produce at one time and divide by 100. eg 6 burners "commercial" cooktop of 18,500 BTU each is 1110 CFM, a more normal 4 burner residential range that produces a total of 35,000 BTU is 350 CFM. (technically you are supposed to add in the BTU of the oven also on the chance that you will bake and use all burners at the same time if a range and not a cooktop) Then separately calculate a number based on 100 CFM per linear foot of the range if it is flush with a wall, or ~150 CFM per linear foot if an island. A 36" cooktop against he wall is 300 CFM, a 36" cooktop on an island would be 450 CFM Lastly take the total volume of the kitchen space and calculate enough CFM to completely cycle the air 15 times per hour or once every 4 minutes (10x15 kitchen with 8" ceilings is 300 CFM.) Compare the three numbers and take the larger of the three. Normal cooktop island, 450CFM. "Commercial" cooktop island, 1110CFM. If one has such a large number that they need a "return air", then calculate the return air to provide 80%, with the regular HVAC sized to and providing the last 20%.

                              However, if one does not cook foods that produce grease or smoke (I could not do that!), while it would not pass commercial muster (or possibly some local residential fire codes that kick in on new construction or major renovation), I could see how a homeowner can get by with an exhaust fan in the room or a HEPA filter alone if a homeowner who is comfortable physically with the heat rising off of their cooktop and keep an oil-rated fire extinguisher nearby. Probably not as good for re-sale value, but it shouldn't hurt it too much provided everything is up to code and passess inspection. But if the person loves to indoor-grill, then I'd go with a higher end of the hood BTU rating available for consumers regardless of BTU calculation malarky. My folks never had a vent or even an exhaust fan, and they cook smoky/greasy food up the wazoo, and though their kitchen walls get greasy, there just fine and don't plan on changing a thing.

                        2. Why not induction instead of gas? IMO, it's better in every way than gas and certainly electric.

                          1. There are a couple of posts on Chowhound where someone recommended a good snorkel down draft vent, but I can't remember the brand. It pops up and is about the same height as a regular pot so it pulls the air across the top and then down rather than just down. They claimed it worked very well. Wish I could be of more help.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mikie

                              I had one of those once and was very glad the day I tore it out and got rid of it. It might have been marginally better than the Jenn-Air downdraft I was stuck with in a previous house, but not materially. Either way they are basically useless.

                              Re some comments above about particulate matter in gas -- while it may be so that with modern testing tools such particulates can be found, they are so small and so few that I think it is safe and appropriate to dismiss any health concern about them. I suspect that the quantity of particulates one inhales from the outdoor grilling of a single steak, or from living next door to someone with a fireplace, or burning a small pile of leaves, or from traveling a few miles on any highway, are all greater than that from a lifetime of gas cooking. There surely must be thousands of things higher on the worry list than that one.

                            2. I'm figuring you've probably already made your decisions, but if you're still in a quandary, most independently owned, higher-end appliance stores have a ventilation expert who'll come out for free or for a small fee and do an assessment. If it's a respectable outfit and if f you are clear about your needs and budget, they can probably come up with something that can work for you. For example, a vent expert can probably tell if straight up through the roof venting is a possibility. I had to have that done in my old house and it only cost $250 (not including hood). I think lack of a vent hood will seriously compromise resale value if nothing else, because people will see it as a red flag and a sign they'll have to gut the kitchen to relocate everything.