Getting a suitable hood is on the top of my priority list. It is part of the kitchen ventilation that helps to remove grease, smoke, heat, odour and steam.
I had previously cooked in kitchens with no hood, under cabinet ductless hood and a mesh filter wall mounted ducted hood. From these past experiences, I had a list of things to consider when selecting a hood.
· Ask around for recommendations from friends/ family and to try out their hood.
· List down your own criteria: extraction rate, filter type, mounting.
· Read up on the product specification (online or brochure).
· Go to the shop. Look at the design and envision it in your kitchen. Does it blend with the kitchen design and cabinets? Switch it on and listen. Is it noisy? Switch it off and try removing the filter. Is it easy to wash the filter?
1. Style and size
- Wall mounted hood-Most popular & mounted on the wall.
- Ceiling mounted hood- Also known as island hood & mounted on ceiling. It is more expensive.
- Under cabinet hood- Fixed underneath the cabinet hood.
- Downdraft hood- Hides away beneath the countertop and rises up at a press of the button or is fixed to the front of a free standing cooker. It is the least effective for ventilation as it goes against the law of physics. Hot air goes up and the hood tries to suck in the air horizontally or downwards. It is an alternative option for a kitchen island layout.
- The width of the hood needs to be able to match or be larger than the width of the hob.
- Most standard chimney hoods sold here are 90cm Width and 50cm Depth.
Match the hood to the kitchen design. For example:
· Choosing a stainless steel hood for an industrial kitchen.
· A smart technology contemporary angled hood will be an eyesore in an old farmhouse kitchen.
2. Ducted hoods or ductless hoods
· Ventilates the air through a duct via wall or the ceiling to the outside.
· Is more effective at ventilating the kitchen compared to ductless hood.
· Also known as recycling hood , unvented hood, circulating hood
· Filters the air and then circulate it back into the kitchen.
· Odour control can be managed with a charcoal filter.
· It does not remove heat and humidity.
· It is an option for those whose building regulations do not permit ducting eg Singapore HDB flats.
3. Suction power
It ranges from 500m3/hour to 1600m3/hour for the common domestic kitchen hoods I have come across in Malaysia.
The higher the suction power, more air will be extracted per time interval provided there are no issues with makeup air. Makeup air issues are not applicable for us in Malaysian domestic households as houses here are not built that ‘air tight’.
Gas hob generally requires a hood with higher suction power compared to electric hob due to the combustion material it produces. A higher suction power might also be noisier.
4. Baffle or Mesh filter
Baffle filter forces air to change direction causing grease to separate, condensate and drain into the oil tray.
Mesh filter filters out the grease. It needs to be cleaned regularly. If not, it will reduce outflow. Trapped grease on the mesh is a fire risk and commercial kitchens are advised not to use mesh filter.
I also experienced incidents of grease trapped in the mesh that liquefy and drop into the pot when boiling. My method is soaking the mesh filter in hot boiling water with some baking soda (wear a pair of rubber gloves) helps to remove grease. I also use a dish brush. I dry it vertically against the wall on top of kitchen towels.
5. Noise level
Hoods sold have a noise level ranging 50 to 73 decibels (db) which is a wide range.
- 50 db – Refrigerator
- 60 db – Normal conversation
- 70 db- Busy traffic
- 80 db – Alarm clock
Would you be having conversations while the hood is running?
Do you have an open kitchen that connects to the living room with a television and a hood that is running simultaneously?
60 decibel is 10X louder in intensity than 50 decibels (logarithmic scale).
Other factors that increase noise level of hood:
- Mesh filter
- Higher suction power
- Clogged or greasy filter
6. Warranty and Service
Most has a basic one year warranty but there might be options for extended warranty insurance for 1 to 4 years. The salesperson at the electrical shop had advised me to consider an extended warranty insurance if the appliance worth RM1K and above.
It is also good to check if there is a service centre locally for spare parts, accessories, troubleshooting and servicing especially for imported brands.
So what did I chose?
A wall mounted ducted hood with a suction power of at least 1000m3/hour, noise at lowest setting less than 60db and a baffle filter.
Worth reading before you install or buy a kitchen hood.