Things I'd wished I'd known about Ventahood before buying ...

keitelFebruary 24, 2008

Here's a little warning for those considering purchasing a Ventahood range hood:

I've have an EPH18-236 chimney hood 24" deep 36" wide for about 7 months. Here are some issues:

1. After 1 month the fan motor only worked on high. Several phonecalls, 2 service calls, and a visit from the regional manager later, it was discovered that the silly little plastic dampers were too big for opening and getting stuck. Solution: cut them down with a utility knife.

2. Following the manual exactly I washed the blower box in the dishwasher exactly 3 times before the box rusted and the paint peeled off in huge chunks. Had to order a new one from Ventahood and now only wash the greasy monstrosity by hand in a too-small sink. It fills up inside with water every time and I cannot get it out. As a result it drips down my wall when I put it back thinking its dry.

3. Today I removed the grease-laden blower wheels with an Allen key. I soaked them in hot soapy (mild dish detergent) water. When I took them out and rinsed them off half the paint has peeled off of one of the wheels and now I'm not sure the wheel is balanced while spinning. Thus, a little knocking sound has developed.

I paid a great deal of money for this hood ($1900 CDN including hood extension). I was led to believe that it was an excellent product. It is not. I am sad to say that, based on my experience, it is poorly-made and not well-thought-out. Cleaning it is absolutely necessary (there is a 1/4" deep pool of brown grease in the blower box) after stir-frying precisely one dish, yet cleaning it is a huge ordeal, and the parts are not built to withstand any amount of water. That, in and of itself, is ridiculous.

I really, really wish I had known all of this before because I absolutely would have bought something else.

Just thought you might like to know.

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keitel, wow, thanks for the warning. So what should I buy for a 30" gas cooktop??


    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 3:56PM
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My feeling is that exhaust hoods should only come in stainless steel (not painted finish). I love my stainless steel VAH, and have found it easy to clean. The housing goes in my dishwasher no problem. I've only taken the wheel off once, but it popped back on pretty easily. Otherwise when I clean the wheel, I spray it with Formula409 and turn the fan on which whooshes the Formula409 all around the wheel. My hood is 100% stainless steel (other than the plastic damper which has been fine on mine) and so it cleans very easily. I think there have been other reports on this forum of hoods with painted finishes that end up peeling, not only from cleaning, but from being exposed to high heat.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 7:02PM
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trudymom, I really don't know what to suggest. I didn't do a whole lot of research past this forum which swings pretty heavily toward Ventahood. But, I'm pretty sure if I had to do it all again I'd get a 27" deep hood with baffles. I've read good things about Best by Broan, but honestly, only in passing.

akchicago, I'd love to get stainless parts for it. I may look into it as this paint situation is ridiculous.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 7:08PM
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Same issue here with peeling paint on the fans. Otherwise, no problems with the hood in 2 years. I have not noticed anything that would indicate balance problems caused by the paint (I scraped off as much paint as would come off easily with a scotch brite pad.)

I have never put the fan cover in the dishwasher -- I am fortunate to have a very large sink, and have not found cleaning to be particularly difficult.

akchicago -- when you say yours is 100% stainless, do you mean your fans are stainless rather than painted (left fan) or white (right fan)? If so, maybe this is a design change since I bought mine.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 7:40PM
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Interesting post - the whole VAH concept has seemed squirrely to me :-). I hate cleaning and having baffles that I can just pop in the DW is real easy.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 8:16PM
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Oh crum!

I've come down to the Ventahood, or the Modern Aire (both in a curved, retro style). But I need them to be white. And the Modern Aire is lots more money, and hard to get in my area.

So crum!


