Vent-a-Hood cleaning

polieFebruary 27, 2008

First, let me say this is a fantastic forum. I've learned so much. I will admit, though, that I've been confused by contradictory posts about the level of difficulty in cleaning the Vent-a-Hood. I've been inclined to get one for my kitchen, but now I'm uncertain. Are certain models of Vent-a-Hood range hoods easier to clean than others? Did they recently redesign their hoods so people are comparing different designs?

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A hood by nature will present you with another cleaning task. I have a VAH and no experiance with others.

I think all VAH's use the same design principal of their Magic Lung so pretty much the same cleaning routine will be used.

The hardest part to clean for me is the shell of the hood itself. It's just plain uncomfortable to bend as needed to clean inside the hood.

All hoods use some sort of filter that will need cleaning. VAH uses air velocity to spin the grease to a contaiment area, the blower housing. This collects most of the grease and cleans up with 409 cleaner and paper towels. Some grease will remain on the fan portion, the squirrel cage blower wheel. This unit can be frustrating to remove for cleaning but shouldn't need to be done all that often. Some degreaser and a soft brush works well here.

Many choices in filration methods to choose from each presenting their own problems.

Maybe a reverse engineered approach is called for. Choose your cleaning style and then look into hoods that can accomodate that style.

All in all I wish I didn't have a hood to clean but it comes with the territory I figure.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:45AM
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I think cleaning is pretty simple. If you are vertically challenged then climbing up and down a step ladder will introduce a little bit of hassle that I don't have.

There are a few simple pieces to dissassemble and they are all easilly cleaned in a soapy water filled sink.

The most challenging part is the bird cage fan itself. It is removed by way of an allen wrench (L shaped)loosening the screw that holds it on the shaft. Although not particulary difficult, you'll need to put the wrench in a place where you won't lose it and you'll have to place the fan back on just right; If pushed in too far, frame screws will protrude into the fan; if not pushed in far enough, you may have difficulty putting the shroud back on. Even though this sounds complicated it really isn't. Pay attention to what it looks like prior to removal and if it isn't quite right, make a minor adjustment. I've worked with other vents and this baby is a peach to clean.

It may be tempting to ignore the fan removal at cleaning time. I don't recommend skipping this as the fan accumulates the majority of grime. If you clean regularly, it comes right off with a soft bristled brush


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:31AM
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The Magic Lung system is about the easiest on the market! Not just for cleaning, but, reliability as well.

As far as getting rid of grease, simply use a razor, or puddy knife, and scrape.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 2:42PM
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"As far as getting rid of grease, simply use a razor, or puddy knife, and scrape"

Yikes! That's restaurant maintenance. If you need to scrape to remove grease, you're waiting way too long between cleanings.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:01PM
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Just wondering...I have a new VAH and I don't use it very often. How often should I clean this thing?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:15PM
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Depends. I'll go a few months. If I do some major smoke producing projects, I make mental notes. After a few of the big big ta do's and all of the typical cooking days, I'll do it. Even at times that I was convinced there would be pools of grease to clean, I was surpeised to see that there was not much at all. You can get away with a lot but the squirrel cage will be harder to clean.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:23PM
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If you don't use it very often the dampers may stick closed. You have internal dampers on the VAH itself and you should also have an outside damper on the roof cap of the ductwork.

You can easily see the rooftop damper in operation but the internal dampers must be listened to for checking operation.

Improper smoke removal during use would prompt an inspection.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Thanks - I guess I should get in there and check it out. I'd rather do it more frequently and have there be less mess.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:56PM
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you should consider using it regularly as well it is there for a purpose. Also the fan should always be switched on before you even start to cook builds up a draft that way for most efficiency.
I spray mine every couple weeks with some Citris based cleaner and run it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 7:32PM
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Thanks for opening this string. I didn't think about the necessity of cleaning the blower fan. I just assumed that the filters and hood housing would do it.

This may be a problem, because I am planning on installing the blower at the top of the vent, maybe even on the roof in an appropriate housing. I expect that the fan would be a lot easier to clean if mounted right at the hood, but then there's the noise issue.....

