Range hoods....do they always need to be wider than the range?

artemis78January 20, 2010

I'm stuck on the range front, and wondered if anyone could help.

We are brand new to range hoods, since our ancient kitchen has no venting. We have a 36" vintage gas stove (I think the burners are two 9K BTU, two 12K BTU, and a 20K BTU oven---or something in that vicinity). The hood will go between two upper cabinets, so settling on its size is holding up getting the specs on those sorted out---augh.

I had read that range hoods should extend beyond the range three inches on either side, so I've been hunting for a 42" hood. However, I've read of a number of people using 36" hoods with 36" ranges, and there seem to be a LOT more options in that size---and it makes the math on balancing the cabinet door sizes work much better, since they aren't symmetrical.

Should we really stay with a 42" wide hood to get decent ventilation, or will it work to have a 36" hood? How does that change (if at all) if we go with a deeper hood? (The cabinets on that wall will be 27" deep and our range is about 28" deep, so from that perspective we could use a 27" deep hood without too much concern design-wise.) In either case it will be a wall hood, probably the canopy chimney type (runs straight up the wall and vents through the roof).


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Dear artemis78,

If you do a search on this forum you will find many helpful posts on the pros of selecting a hood that is 6" wider than your range. Based on GW advice we did put a 36" hood (24" deep) over our 30" range. We are happy with our selection, although sometimes I feel that the hood looks a little too big over our range. (We have no upper cabinets on our range hood wall.) I think 30" would have been fine, especially since we got a very high powered, 1000 cfm vent hood. I think that the extra 6" should be just one of several considerations in selecting your hood. We love having a hood and use it every day!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 7:18PM
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I use a 30" wide (by 24" deep) hood over my 30" Capital range with no problems. If I had a grill on my range or did a lot of hot wok cooking, I'd have considered something wider/deeper but this has been fine for me.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Thanks---guess I should clarify the question. The past threads thoroughly convinced me that it's better to have a hood that's 6 inches wider....but how much better? I hadn't even considered not doing that until I started having trouble finding 42" hoods, and then in turn started finding threads where people successfully used smaller hoods, or where someone recommended deeper rather than wider, etc.

What are the "costs" of having a hood the same size as the range? We're trying to juggle the tradeoffs for storage and cabinets with potential tradeoffs for ventilation, but I'm having a hard time since I'm starting at zero, and can't quite envision how much of a difference different widths or depths might make for venting.

Hope that makes it clearer--thanks!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 8:59PM
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If you have cabinets flanking the hood it's less important - deeper is more important than wider.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 9:36PM
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As always, the issues are capture and containment. In the category of capture, one easy to remember _approximation_ is the six-inch wider rule. The real rule is that rising above each pan's cooking surface is effluent that expands as it rises. (Expansion is around 20 to 25 degrees half-angle.) If you want to capture all of it, you have to have a hood that is big enough to overlap these conical zones of expansion. Deeper is one helpful approach, and cabinet flanking is another, as weissman notes above.

Obviously, the location of the centers of these zones is the centers of the burners, and the size of the zones starts with the sizes of the pans used. There is also the question of which burners would be used for "smelly or greasy cooking, and which for more benign cooking. And there is the question of the occupant's tolerance for smells and grease condensation.

All of these aspects are factors, along with cost and aesthetics, in deciding whether to go for maximum capture, or reasonably sufficient capture, or inadequate or no capture (as I've seen in some magazine photos of poser kitchens with no hood at all).


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 11:58AM
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With surrounding cabinets and, I'd assume, a back wall a 36" hood over a 36" range should work fine. Be prepared to have a little more grease collect on the edge of the cabinets and back wall. Routine cleaning should prevent any nasty build up. How high you mount your hood also plays in to the size of hood. Typically hoods are mounted around 30" from the top of the range but there's a pretty wide variation. I've seen people go as low as 25" or so. That's too low IMHO especially with higher end (i.e. higher BTU/h) cooking surfaces. At about 28-32" mounting height, standard 36" with cabinets and back wall should be fine. If you go as high as 36" or more, then I'd look at a hood that extends out farther from the back wall. This will allow it to capture the fumes coming away from the wall better.

I have an island configuration which is the worst since there's nothing to contain the fumes and sight lines are a concern. When we had our hood installed, the installer showed us what the recommended 30" height would look like. At that height, the bottom edge of the hood would be right at the bridge of my nose which would block the sight line across the island and I think cause me to bump my head if I had to lean across to reach the back burners. I ended up having him move it up to between 34-36" position which worked a lot better. Fortunately, we did have the foresight to oversize our hood. In the end, you will have to make your own trade offs between performance, aesthetics, and cost.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 1:11PM
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