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 12:30AM
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I'm pretty sure I'm going with VAH, it is either that or the Viking Professional, but I've heard more positive things about VAH. Also, I believe you can have the interior as stainless and only the exterior coloredI agree that painting the interior of a hood seems like a bad idea, but I also don't want SS (on the outside) going to 9 ft up and have to keep it looking nice, I think the color will be easier.

keitel, are you sure yours was fully prepared at the VAH factory? I was under the impression that VAH didn't actually use paint, but rather used a powder coat type of process. See the link below under the heading "Standard Finishes".

Here is a link that might be useful: Vent-A-Hood Options

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 2:39AM
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plm999, yes, mine was absolutely prepared at the VAH factory. Since my OP I've discovered that the knocking sound was caused by flying paint chips inside the blower wheel, and it stopped after I scraped more paint away.

I combed the VAH website last night and the issue of the availability of SS blower box and wheels is still not clear to me. I should clarify that the inside of my hood is indeed SS but that the box and wheels (the parts that see regular water) are paint. I've emailed VAH directly asking them about the availability of these parts in SS as that would obviously be a much better choice than peeling chipping paint after 7 months of use.

And seriously, if you're in the market for a hood, you should really consider baffles.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 7:37AM
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akchicago, are you saying that the blower box and blower wheels on yours are stainless? I just spoke to the distributor and he swears that there isn't a VAH out there with stainless blower box and wheels. I'm confused.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:15AM
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Keitel, you're right that the wheel is not stainless, so I mispoke when I said my VAH is 100% SS except for the damper. I am not sure which part you mean by the "blower box". My hood canopy and blower shield are stainless steel. The blower wheel is mounted on a box (which has the latches, is that what you mean by blower box?) that is also stainless steel. I hope that is clearer.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 9:32AM
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Bayareafrancy - I know that Klb_2000 has a white Modernaire hood that is beautiful. Perhaps she'll chime in on her experience with its white painted finish, or you can email her. I've seen photos of it before (it's linked on her Gardenweb "My Page" page), and she posted a photo on a recent thread in the Kitchens Forum (about whether to hang pans or not).

I have a stainless steel VAH, and have not had any problems with cleaning it, or the finish, or the dampers. I know Weissman said the concept of the blower cage seems "squirrely", but to me it makes logical sense. It just seems to me that it would be more efficient to have the VAH "magic lung" system than to have the inefficiencies and air turbulence arising from air having to pass back and forth and in and out of baffles. But, in any case, from what I have learned on this forum, the biggest effect to the efficiency and noise of an exhaust is the ductwork, way over and above whatever type of exhaust you have whether it be the VAH or a baffle system. But I digress from the subject matter of this posting....I too think that a painted finish is going to be a problem whatever the brand name of the hood. There have been reports on this forum of high btu ranges like the Bluestar (22,000 btu's) scorching/bubbling/peeling the painted finishes of cabinetry that is too nearby the range, so it stands to reason the same effect to happen on the painted finish of a hood which is directly over the flame. I would have re-titled this thread "Things I'd wish I'd know about hoods before buying..." cause I think the finish problem may not be brand-specific. I agree with Keitel that it is a shame that he has paid so much for his hood, and not gotten a quality product--there is no excuse for poorly-fitting damper at this price point. But I have not had any issues with my VAH, and would buy it again without hesitation.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:10AM
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My general rule is to ignore anything sold with the words 'magic' or 'miracle' applied to them.

A fan at the hood can more easily overcome flow resistance between the hood and the outdoors, but normally this resistance is small, a few tenths of an inch w.g., so attic and roof mount fans work fine when properly sized.

Baffles, by themselves, only remove the larger grease particles. The goal for the exhaust fan is to keep the effluent velocity high enough to exhaust most of the rest. There are commercial units that have the baffles backed by a type of ball-pack (sorry, forget the name and manufacturer) that can pick up most of the smaller particulates. UV can also be used to disassociate any grease attached to the ducting in commercial settings.

