How high should I position the range hood above the stove?

Recommended Range Hood Height/Distance

Generally speaking, the cooktop or countertop height in your kitchen doesn’t really matter. The installation height of your range hood will depend on the type of range you have.

 

  • Gas ranges: 24 to 36 inches
  • Electric ranges: 20 to 24 inches
  • Outdoor grills: 36 to 42 inches

 

NOTE: These are general averages. You should always check the manufacturer-provided range hood installation manual for the recommended installation height or distance for your specific model.

 

Depending on how much kitchen space you have and how tall you are, your range hood may have to be installed higher than the recommended maximum height.

After all, the distance between your range hood and stovetop should not get in your way while cooking. However, your range hood should never be installed lower than the recommended height.

That’s because this minimum height limit has been determined by safety tests, as opposed to the upper limit, which is based only on performance.

A range hood installed too low will not only be inefficient but may also prove to be dangerous in the long run.

Again, the type of range you have is the most critical factor when choosing a range hood. But there are also other factors to consider. 

Video

What Size Range Hood Do I Need?

The best range hood size for your kitchen depends on the dimensions of your cooktop and the available space above your cooktop for installing your hood. The ideal range hood for your space should match the width of the cooking surface to make sure it effectively catches smoke and odors from the dishes cooking below. Most ranges and vent hoods are available in 30", 36", 42" and 48" widths.

Choosing the right range hood for your kitchen also means taking CFM and BTU ratings into account. CFMs, or cubic feet per minute, measure the venting strength of your range hood and tell you how much air your vent can suck up in one minute. The higher the CFM rating, the more powerful the vent. BTUs, or British Thermal Units, let you know how hot and high of a flame your vent can handle coming from a gas burner below. For proper venting, be sure to find a range hood with a BTU rating that matches or exceeds the BTU output from your range.

Hood Vent Styles

Traditional Mantel

Photo by Janis Nicolay

Building a custom wood mantel allows you to recess a hood insert above the stove, making it nearly invisible. The mantel can be as simple or as ornate as you want, either blending with your cabinetry or becoming an eye-catching focal point. This white-painted version with vertical planks subtly frames a showstopping cherry-red stove and creates a display shelf.

Similar to shown: Air-Pro unfinished 60-inch red oak detachable-front mantel hood, about $1,580; kitchensource.com

Luxe Metalwork

Photo by Courtesy of Dacor

A swath of copper warms up stainless appliances. Paired with distressed painted cabinets, this sculptural, bell-shaped hood adds even more old-world charm.

Similar to shown: RangeCraft Miami copper hood, about $8,500; rangecraft.com

Warm Modern Look

Photo by Courtesy of Subzero-Wolf

Another option for a totally seamless appearance: Have your cabinetmaker create a coordinating custom hood and fit it with an insert. Pairing the wood grain with a band of stone mosaic tile trim—running horizontally, not vertically as it does on the backsplash—gives this kitchen sleek, earthy appeal.

Shown: Wolf Pro Hood Liner, starting at about $1,080; subzero-wolf.com for showrooms

Cottage Character

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

A matching hood tops off this vintage stove. With a white finish and chrome straps and accents, it works perfectly with the circa 1930s Magic Chef range.

Shown: Modern-Aire customized PS-26 hood, starting at about $3,200; modernaire.com

how to clean a range hood

There’s a dirty secret about range hoods that I didn’t know until I saw the evidence myself. They collect that grease that is being sucked up. You might be thinking, duh.. But when I moved into my house I started noticing this disgusting brown sludge dripping from my vent.

This was a newsflash for me. You have to clean the filters or replace them. If you choose a vent hood with stainless filters you can pop them in the dishwasher to clean them. You might also need to take a wet cloth around the inside ledge (this is where most of the grease collects in mine). Be prepared to be grossed out.

If you don’t clean them out, it can be a fire hazard and also pretty gross when they start oozing grease.

How does a Range Hood work?

Before we delve into the technicalities of a range hood installation, it is vital to understand how range hoods work. This knowledge will provide footing for the other considerations that we will discuss in this article.

