Quiet vent hood under 350CFM?

carolwawFebruary 14, 2010

We're in the process of building a house and need to choose a vent hood. I wanted a hood with a very quiet low setting, so I was thinking about the Zephyr Typhoon or a Kobe undercabinet model, but we just found out that we'll need makeup air if we choose a vent hood that pulls over 350CFM, so we'd like to stay under that. (We'll have an electric range, and our cooking is mostly of the boiling/sauteing variety, so that capacity should be fine.)

Any recommendations for a hood under 350CFM that vents well and has a quiet low setting? Broan hoods like the Allure are quiet, but get bad reviews on venting ability. The Zephyr Breeze is supposed to be quiet, but reviews say it's actually pretty loud even on low. I've also considered the GE Profile undercabinet JV536, and the Vent-a-Hood PRH9 with one blower, but can't find many reviews on these. I've called all the appliance stores in town, and except for the Broan, no one has any under 350-CFM models on display.

Thanks for your help!

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Makeup air should not be that big a problem (or expense) if you're building the house from scratch.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 11:56PM
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Actually, you shouldn't need make up air at all until you are at 1000 cfms so if you find one you like at 500 cfms, go for it.

I have a 900 cfm and do not require make up air. The next level up at 1200 cfms did require make up air so I stayed at 900.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Not true, in Canada or the northern US there are often code requirements for makeup air for anything over 300 CFMs.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:04PM
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Yep, we're in Oregon, and new code says 350 CFM is the cutoff. And our construction will be pretty tight, so that's probably a reasonable number.

Weedmeister--you're right about makeup air being easier to put in with new construction, but it has to be conditioned air, so it will cost something. We'll do it if we have to, but I'm still hoping that someone has a 300-ish CFM vent hood that they like!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:42PM
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Many of the Vent-A-Hood models are available with a single fan rated at 300 CFM, which Vent-A-Hood maintains move as much air as other hoods with a 450 CFM rating. If you purchase a model with halogen lighting and the SensaSource feature, the blower can be operated at an even slower speed that is quieter.

You might also look into a remote in-line blower system such as the ones available from Fan-Tech. They have fans available at many different capacities. The Fan-Tech remote blowers are very, very quiet and can be controlled with a variable speed control switch for near silent operation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fantech Kitchen Ventilation pdf Brochure

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:27PM
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Frankly, I think you should put in a more powerful hood and the required make-up air. 350 CFMs might be quiet but it probably won't be powerful enough. What kind of range are you going with, by the way.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:32PM
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sorry about the misinformation. I'm in New Jersey.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:56AM
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No worries, Cleo--the rules really vary widely from place to place.

Weissman--we'll be getting the GE induction range. This is definitely powerful enough that many people would want a high volume vent, but for our kind of cooking, I still think we would be OK with a good 300 CFM vent.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:28AM
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Thanks for the suggestions, wa8b! I didn't realize that the Fantech fans come in such a range of volumes. Do you have to do a fancy wood hood when you use a Fantech liner, or are there other options? Also, can you only use inline blowers if you vent to the roof, rather than the side of the house?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:06PM
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The Fantech liners are just like any other liner. You need to surround them with some sort of enclosure or hood, but you can pretty much do whatever you want. It doesn't necessarily need to be a fancy wood hood.

The inline blowers really need to be installed in an attic space or some other remote void area within the building. Fantech also makes an external blower, which is designed to mount on an external wall, but if you intend to go directly though the wall behind the vent hood, you might not achieve the quietest installation that you'd get if the blower was more remotely situated.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 1:39AM
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Elica and they also have cfm reduction for their hoods to meet the max allowed in Minnesota or is it Wisconsin

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:47AM
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Carol, can you or anyone here provide a source for this 350 CFM limit here in Oregon? I have been searching all over the web and can't find anything. My builder has never heard of this restriction and says he's installed many hoods of up to 1000 CFM with no problem from the inspectors. It seems that if there was such a building code in Oregon, the appliance stores would stock range hoods under 350 CFM and at least mention this restriction to customers.

We are currently remodeling and I'm in the midst of choosing a range hood and now I'm not sure what to do.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 12:31PM
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>>It seems that if there was such a building code in Oregon, the appliance stores would stock range hoods under 350 CFM and at least mention this restriction to customers.

Appliance stores tend to be a bit obfuscating in this regard imo

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 1:53PM
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Codes are not necessarily state-wide. Local communities can have more restrictive code. You should check with your local town.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 2:30PM
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I'm in Portland, and according to our builder, there was a code update in 2008 setting the 350 CFM limit. Our construction foreman told me that inspectors probably would let a higher CFM unit slide by without makeup air, but I don't want to risk backdrafting. Our builder does blower tests to make sure the house is very air-tight, so it would be a real risk, I think.