The VAH scheme of throwing the effluent against the box walls with the fan to precipitate out grease is not unlike the behavior of the baffles with appropriate flow velocity. Unfortunately, as far as I've found, VAH don't choose to compare their system with baffle systems using recognized test methods, so I have no data on whether the percentage of different sizes of particulates captured by VAH is better or worse than for baffles.

As one might imagine, in a commercial operation, cleaning a VAH type system as often as required would be out of the question, but this only applies to residential settings if the rate of needed cleaning exceeds one's patience and time to do it.

Whether removing baffles or removing VAH centrifugal fans and their boxes more greatly risks the glass surfaces of some types of cooktops installed underneath deserves attention, but I don't know the answer.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:47AM
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I didn't really mean for this to get into the umpteenth debate on the best type of exhaust system. I just posted to specifically mention problems I'm having with my VAH.

I'm not complaining about noise. I'm not complaining about the job it does. I'm complaining about the quality of workmanship that went into it.

akchicago, here are all the parts and their finishes in my hood. I'm doing this because you and I are still having a bit of a communication breakdown and I do really want to know what you've got re: what's available. My unit:

Canopy (outside and in): SS
Blower shield: SS
Blower wheels: Painted (one black, one white)
Blower housing? box i.e. the big box that snaps in OVER top of the fan wheels and that catches all the grease that gets flung at it: Painted grey

I'm very interested in finding out whether or not the blower housing box (at least that's what I'm calling it) comes in SS. Please clarify.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:08AM
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I don't think it's a quality of workmanship issue, as much as it is a choice of materials (i.e. the paint or metal used) question. I too have a VAH hood, and while I have not had your experiences yet, I do feel the paint they used on the boxes is not the best. Maybe a powder-coated job would be better than the paint they use.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:57AM
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I ran our blower cover through the dishwashwer a couple weeks ago. My only complaint was that the VAH UL sticker disintegrated. The really-baked-on grease just kind of emulsified into white goop that I had to scrape off after it finished running.

I've done it by hand with oven cleaner before, so this was an attempt to try something new. Next time, I might go with a warm soak in a 5-gal bucket. Not sure whether I'd add caustic or something else to get the gunk off.

I didn't take off the blower impellers, though they need a good cleaning, too. The plastic flap dampers are dinky- I need to make up a couple pieces of aluminum or something to replace them at some point. Oh, and I also need to screen our roof cap- our friends the squirrels dropped pecans down the duct.

The key to saving the paint job may be to set your DW so that it doesn't apply high heat to dry at the end of the cycle. I tend to use the "Sani rinse" setting on our KA rather than heat dry.

That and maybe tempering the urge to clean after every good stir fry. But you gotta admit that the oil collecting in the housing means it's getting caught.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 12:34PM
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All I know is that my dampers stopped working until I cut 1/4 of them away. Ventahood and the distributor had never heard of this problem. The paint has chipped and peeled and the box has rusted all to hell. Ventahood and the distributor had never heard of this problem. Now, the blower wheels are in the process of losing their paint. Again, Ventahood had never heard of this problem. Maybe it's not workmanship. Maybe it's cost-cutting materials. Maybe it's a fluke. Maybe it's the same incredibly bad luck that took me through 2 defective Wolf ranges, the problems of which, are you ready? Wolf had never heard.

Maybe I'm just an idiot for expecting more for my thousands of dollars.

Whatever you want to call it, it sucks.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 12:37PM
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keitel - I just went back to your original post - you've only had the hood for 7 months - isn't it still under warranty? What is VAH going to do to make this right?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 1:19PM
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An alternative, for those who have expressed an interested, is Prestige Hoods. I bought a Prestige UIBTF46OWC15 (46"x 22.5" x 14") and a Prestige RB1600 Remote Blower. One of the main reasons I bought this is the infinite blower control (not just low/med/hi settings) and infinite light dimmer controls, as well as the supposed ease of cleaning vs VAH according to Trevor at (didn't end up buying from them; went local instead).

