electric cook tops on an island

ryseryse_2004March 20, 2014

One more thought about electric stoves -- I notice in some of the houses that there is no hood vent over islands with electric cooktops. What is that about?

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People that mostly don't cook is what that is about. :-D

Unfortunately, island cooking is rarely done well, with thought to both enough room for safety and for adequate prep space, and, of course, adequate ventilation.

This post was edited by live_wire_oak on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 12:04

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:09PM
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An island is an attractive place to put your picture perfect range top, and a hood will get in the way of your view and be costly to vent outside. So yeah, what live_wire_oak said.

An exterior wall is your best place to put a range/cook top because its easier to vent, usually a shorter distance to vent thus lower resistance, and the back wall helps in the capture of smoke, particulates etc. You certainly can "cook" on an island but the hood needs to be powerful, have good capture area, and extend over the cooking surface in all four directions. And that usually makes the setup less eye appealing. Anyone who tells you they get great results with a down draft or small fashion hood over their island is either fooling themselves or not cooking all that often. There is no magic way around the physics of it.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 3:07PM
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"People that don't cook is what that is about."

Ya know, I have to disagree. Before the kids left home I cooked A LOT. We still eat in most nights now that it's just my husband and me. We're not huge entertainers but a few times a year I serve a meal for 15 - 20 guests and host smaller dinners even more often. I call that cooking.

And I've never had a kitchen that was vented directly to the outside.

I'd be willing to bet that a whole lot of us haven't. Most, like me, were probably unaware how crucial an outside venting range hood was to the cooking process until they started reading and participating here.

I am not anti range hoods. I'm just saying that while you're out there casting stones, you might accidentally hit one of the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who manage to feed their family every day with just a builder-supplied recirculating fan, an over the range microwave 'vent', or, gasp, nothing at all!

Yes, if you fry fish for dinner the smell might linger for a few hours, And yes, if you walk away from your bacon for too long you might have to open a window for a minute to help remove the smoke, but no one is going to take away your cooking card because of it.

And if, like a lot of us, you're frying less these days and trying to get more fresh produce into your diet, how often would you really use the thing?

I'm being serious here. I have friends who put in really nice hoods when they re-did their kitchens. I've cooked with them and eaten in their homes, and the only times they've turned them on in my presence was to demonstrate how cool they are.

It might sound like I'm just being snarky but, really, I'm struggling with this issue right now. We just bought an older home on a lake with a horribly dysfunctional kitchen. Something has to be done to it right away and, for a variety of reasons, the best placement for the stove appears to be in an island.

While we're trying to keep renovation costs down, there is wiggle room for a decent range hood. And, since we're moving a wall or two and need to repair the ceiling anyway, installation fees won't make much of an extra dent.

But. If I put in the kind of range hood that stevep2005 says I need to be effective, I'll be blocking an absolutely gorgeous view. Thirty five years of practical cooking experience makes me wonder if it's really worth it?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:58AM
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As someone who lived in NYC apartments with no hoods but cooking smells in the hallways always, I am staunchly in the pro-hood camp. I didn't cook all that much at the time but when it came to cleaning the kitchen, the gunk was there.

Sure it's possible to live without one. And with an electric cooktop there is way less gunk on the ceiling and anything adjacent.

There are, however, hoods that don't block views and downdraft vents for islands. Right now, I have a radiant electric cooktop and I use my hood every single day. When my burners go on, so does the hood. Because I really don't want to smell what I've cooked 6 hours later in the bedroom on the second floor. It makes a difference.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 8:59AM
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I speak from experience, NOT from some sort of privileged high ground. I spent the first forty years of my life cooking in rundown apartments with NO externally venting hood and often no hood at all. I have also sent dinner guests fleeing into the apartment hall while attempting to blacken swordfish - didn't try that again at that place but I did build a shelf over the apartment range and added an inexpensive Home Depot hood. It really did little to help with smoke but finally provided lighting to cook by - small victories.

The OP asked about vents over electric cook tops. A couple of shared our experience. It's all about priorities, and budget. But please, effective venting sure as heck is worth it on many levels.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Well, it's true. Hood or no hood, the 30th floor of a NYC high rise may be considered privileged high ground by some -- whether or not that's entirely rational.

However, the topic is whether or not an electric cooktop on an island requires a hood. And if so, what type is best. The answer on this forum is inevitably yes. So, regardless of anyone's circumstance the answer is the same.