(Why does everything have to be so complex???)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:00PM
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On the VAH brand the squirrel cage blower wheel (fan) acts as part of the filter itself, which necessitates cleaning. On other units there is a filter, be it mesh or baffles, before the fan and protecting it fom grease. I do not know the cleaning procedures here.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 10:32AM
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jimjanhenry: I'm pretty sure it is not possible to use a VAH externally. The VAH uses the fan itself to throw off the grease, so the fan needs to be inside the hood, in front of your ductwork. If you want an external fan, you would need to choose a hood brand that uses a baffle filter.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 12:04PM
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Does getting the stainless steel canopy matter in terms of ease of cleaning vs. one of VAH's colored canopies?

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 10:43PM
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Now I'm confused. Is a VAH different from a hood like you put over a 48" Bluestar? We looked at one the other day, and they had the blower up by the roof, at the far end of the vent ducts. The owner turned on the vent and we stood there and talked at normal volume. She said their previous hood, having the blower right at the hood, was too loud to carry on a conversation while cooking.

I probably need to get busy on researching this.

Thanks for the response.

Jim Henry

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 10:52PM
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Vent-A-Hood (VAH) is a specific brand of ventilation hood. It uses a design called the "Magic Lung" (admittedly a somewhat silly and hyperbolic name) to remove grease using centrifugal force of the fans. Other brands of hood use different designs to remove the grease -- most commonly, a baffle filter. With a baffle filter, the fan(s) that move the air can in theory be anywhere along the ductwork, as the grease is removed by the baffles before it enters the ductwork. With the VAH design, the fan must be in front of the ductwork because it is the fan itself that removes the grease. In short, if you want your fans to be at the roof, then VAH is not the brand for you. That said, most people find that a significant portion of hood noise is caused by the movement of air through the ducts, rather than fan motor. The amount of noise caused by the ducts will be highly dependent on the particulars of a given installation.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 8:54AM
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I'll chime in here on noise. When I read that someone can stand in front of their hood and easily have a conversation while hardly hearing the fan, I can't relate to this. I have an ideal setup with essentially no duct-run (it goes straight back about 8" right oustide), but when I've got the fan on (even on low) and I'm at the range cooking, I find it quite difficult to have a conversation. My head's right at the source of the noise and it becomes kind of frustrating to talk. But, I also realize that "loud" is a very subjective term. Although I have nothing to direclty compare it to, I'll say that the VAH works very, very well in terms of capturing even the worst of what I can throw at it. Could it be better? Yes, but only if I'd done more research and gotten a 27" as opposed to 24" deep hood. Cleaning it (thoroughly) is a lot of work, but I gather that that's the case with every hood.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:26AM
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A cleaning update: This morning I decided to follow the advice of the VAH employee by putting the blower housing and blower shield in my DW, but on the top rack only to avoid the rusting, peeling paint situation I previously found myself in. Neither of these items fit on the top rack of my DW. The blower housing barely fits on the bottom and the blower shield does not fit at all no matter how I tried to configure it. My DW is a SHX33A05UC Bosch. The hindsight just never stops.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 8:16AM
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Have you tried just a wipe with paper towels and 409 on the housing? Quick easy and effective.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:17AM
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I just use soapy water in the dish sink. Takes a couple scant minutes and then set them on a towel to dry. It's simple


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:49AM
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Just a tip - finding the right place on the fan wheel to insert the hex wrench can be challenging when you are under the hood. Once I got it them off the first time, I marked the place on the wheel with some red nail polish (what fins to go between). It made replacing it so much easier.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:11AM
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I was wondering if I have a remote blower do I clean the blower assembly. If its in the attic do I go up there and get it? Does grease sometime leak out of fan assembly into the attic?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:33AM
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It seems plausible that there is some particulate size that would excape baffles or mesh filters but not make it to the fan on the roof and would thus coat the ducting somewhere. Although I don't have my new kitchen setup yet, I have had for at least 20 years a roof mounted exhaust fan connected to both a ceiling register (with plastic mesh) and the ventilation ducting that my ancient Litton cookcenter provides (metal mesh filter). I have not seen any drips in the attic. I will look closer as I clean out that area in preparation for kitchen demo and construction.

One would expect that grease that precipitated on the roof fan itself would be thrown out of the fan into the air (or onto the roof) in much the same way that the "magic lung" throws it off the VAH squirrel cage blower.

Commercial systems, which are supposed to be designed to have the correct air flow at all points, are required to be inspected and cleaned at intervals. However, commercial operations may generate more grease vapor in a day than you might make in a year (or at least more than I and DW make in a year). As grease can turn rancid (oxidize) into harder compounds, very slow accumulation might be the only effect in a residential system, with no grease flow to drip where one can see it.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:59AM
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