Prestige Ventilation Inserts Include:
- Commercial Grade 304 SS Construction
- Dishwasher Safe SS Baffle Filters
- Variable Speed Fan Control
- Halogen Lamps with Dimmer Control
- Large Capture Area
- Quiet Performance
- For use with custom wood hoods, mantles,
arches, alcoves, and stucco formed hoods.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 2:09PM
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thull, my stickers came off immediately too. And I agree with you that it's good to see the grease is somewhere other than my ceiling. Maybe I have a sensitive nose, but I can literally smell that grease pooled in there from across the room. I've also learned that if I don't clean it right away, it hardens and becomes very difficult to remove later. So, at this point, when I stir-fry or sear meat, I know it means breaking down the whole unit after dinner and wrestling with it in the sink or smelling it for days.

weissman, yes, it's still under warranty. What they did after 3 months was send me another identical housing box which, I'm quite certain, will become ruined in the DW also. I could look into tempering my DW heat, although I'm not sure it has that capacity. If there is no such thing as a stainless replacement I may just have to keep washing it in the sink, in spite of what the manual says. And I guess I'll take the blower wheels off and forcibly remove the remaining paint so it doesn't fly off in chunks while spinning. These seem like poor solutions. I've emailed VAH about the paint issue and called the distributor, as I mentioned, who just said he'd never heard of it in the all-too-familiar, I don't really believe you kind of tone that I've sadly become so familiar with.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 2:21PM
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I put in a 42" copper VAH in our last house and was not impressed with the blower system;
1. Very noisy, too many 90 degree turns in the duct run part of problem.
2. No variable speed on lights or fan

On this house I got a used Thermador SS hood from Craigs List, threw out the blower and installed a remote Fantech blower, it sucks harder than the VAH and is so quiet on low speed you can not tell it's on.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 2:51PM
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keitel -- if you need backup on the fan issue, I'd be happy to take photos next time I clean the hood. It might be worth starting a separate thread to ask all VAH owners if they have peeling paint on the fans, and if so to post photos. If enough people respond and post photos, maybe the issue would get some attention.

As I said before, this is my only complaint about the hood -- I don't find cleaning all that difficult, but it helps to have an extra large sink. And, if the peeling paint is the only thing to ever go wrong, I would probably still buy the hood again. However, I don't think VAH should be able to get away with simply ignoring an obvious quality issue. (I emailed them myself a few months ago on the issue, not with an accusation but just to ask, 'should I worry about this?'. I heard nothing back.) At least if they came out and said, 'yes, the paint peels, but it has no functional impact and they fans aren't visible anyway', that would be something. Of course, I'm sure we'd both rather hear, 'we've reformulated the paint to make it more durable -- here's your free replacement fan'. Heck, since mine is out of warranty, I might even be willing to pay a few bucks per fan to get a more durable replacement if they had one available.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 3:53PM
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I just spoke to VAH directly. They absolutely do not make stainless steel fans or blower housings. akchicago, I think you've misunderstood my part labelling / description or you've truly got a stainless housing that VAH doesn't know exists.

According to the person at VAH the blower housing should NOT rust and if it happens again I should call and get another one sent (within the 1 year only of course). The woman told me to feel free to put it in the DW but only on the top rack, along with the blower shield (didn't know that).