The fact that someone doesn't want to block a view is a priority. Perhaps not in everyone's life. But it's a valid consideration.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:25AM
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The OP is looking at inexpensive rural properties in my neck of the woods. I pretty much know these people inside and out as my family is from the area, and ARE these people. They don't cook. Unless you count a can of mushroom soup poured over a pre-prepared hamburger patty from the freezer with some boxed mac and cheese.

My cousin, just outside Jackson where the OP is house hunting, DOES cook, and she got rid of that useless island cooking station and put a range on a wall.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:39AM
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rococogurl, I'm interested in the downdraft vents but I don't know anyone who has one and haven't found many folks online who love theirs or feel it is effective cost-wise or ventilation-wise. Can you steer me in another direction?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:41AM
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live-wire-oak, I hear you. There are lots of people where I live (rural Indiana) who "cook" like that. I've used a can of soup or two myself -- but most days I am a little more ambitious than that ;) And, while I've never had a good quality outside-venting range hood, I've also never cooked on an island -- or with an electric stove. I may be back here doing mea culpas soon.

How does one decide what is most important?

I know I can live with the food odors because I've been doing so as long as I've been cooking. I rarely blacken food -- whether on purpose or accidentally, lol. So, to me, I don't feel like I would be giving anything up by going without a hood.

On the flip side, if I put a hood over the island, I sacrifice the view. If I readjust the layout to move the range to an outside wall I lose an efficient work triangle and even more of the view because I'd have a range AND a refrigerator to contend with.

I'm sure that a lot of people who choose to go hoodless will never be nominated for a chef of the year award -- but some of us DO cook and are just forced to compromise.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:20AM
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Agreed, downdrafts aren't ideal but in some cases they are better than nothing. Yes, you can open a window. But imagine doing that this past winter in Indiana. Seriously, you need a hood.

The other way to go is a ceiling mounted box hood which will not interfere with the view. They key is the right blower size and type.

This will not be especially budget friendly but it will do what's needed. The "box" can be hood material or constructed.

Some will say the hood needs to be lower and cover the whole area etc but even passive chimneys above interior wood burning grills are not as low as vent hood manufacturers say they their hoods should be.

Disregard kitchen style in these examples -- the photos are to show the type of hood I'm talking about. Alternately, there are flush-ceiling mounts but those are rare and even more costly and probably impractical unless you're building vs retrofitting.

Otherwise, as LWO says, it may be better to move the stove to the wall and perhaps put the sink in the island. There are hoods with glass canopys that could be candidates though usually they are ultra modern.

I don't make judgments about what someone "deserves" in a kitchen. I've gone from teaching cooking for most of a decade to going out 7 nights a week and not cooking at all for another decade. Kitchens are intimately related to the rest of the house and there are emotional issues issues with them that aren't always comprehensible -- we want what we want. If someone only opens a can of soup twice a year and wants a view while it's heating then that's fine with me. Because honestly, not everyone will want what I have in my kitchen -- I hate upper cabinets and lights hanging from the ceiling f.ex..

This post was edited by rococogurl on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 10:33

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:21AM
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rococogurl, Thanks! Your first photo even has a lake house feel to it. I'll ask my contractor if this is possible for us.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:30AM
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live-wire-oak, I'm laughing at myself right now after reviewing our meals this past week. We had: take out pizza, baked pork chops in a white wine sauce that starts with canned gravy, tacos, and my husband's favorite ultimate comfort food ... tater tot hot dish. Lol. In my defense, it's been a busy week and I did braise some short ribs on Sunday. Still, you may have a point ;)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:43AM
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Never mind.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 11:22

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:03AM
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As noted, there are a lot of poser kitchens photographed in magazines, and very likely they exist in some houses. I see little point in debating them -- they are what they are -- and in any case they are irrelevant to the question of how to ventilate over an island.

Where view is critical I would go with the suggestion above to use a larger (more commercial like) hood at the ceiling to keep the view clear. Such hoods are not as expensive as more refined (and visually obtrusive) island hoods such as Wolf sells. They will have to overlap the cooking area by one to two feet in each direction depending on hood aperture height above the pans. Ducting path needs to be considered. One might observe rococogurl's second photo and imagine that as the unit sinks deeper into the ceiling, it grows wider and longer at a rate sufficient to retain its capture angle with respect to the pans.

Such larger apertures require appropriate levels of air volume flow rate, and hence make-up air issues have to be addressed. The cost in this case moves from the fanciness of the hood exterior stainless steel to the air handling equipment.

If finances allow, solutions such as may be seen at Greenheck's website can be appropriate.