The 350 CFM limit may just apply to new construction, since an older house is probably not nearly as airtight.

The saleman at the appliance store didn't mention the restrictions at all--he really just seemed to want to sell us an expensive, large volume hood. (what a surprise!)

I think that vent manufacturers are starting to respond to the new codes. I noticed that many Zephyr wall-mount hoods now come in a 290 CFM version for "cold climate customers."

I found a store yesterday that had a lot of hoods "live" for listening. Unfortunately, they didn't have the GE Profile or the Zephyr Breeze. But they did have lots of Broans and Vent-a-hoods. I think I will go with the Vent-a-hood PRH9130. It's 300 CFM, has a large capture area, and seemed relatively quiet (and the sound it did make seemed mostly like rushing air, rather than a whiny or clattery motor sound). It's expensive, though--hope it's worth it! I'll try to report back after it's installed, but that probably won't be for a few months.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 3:53PM
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Thanks for responding. We're in Lake Oswego, which has some of the most restrictive building codes in the state, and yet my builder (who works extensively in this community) hasn't heard of this code update. I have him looking into it now.

During my web search, I did read up on backdrafting and it was kind of scary. Now I'm reluctant to go over 400 CFM even if I can get away with it. I wonder if anyone here has actually experienced backdraft with their high CFM range hood?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 4:12PM
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[OT - joannaca, Lake Oswego is close to my heart! We adopted our 3rd child from Hillsboro and stayed mostly in Sherwood but a couple of nights at a hotel in LO just before flying home... last Dec. 22-Jan. 4 in the midst of the snowstorm.]

I don't know much, but I'll tell you what we just purchased. (Don't know the NC code, just went with what salesman told us.)

We are getting an Electrolux induction (30") and a Vent-a-hood (PRH18 - 36", 300 cfm), supposed to pull the equivalent of 450. I was all set to get 600 (DH was pushing that way) but the salesman said we wouldn't need more than 300 for what we are getting. They are a very reputable long-time local store and sell more VAH than anything else, and that is what they put in if given a blank check for very high-end kitchens. He was even surprised that I wanted 36" with a 30" range, but it was only $20 more to get the extra width.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 8:47AM
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Thank you. I have been wondering how much exhaust power is needed for induction (we bought the 36" Kenmore Elite). That helps.

(OT-Coincidentally, we lived 3 years in NC, near Wilmington)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 2:12PM
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Curious what did you find regarding NJ, we are building new construction in Monmouth Co.

Our salesmen has told us we should have 600+ CFM for our Electrolux ICON 36" Pro-Style Gas Rangetop (E36GC76GPS). He was recommending Best by Broan or Zephyr.

This would sit inside our wood hood.

Anyone have any specific recommendations/advice.
I would like it to be quiet.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:53PM
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joannaca - here's to another person well familiar with the crazy LO restrictions!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 12:25AM
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home4shore, all vents are quiet on their lowest speed.

Figure out where your makeup air will come from, and how much air you want to exhaust outside. Do this all by yourself, not by listening to an appliance store person. Consult a real air handling professional if you want real knowledgeable input, useful to your situation. The HVAC forum is a start

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:00AM
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FYI, I called the building inspector for the City of LO and he knows of no Oregon code change that mandates a max of 350 CFM. He said to put in what I want.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:33AM
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We have finally moved in this month, so here is my report! We did get the VAH PRH9130, 300CFM. I like it so far, with a few caveats. It is not silent, but the noise it makes is a non-irritating whooshing sound, rather than the clattery motor-y noise made by my old builder-grade Broan. I can leave it on low the whole time I'm in the kitchen and not mind that it's going. And high isn't much louder than low.

As I mentioned originally, we don't do a lot of high temperature frying or searing, but for the boiling and sauteing that I do, the 300CFM fan has been completely adequate, even when I have a big stock pot at a rolling boil on the front burner. I forgot a pan of toasting nuts the other night until they were starting to smoke, and the smell and smoke was completely contained.

My only real complaint is the sharp corners on this model. They are at my forehead height, and a few times when I've leaned in to wipe the counter, I've come dangerously close to those corners. I'm think I'm getting used to it now, and hopefully will avoid bruising my head! There are VAH models that are more rounded, but they were significantly more expensive...

A minor issue is that the switches for the fan and light are under the hood. It's nice aesthetically, but I have to glance under to find the switch each time. The Zephyrs I looked at have the switches on the front, and I think I would prefer that. But not a big deal.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 8:37PM
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