She said, just as you suggested mrblandings, that the paint does often peel off the fans and it doesn't affect the functionality whatsoever. So, I guess the paint-peeling fans are just part of the deal, the housing not so.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 4:23PM
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And I am seriously leaning towards the VAH. Maybe I need to rethink this. I've already got the Wolf AG range problem. Do I really need to have issues with the ventilation? And why are we spending so much money and having so many issues? Life was much simpler when money was tight and I had no choice: Buy one of the cheapest appliances I could at Sears. Sorry for the nonesense, I'm feeling rather disillusioned about the notion of you get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:27AM
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JFYI, I have a broan as well as a Vent a hood both squirrel cage type.
The Broan is a you know what to clean as well and it's paint also peels. I think it is the grease interaction with the paint myself. Does not affect the performance though.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:03AM
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Given the inconvenience and cost of total hood replacement, perhaps the box can be locally reproduced in stainless steel by a sheet metal shop. Affordability would depend on the simplicity (or lack thereof) of their design.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:13AM
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time2go- I think it depends on how hard you're going to use the stove and how fussy you're going to be about the hood. If the range is going to get tons of searing/stir-fry/etc use, then you're going to accumulate more grease and need to clean more often. And if, like keitel, you can smell it across the room and it drives you nuts after every use, you're also going to wash it a lot.

If you wash it a lot, the paint won't last as long. That would be the same for anything painted/powder-coated that you ran in the dishwasher.

Personally, we stir-fry occasionally, but anything else that's going to splatter grease gets a screen tossed on top to keep from making a huge mess on the stovetop. And meat goes outside on the grill. I can count the times I've felt the need to clean the hood in 18 mo.s on one hand.

And I think houndhandler must've bought a hood with fluorescent lights, which eliminates the 2-speed fan and low/hi lights as an option. If you get halogen lights, you get multiple fan speeds.

I also have no idea if Brand X is going to last better, even if it costs just as much.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:19AM
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but I can literally smell that grease pooled in there from across the room. I've also learned that if I don't clean it right away, it hardens and becomes very difficult to remove later. So, at this point, when I stir-fry or sear meat, I know it means breaking down the whole unit after dinner and wrestling with it in the sink or smelling it for days.

IMO, this is not a disadvantage particular to VAH. If your nose is that sensitive, would you not have to do the same thing with a baffle or a mesh filter? And, as another poster pointed out, the grease is being trapped, and not creating a fire hazard in the ducts.

The grease hardening is called polymerization and is primarily a result of heat.

As to the paint coming off while in the DW, try a lower temperature setting, maybe the delicate setting? Paints generally soften with high temperatures and high humidity, thus a lower temperatures should make the paint last longer.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:51AM
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thull wrote: If you wash it a lot, the paint won't last as long. That would be the same for anything painted/powder-coated that you ran in the dishwasher.

Just to clarify, the peeling paint on the fans -- not the fan covers -- is not caused by washing alone. I discovered the peeling paint when I removed my fans to wash them for the first time, after over a year of use. But I suspect that the exposure to high heat and moisture that the fans get during normal use is pretty similar to what happens in a dishwasher.

For those considering the VAH, I would point out that a benefit of the VAH design is that unlike a baffle model, where the baffles must be kept clean for the hood to work effectively, the VAH works just as well when dirty as when clean. I only clean mine every couple of months. It's not a bad task for that frequency, but I would not want to do it weekly -- let alone daily. So, I would say that the more frequently you plan on cleaning it, the less appealing the VAH design may be to you.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:12AM
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Mr. Blandings, how dirty does a Vent-A-Hood have to get before fire danger becomes a concern?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:24AM
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cpovey, I realize that my sense of smell is both a benefit and a curse in life, and in this case, well ...

I also understand that it's my choice to engage in high-heat cooking, and this is the price of it for me (well, along with the thousands of dollars worth of gear to do it). But that's why I bought this stuff. Why else would anyone fork out all this money for "restaurant-style" equipment if not to try to cook like a restaurant?

I didn't mean to suggest that a baffle hood would require LESS cleaning, I just thought perhaps it would be easier cleaning, and that the equipment would be able to stand up to said cleaning. But, to be fair, I'm going to take the suggestion of the woman at VAH and stop screwing around in my sink and wash it in the DW from now on on the top rack and see how that goes.

As far as a lower temp on the DW goes, I checked and don't have that option. Honestly, I got a low-end Bosch so I could blow the bank on the range and hood.