As mentioned earlier, the cooking process produces

As mentioned earlier, the cooking process produces grease and steam. These rise towards the ceiling and, as with all buoyant elements, expand as they rise. The range hood helps expel these elements by sucking them in and directing them out of the kitchen. Since the grease and steam expand as they rise, it means the higher your range hood is installed, the wider it will need to be to expel these elements effectively.

Now that we have seen how a range hood works let us look at the factors to consider when determining the installation height.

Phase 2 – Planning For Installation

Ducted or Ductless?

Range hoods can be installed in 2 configurations: ducted (“vented”) or ductless (“ventless” or “recirculating”). In a ducted installation, a duct carries the air from the range hood to the outside of the house; in a ductless installation, the air is scrubbed by an additional set of charcoal filters, and then returned to the kitchen.

Whenever possible, it’s recommended to connect a range hood to an outside duct. Not only will this result in better performance compared to ductless installations, but also lower noise.

Ducted Installation

You should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the duct size and type when installing a range hood. Connecting a range hood to a smaller duct than specified will lead to loss of performance, and may even cause overheating problems leading to mechanical failure.

Almost all high-performance range hoods require the use of rigid ducting. The reason is simple: flexible ducting has ridged walls, which create turbulence. Instead of a smooth stream, the airflow is randomized, causing loss of performance and additional noise. Conversely, a rigid duct has smooth walls which help to keep the airflow laminar, which is especially important for range hoods that extract more than 200-300 cubic feet per minute.

Flexible ducting is also susceptible to cracking and rupture, which could cost hundreds of dollars to locate and repair. Rigid ducting may be slightly more expensive and a little harder to install, but it’s the right way to go. (Also, many local building codes require the use of rigid ducting for kitchen ventilation).

In a ducted installation, charcoal filters should not be used.

Ducted Installation – Outside Discharge

One of the most serious mistakes in range hood installation is terminating the duct in an enclosed space, e. g. the attic.

This will cause the range hood to operate improperly (if it operates at all), due to the back-pressure from the enclosed space. No matter how big the space is, air won’t be compressed – range hoods are high-airflow devices, not high-pressure.

In addition, venting warm moist air from the kitchen into attic space is a recipe for a major mold growth problem.

If the range hood doesn’t suction air after installation, or you actually feel air blowing out from the filter surface – definitely check the ductwork.

Ducted Installation – Duct Caps / Roof Caps

An outside duct that exits through a side wall should end with a duct cap, while roof-mounted ducts are sometimes terminated with a “U” shaped elbow, allowing the air to exit while keeping out the rain and snow.

Make sure the cap is the same size/diameter as the duct – using a smaller cap will cause problems with airflow and static pressure. Some installers think it’s OK to terminate a 6-inch duct with a 4-inch cap… but it’s not OK. Not even close.

Regardless of the type of termination, it’s important to have a damper (also called “backdraft” or “airflow controller”) at the end of the duct. The damper keeps outside air from back-flowing into the duct, as well as keeping out unpleasant surprises in the form of birds, insects, and squirrels.

It’s a good idea to check the condition of the duct cap at least once every couple of years – make sure it’s not clogged, and the louvers and/or backdraft operate freely and smoothly.

Ductless (Recirculating) Installation

Although it’s always recommended to connect the range hood to an outside duct, there are situations where this is simply impossible. Many high-rise condominiums and co-operative buildings prohibit any modifications that pierce the outside walls of the building. Ultra-modern condos with concrete ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass windows also exclude the possibility of an outside duct.

The solution is installing the range hood in “ductless”, also called “recirculating” mode. In this situation, in addition to the metal filters that absorb the grease droplets, the hood uses charcoal filters (aka “carbon filters”) to absorb odors. After the air has been de-greased and de-odorized, it’s released back into the room.

If you intend to install your range hood in ductless mode, you would also need to:

  • Order charcoal filters (sold separately)
  • Make sure the charcoal filter is installed in the hood
  • Change the filter every 6 months

One of the most important things to keep in mind with ductless hoods, is that the charcoal filter should be changed regularly. Eventually, it becomes clogged with grease and odor particles, and will restrict airflow, which could cause the blower motor to overheat and fail prematurely. If you can’t replace the charcoal filter, it’s actually better to remove the it, than to operate the range hood with a clogged filter.