I think this question boils down to how much is the view worth to me and can I afford it versus how much residual odor and grease can I tolerate.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:16AM
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Our house has a kitchen island with the cooktop installed on it. There is no hood above because there is no space for the vent/ductwork. The kitchen has a bedroom directly above it. So.... the cooktop has a downdraft. Not great, sort of lame, but better than nothing. We cook 5 out of 7 nights a week.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Hi kaseki, It's obvious that you know what you're talking about. I didn't, at least not at first. I was like - say what? And then my eyes glazed over in precisely the same manner they used to in my high school Trig class.

I took another look just now and I think I get it. The closer the vent is to the action the = smaller it can be. Greater distance = larger area. Am I with you so far? And then, because the vent is sucking air from a wider zone, it sucks up more air? And that's why I'd then need something to introduce air back into the room? And that's when the train carrying Jose that left Chicago at 10:03 PM collides with the ... Sigh. I am good at a lot of things, anything math-ish is not one of them ;/

Cavimum, Would you do the downdraft thing again or seek another option?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Sophie Wheeler

How about just don't do the island cooking zone, period? Those who renovate kitchens generally have goals to make them function better, not just put new lipstick on them. Cooking only occupies 10% of your kitchen time, while prep occupies 70%. Create a great prep island and a good perimeter cook station. Your kitchen workflow will be better, your house will be cleaner, and your pocketbook will be fuller. Island cooking is over rated, expensive, and less effective. And that's with the best case scenario of an overhead vent. With a downdraft, or no vent, especially on a too small island to carry it off, it's understandable why many people don't enjoy cooking.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:41PM
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".....because the vent is sucking air from a wider zone, it sucks up more air? "

Well, no actually. How much air gets sucked has to do with the cfm design-capacity for the fan and duct...period. Where it gets sucked from is more important. Longwinded way of saying careful consideration to the capture-area of the hood should be given...not just cfm capacity. The rising steam and smoke from a stove doesn't automatically seek out the entry-point of the duct. It must be captured and guided. A small-capacity fan/duct with a properly-designed hood will do a much better job than high-capacity fan/duct in the wrong place and/or with an poorly designed hood.

From what I've seen of "street-of-dreams" houses and magazine photos, designers don't seem to care whether anything really works or not. "Pretty" trumps function at every turn with them.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:31PM
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hollysprings, I've looked at this a hundred ways. Our contractor has weighed in too. It all comes down to this: I want to be able to see the lake. It's the reason I'm moving from my comfortable, almost paid for, fixed up the way I want it home in town to this 70s-tastic project house. The island, and its range, are the best ways to accomplish this goal while staying within my budget. It's not a perfect solution but I've accepted that. And, even with the not-so perfect island cook station the space will still function better than as is. I swear, I'm not just slapping lipstick on a pig here.

Gwarstong, What kind of tradesman should I look for to make these complicated design decisions?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:52AM
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Briefly, the up-rising effluent has a range of velocities that can be as high as 3 ft/s. This gives the effluent sufficient momentum that it can reflect out of the hood if the air velocity in the capture area is too low. I usually argue for 50% of 3 ft/sec times seconds/minute times aperture area for a reasonable CFM guess, and this assumes something I've only observed but not otherwise quantified about the aerodynamic efficiency of the baffles w.r.t. the impinging effluent.

So go bigger, use more CFM. This is quite crude really, but because manufacturers do not provide enough data, quantitative analysis is precluded. Go higher, bigger aperture, more CFM.

On top of all this, the zero static pressure rating of the blower is not what you get when moving air past baffles, through hood transitions, up ducts, and outside. And there is MUA loss unless it has its own powered blower. Assume that a vent blower rated at X CFM actually moves against some modest MUA restriction about 2/3 X and you will probably be safe matching blower to hood aperture. But keep in mind that all of this is only approximate.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Edeevee you really should take advantage of the collective wisdom of the Kitchen Forum and post your layout there. You will get tons more helpful suggestions pertinent to your specific home's issues and goals.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:21AM
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This is also why down-draft designs don't work very well. Except for shallowest pans and skillets and those closest to the inlet, they're typically unable to capture the rising smoke/steam.

I've lived extensively with both. Overhead with appropriately-designed capture area is by far the best. However, there are ALWAYS other considerations...and it appears to me that that's kind of where you're at.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:01PM
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edeevee - We completely remodeled our kitchen almost 18 months ago. New cabinets, all new appliances, etc. We replaced a ca. 1986 JennAir downdraft elec. coil cooktop with induction and Thermadore telescoping downdraft.

Like I said, we are stuck with downdraft because of the island and that bedroom upstairs, right over it.

