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Cooker Hood Buyers Guide

So why have a cooker hood?

Moisture created whilst cooking can cause cause damage to the walls and kitchen furniture. In some more extreme cases, mould can form on surfaces. Also, steam that is not able to escape can affect kitchen units, causing them to warp and jam shut.

Strong smells created by the cooking can spread throughout the house and cooking oils may be vaporised when frying which can be deposited in all areas around the cooker. The décor suffers and redecorating is required sooner than should be necessary.

A cooker hood will, if installed with ducting, extract from the kitchen virtually all the steam and strong cooking odours. It will also collect on the disposable or washable grease filters, all the airborne grease created whilst cooking.

The hoods must not be too noisy or people will not switch them on. High noise levels can be tolerated for short periods on high speed; low speed must be reasonably quiet, therefore no more than 55Db maximum. Additional noise insulation is achieved by insulating the inside of the hood with special sound absorbing surfaces.

The hood must be ducted to the outside of the house using the correct size ducting, which is determined by the ducting diameter of the hood. There is such a good variety of ducting now available in flexible and rigid form that cooker hoods in most installations can be ducted out even if the wall upon which it is mounted is not an outside wall.

The hood must be powerful enough to change the air in the kitchen ideally 12 times per hour, but at least 8. To calculate the volume of the room, multiply length x width x height. An average room is approximately 25m3; therefore the extraction rate required for the average room is 200 to 300m3h. The minimum required as specified in the building regulations for new kitchens effective April 1990 is 108m3h.

The best way to remove steam and odours is to extract the air out of the room through ducting. Unfortunately, if you live in a flat or your hood’s too far away from an outside wall, this may not be possible. In this case, the only alternative is to recirculate the air. Stale air is sucked through a grease filter, then a charcoal filter for purification and then pumped back in to the kitchen via an opening in the hood. The higher the extraction or circulation rate, the more efficient the hood.

Some models now have available washable charcoal filters that can be cleaned in the dishwasher. These are effective for 3 years or more if washed on a regular basis.

When a hood is fitted in the re-circulating mode, it will be less effective than if it was ducted out, but it will still collect all the airborne grease at the source, therefore preserving the décor, weaken the cooking odours so that odours are largely confined to the kitchen area and dissipate the steam so preventing localised damp patches in the room.

Choosing a hood

One of the key things to consider is style and look. But to ensure your choice gives optimum performance it should be at least as wide as your oven or hob. If you are ducting to the outside of the house it needs to be the right size; a cooker hood installed with the correct ducting will extract virtually all the steam, cooking odours and airborne grease from the kitchen. If however, it’s impractical to install ducting in your home, then charcoal filters can be used to re-circulate fresher air around the room.

Hood Types

The Free-standing cooker hood, usually supplied with charcoal filter included, are at very competitive prices and are available in 60 and 90cm widths. These may be single or twin motor.

The Integrated cooker hood, most popular size 60cm. These models are only used in fitted kitchens. They are always fitted between wall units and have a door on the front, which matches the other kitchen furniture and effectively hides the appliance except when viewed from below. Opening and closing the door switches the fan on and off at the speeds previously set and also activates the cooker hood lights to illuminate the cooking surface. Very popular with the kitchen trade and price is usually included in the basic cost of the kitchen.

Built In and Canopy Hoods are fitted into the base plate of wooden or metal canopies. Available in both 60 and 80cm widths, with single or twin motors. These models are only visible when viewed from below as they are generally fitted into specially made decorative canopies.

Ceiling Mounted Hoods are feature hoods that are installed onto a ceiling, (which has be reinforced to take the weight) in an Island situation or above a hob that has been installed on a run of bass units against to the wall.

Ceiling Hoods are similar to Built In hoods, only they are much bigger and need to be more powerful as they are generally installed much further away from the hob and come with a remote control unit.

Chimney and Island Hoods are dramatic and designed to be suspended over a central island unit in larger kitchens – an interior designer’s dream come true. They are highly visible, high tech models that are used as features within the kitchen. Usually much more expensive than the other types of hoods. These hoods mainly feature halogen or fluorescent lamps and very high performance fan motor systems. Accessories such as spice racks, utensil rails and back plates are available to enhance the appearance of these models.