Replacement filters are available on our website, in the “Range Hood Accessories” category. Note that there are several types of carbon filters – please confirm which type your range hood model uses, prior to purchasing.

Electrical

The 2 most important considerations for the power connection to the range hood are: don’t cut the plug, and make sure the hood is connected to a dedicated line.

Don’t Cut The Plug

One of the most common problems with appliance installation is the electrical connection. The rule-of-thumb (and the UL regulation, BTW) is simple: if an appliance comes with exposed wires, it must be hardwired; if it comes with a plug, it must be plugged in. Following this rule will avoid problems with manufacturer’s warranty, as well as potential issues with inspection. All Futuro Futuro range hoods are equipped with a power cord that has a US/Canada standard, 3-pin grounded, 110-volt plug.

Some installers like to save a few minutes (versus installing an outlet) and cut the plug & splice it directly into the electrical line instead. Don’t let them do this! Not only is hardwiring a bad idea from the viewpoint of regulations and inspection, but if there’s a need to service the range hood, the technician must be able to disconnect the hood and plug in the diagnostic equipment. If the hood is hardwired, only a licensed electrician is allowed to modify the wiring. Avoid this problem by making sure the plug is not cut and the hood is plugged into an outlet.

Don’t Share The Line

Another good rule to follow is connecting each major appliance – including the range hood – to its own separate (dedicated) electrical line. It’s not a question of amperage (or “load”) on each wire, but rather ensuring that each appliance does not interfere with the others by causing voltage drops or introducing electrical noise into the line.

Devices like gas stove ignitors, refrigerator compressors, and microwave magnetrons, can place a momentary but significant load on the circuit. Mixing and matching different devices on the same line is never a good idea, but especially so when one of the devices is equipped with sensitive electronics or lighting transformers.

Please make sure there’s a dedicated line available for the range hood, that’s not shared with any other appliances, or dimmable lights. This will not only ensure longer service life, but makes troubleshooting and isolating potential problems a lot easier.

Regional Building Regulations

In addition to all the considerations mentioned above, it is imperative to consider your region’s building regulations and guidelines on the installation of range hoods. In most states in the USA, the average height from the top of the cooking range to the bottom of the range hood is 18”, and it is the minimum height clearance required by most building codes.

Another crucial factor in installing your range hood at the recommended height is the accurate measurement of the distance. Taking the correct measurements before installation is the first step towards installing the hood at the proper height, and should be undertaken with a lot of care and skill. It is also worth mention that you should get the correct type of range hood for your kitchen since slight variations in specifications will ultimately lead to incorrect installation processes and financial loss.

It is also important to consider the type of food

It is also important to consider the type of food that you intend to use your cooktop for. Some foods such as fish, bacon, and seafood will require venting more than other foods, and consideration should be made to that effect while determining the installation height and type of range hood. If you are a lover of foods that require you to wok, then you will want to consider this when installing your cooktop and range hood, and ensure you leave enough clearance for your cooking activities. As mentioned earlier, ease of cleaning and maintenance is an important factor as well, to avert the risk of fires and accumulation of grease.

The best way to know how high your range hood should be installed above the cooktop is to engage a professional kitchen designer. When you engage an expert, you will be guaranteed that due consideration of all the factors discussed in this article is done and that proper installation procedures are followed. This way, you will not have to worry about having your range hood hanging sideways, or the vent system not working properly due to poor installation.

References:

  • http://www.impalakitchens.com.au/what-height-to-put-a-rangehood/
  • https://www.coolblue.nl/en/advice/distance-between-cooktop-and-range-hood.html
  • https://blog.yaleappliance.com/how-high-do-you-hang-a-range-hood
  • https://kitease.com/range-hood/range-hood-height
  • https://www.smeg.com.au/smeg_au/docs/user_manuals/LIFTB900.pdf

June 12, 2014

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