I've discovered over the past 2 days that the majority of the grease smell was coming from the fan wheels which were a lovely chocolate brown with gunk and grease. And again, yes, better there and in the housing then on my ceilings or cabinets.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 2:52PM
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chipshot wrote: how dirty does a Vent-A-Hood have to get before fire danger becomes a concern

If you're asking, am I personally worried about fire danger to my home and family from the grease that collects inside the fan housing of my VAH, then my answer is no. That's all I'm really in any position to say.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 4:37PM
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mrblandings wrote: "For those considering the VAH, I would point out that a benefit of the VAH design is that unlike a baffle model, where the baffles must be kept clean for the hood to work effectively, the VAH works just as well when dirty as when clean."

In commercial designs, the baffles are at a high angle, and are supposed to drain the grease that they precipitate into a channel and thence to a cup. They do not need to be clean to function. For residential hood designs such as Wolf supply, the baffles are at a lower angle than allowed in commercial hoods, and the cup is nowhere to be seen. I will be interested to see for myself, when the time comes, how performance is affected by cleanliness. I suspect that precipitation will still occur so long as the passageways between baffles are not blocked.

Baked on grease could be a problem, but this will vary with hood height and heat flux from the cooking surfaces below.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:59PM
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As an owner of a Wolf hood, I would point out that there is not a grease cup. Instead there is a long trough that the baffles seat in. Grease runs down the baffles and into trough. As far as build-up is concerned, this has never been an issue. Grease ends up in the trough and there is sometimes a dark brown coating on the baffle plates, but nothing that could be called a build up. It is almost impossible to believe grease could build up to the extent it could clog the baffles-they are spaced fairly far apart.

Anyway clean-up consists of draining the grease from the troughs into the garbage then popping everything into the dishwasher. Since everything is stainless, there are none of the problems mentioned above with VAH. And when I have everything out I wipe down the blower. This usually has a thing film grease at worst on the frame. Sticking my hand and rubbing the impeller, I find no grease on my fingers although I don't know if anything is collecting on the inside of the blower cage. On the whole very simple cleanup and seems to collect most of the grease in the baffles since I find little inside the hood above them.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 8:20AM
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It appears I may have been incorrect in stating that baffle filters are less effective when dirty. I was probably thinking of mesh filters, which I believe do tend to clog up over time. I have no desire to start a baffle vs VAH debate -- if they both work equally well when dirty, that's fine with me.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:11AM
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Thanks, CapeCodCook, I'm glad that is the case as I intend to use one.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:21AM
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Keitel: I decided against VAH because their marketing claims strike me as untrue. If the VAH system was really better, everyone would use it by now. Patents don't last forever. I went ahead and spent more than I expected on my hood from Rangecraft but could not be happier. The hood is beautifully crafted and disposes of all the vapors I can produce.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 3:47PM
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Like bake sale, I have a Rangecraft--mine is a hood insert, though. I'm very happy with it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:05AM
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The blower housings and wheels are manufactured with the best and strongest paint available. No matter how well the paint is applied there are always people who will use cleaning agents that will break the paint down. No matter how good the paint coating is applied it would still begin degradation if you use a scowering pad, or agents like acetone or CLR to clean them. Its everyones first instinct when trying to clean tough grease and it starts the rust process when you damage the paint. Dont use anything beyond household degreasers like dawn and hot water. Once you use a scowering pad on the blower wheel or housing it will begin to rust as a result of damaged paint.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:27AM
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Wow this is bringing up an old thread.

I can picture exactly what keitel is explaining as I have had the exact same issues with my vah, however I have not seen any performance issues, and since the stainless blower covers hide the blower box and wheels I have not been too concerned with these issues.

I am neither a vah lover nor a vah hater, but I think vah was lying thru their teeth when they claim that these issues are "unknown".

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:02AM
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TYGUY, quick question...have you removed the fan itself for cleaning? I'm trying to determine how I do that in a way that doesn't mess up the reinstall. We are not at all handy.