Classic Canopy and Cove are designed to fit snugly under an overhead canopy kitchen unit. They’re discreet and save valuable space in the kitchen. Canopy hoods are designed to enhance range style cookers and can be available in variety of colours and stainless steel.

Downdraft range hoods are integrated into the cooktop surface and are nearly invisible unless it is a pop-up down draft unit, which rises a few inches above your cooktop surface. Down draft range hood blowers are located in the cabinet below the cooktop or in a remote location away from the cooking area. A remote location blower will cut down the audible noise significantly when the range hood is in use. Duct work for a downdraft range hood usually has a more circuitous path, especially if the down draft hood is located in a freestanding kitchen island. Then the duct work has to be routed through cabinetry or floor structure to vent to the outside. Downdraft range hoods are more challenging to install in an existing kitchen, as the down draft blower and duct work require specific cabinetry design to accommodate the unit properly.

Ideally, down draft range hoods need to be accommodated for in a kitchen design from an early stage. Down draft range hoods need to suck cooking vapor sideways or down to the cooking surface, requiring that the down draft blower be very powerful in comparison to the same volume of venting from an updraft range hood.

Conventional hoods fit neatly under a kitchen unit protruding slightly. The controls are usually positioned on the front.

Telescopic are ideal for the smaller kitchen where space is at a premium. These clever hoods pull out from the wall when you need them and can be fitted with a light pelmet or optional stainless steel finish front décor panel.

Designer Hoods

Some of you may want a real piece of modern decoration in your home, that’s both multifunctional and fashionable, but also provides the requirements of a traditional cooker hood. If this is the case, then you may wish to look at a designer hood. The materials used can be dressed in thousands of decorations to please your taste and set a new trend.

Measuring Up

The kitchen hood must be large enough to sit over the oven and range and provide enough extraction power to clear the room of cooking fumes. Select the correct size of kitchen hood by taking a few simple measurements with a tape measure.

Measure the space above the range with a tape measure. You must leave a gap of at least 30 inches between the hob and the bottom of the hood. Measure the remaining space to the ceiling to ascertain the maximum height of the kitchen hood.

Measure the width and depth of the hob. Many kitchen hoods come in standard sizes up to 30 inches for width and depth. If the range width is any larger than this, you may need to order a custom-built hood to ensure it’s large enough to cover the range area.

Write down both the depth and the width measurements and refer to this information when choosing and buying the kitchen hood. Remember that the width and depth measurement is a minimum and the height measurement is a maximum when selecting the hood.


A few key installation guidelines can be applied to help ensure that the ducting selection is correct and installed in a way that optimises the extractor’s performance.

  • Choose the shortest and most direct route to the outside or the point where the air is to be released.
  • Ensure that bends are kept to a minimum.
  • Check
    the extraction capability and connection size of the hood and choose an
    appropriate size duct. Refer to the Model for performance ratings. DO
    outlet is 150mm (6”) then the ducting must be of the same area.
  • Air travels better through a round duct, as the air will travel at a lower speed, resulting in less turbulence, vibration, noise and energy loss. However, the installation space
    available may prevent this ideal.
  • A rigid duct is more efficient than a flexible duct and should be used whenever possible.
  • If flexible hose is used, the hose should remain taut and as straight as possible.
  • Special consideration should also be given to the selection of the wall terminal and the use of back draft dampers, as these also increase air resistance.


Round Pipe Ducting

A round duct provides optimum airflow performance and should be used if installation space allows. There are a selection of bends and adapters to meet most installation requirements.

Rectangular Ducting (Flat Channel)

Rectangular or flat channel ducting is an excellent alternative when space is restricted. Its low profile enables the ducting to be easily concealed in the ceiling void or along the top of wall units. We have a selection of bends and adapters to meet most installation requirements.

Flexible Hose Ducting

Flexible hose is available in round and rectangular form, to complement the rigid systems. It provides a solution to overcome awkward situations where a rigid system cannot be installed. Flexible hose is most effective for slow moving air, such as with tumble dryers, but can be used with higher volume appliances (with due care taken to ensure that its use is limited and that the hose is kept as taut and straight as possible).