Plus I have the darnedest time getting underneath the hood to work with the components as I don't want to be sitting or kneeling on my range. I have the 48 in VAH.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:52PM
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Sorry I didnt see your question sooner. I have not been reviewing this forum as regularily as I have in the past because of time constraints.

I'm not sure if you still need the info, but yes I have completly dismantled my vah for cleaning purposes. I didnt find reassembly difficult.

I think the most difficult part is accessing the parts when the range is right where you would want to be standing, and of course I dont want to stand or kneel with too much weight onto the oven. Usually I use a chair or ladder and then rest one foot somewhere on the range wirhout putting much weight on...more just for balance.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:35AM
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I am wary of VAH's claim of their 600 CFM blower being equivalent of other manufacturers' 900 CFM.

Their video that promotes the magic lung blower (by comparing it to the traditional baffle filter) actually convinced me to get baffle filter instead.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:11PM
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As an owner of a 36" island VAH, I agree with what has been said regarding cleaning and operation. I feel that the VAH design dates from the 70's. Variable speed blowers and SS blower boxes would be nice improvements. The noise level is fair.

I had my unit flow tested (CFM) prior to installation due to house make-up air requirements. During bench testing each blower moved around 300 CFM - but with both on the restriction of the factory provided 2-into-1 adapter duct reduced the total flow to around 460 CFM. This is with the unit sitting on a bench with no airflow restrictions and no ductwork beyond the factory parts. So it appears virtually impossible to achieve the claimed 600 CFM in any practical way.
The hood was installed with a short (5') section of 8" round duct that goes straight up from the hood and out the roof through an 8" Broan 634 hood vent. This would seem to be almost the minimum amount of duct restriction that could be achieved. The airflow in the final installation was measured at 357 CFM with both fans running on high speed.

I wish I'd bought a cheaper SS hood and an external blower. Had one in my last kitchen and loved it. Extremely quiet, easy to clean and good airflow.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 1:52PM
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I am curious about how the actual flow rate was measured. Typically, a door opening is utilized as an instrumented flow path.

At the door, one could measure by the pressure drop through a calibrated venturi, but in that case there would be a pressure drop and not only would that cut the actual flow rate of the hood, but there would be some house leakage not measured.

Alternatively, if there were also a fan in the path keeping the house pressure at zero to the outside, while also measuring the flow through the fan (by whatever means), then the flow rate measured should be the static value for the entire hood system. Of course, without the test fan providing zero differential, the actual flow will be less depending on where the MUA is sourced.

No magic is involved.


Correction: In an early message above, I asserted:

"A fan at the hood can more easily overcome flow resistance between the hood and the outdoors, but normally this resistance is small, a few tenths of an inch w.g., so attic and roof mount fans work fine when properly sized."

I now doubt that it matters much whether the restriction is before or after the fan, as most fans have fan curves that are based on total pressure drop around the path and do not differentiate between pushing and pulling. Differences could result from turbulence interacting with structures on one side or the other of the fan, and in such cases the actual flow might differ slightly for the same fan. I don't know how VAH squirrel-cage blowers might behave in this respect.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 2:46PM
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The flow was measured using a pitot type air velocity sensor on the output of the hood (hood output duct or roof vent outlet, respectively). A series of air velocity measurements were taken on the output cross section to achieve an average air velocity. This was used to determine the flow based on the area of the exhaust opening.

I hired an HVAC engineering house to do a certified bench test for code compliance. As I wanted additonal data I re-ran the test using my own equipment to verify calibration and the measurements were within 3% of the certified result. After the hood installation I repeated the same procedure at the roof vent to obtain final 'installed' results.

This was all done because of code requirement for providing a makeup air system for hoods over 400 CFM. Ours was a remodel of a 50's house and providing conditioned makeup air was onerous.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:30PM
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Nice work! Thanks for the clarification.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 2:10AM
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