Relocating the cooktop would have been a worse decision for layout, and we still have nowhere to vent an overhead hood. It is what it is. I don't fry foods, so there isn't very much grease going up into the air, if any.

Another home in our neighborhood eliminated any type of exhaust when they remodeled their kitchen. They installed a gas cooktop and . . . no vent . . . anywhere. I'll take what I have over nothing.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 5:45PM
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kaseki and Gwarstong, I so appreciate you sharing your vast knowledge of effective ventilation with me. I just wish I was smart enough to understand it. Here's what I think you're saying: It's important to have a good fan. Size is a biggie but it's not everything. The placement and shape have to be given equal weight because smoke, grease and steam like to meander -- so I need a hood that is wider than the area it might meander to. And then I think I lose you, but maybe: Things up in the attic need to be just as powerful as the parts below the ceiling or I won't be able to get rid of my 'effluent' once I get it up there? Two things I am pretty sure I understand: I need to find someone who speaks your language and it likely won't be cheap. I might need to make this a separate project later on if I want to do it right. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Cavimum: 'It is what it is." I hear ya. In a perfect world you wouldn't have a bedroom over your kitchen and I would be able to find inexpensive appliances that are invisible when not in use ;) Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:25AM
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Getting lost here...please tell me you're not intending to vent into the attic space.

For an experienced/familiar person, vent/hood design isn't too complicated and components for almost any configuration are readily available. However, I do agree it can be expensive. Depends on lots of things beyond the equipment itself. Inventing/creating a suitable vent-path can be simple or very complicated.

If you move ahead, I encourage you to pay attention to noise. People get hung up on cfm capacity, buy the number, and then find out it sounds like a jet turbine in the kitchen every time they turn it on. Since you've spoken of an attic, which leads me to believe there may be possibility of through-the-roof vent, I would advise consideration of roof-mounted fan rather than above-the-stove fan. Many available. That takes the fan noise completely away from the living space. The remaining noise is only the sound of the air moving into the duct in the kitchen.....which is typically MUCH less than the fan itself makes.

For example, I'm presently limited to an el-cheapo fan/hood that vents out of a wall. The squirrel-cage blower is right above the stove and the noise it makes in-operation is extremely annoying. Plus it does so feeble a venting job it's almost not worth turning on. From visiting other people's homes, I know I'm not alone. If you like to cook (I do) this is a worthwhile thing to have made right.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Noise is a very big deal and the reason my husband rarely uses the fan when cooking unless he is deep frying something. If I was putting a ventilating system over a stove top that would be a very big concern.

We have lived with ours but always talked about replacing it with something quieter. (We have a Bosch diswasher for that same reason but that's another show.)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:53AM
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Without a whiteboard or blackboard it would be hard to provide a decent lecture (i.e., be relentlessly pedantic); so let me try an analogy.

Think of a train with the cars linked together by couplings. The train is on a track. The track may meander around, but the cars stay hooked together. Even if the couplings were long Slinky(R) springs the cars would ultimately have to follow one another.

The air is somewhat like this. No air is removed from the house without some make-up air (MUA) leaking in. If the house were sealed then the kitchen ventilation fan could move no air up the duct (track is cut off from the rest of the world). Unsealed, whether the train engine is at the front or the back or in-between, the cars move more or less together. So with an exhaust blower at the roof, in the hood, or (not usually done) in the MUA path and given enough MUA for the flow wanted in the hood, all of these approaches work. Some are more convenient than others, some are quieter than others.

One big difference between the air and the train analogy is that the air can wander off the track easily, and take some time to get to the destination (out side). The hood aperture helps collect these errant "cars" and minimize their opportunities to wander off and leak water and oil onto the countryside (kitchen walls).

So, the exhaust blower should meet a flow requirement set by the hood aperture size. There has to be a blower somewhere. It is not necessary or generally desirable to have a blower in the attic and one in the hood.

A roof blower may(!) be quieter than a hood blower. Generally, a roof blower can be made quieter (as perceived by the cook) than a hood blower.

Resources listed at my Clippings will provide background, although much of it is technical. A conversation with a HVAC designer may help, particularly one familiar with MUA and restaurant kitchens. Or, as others have noted, in your case much of this may be moot due to configuration limitations.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:57AM
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hollysprings, This is hard to express without being misunderstood and I certainly don't want you to think I'm pointing a finger at you -- I'm not. But. When you suggest posting in the kitchen forum my first thought is - of course, yes! I've lurked there for years and I know that 90% of the responses are amazingly insightful and helpful. But then there's that other 10%. Those are the responses that insist that anything other than stone surfaces, high end appliances and, yes, a fabulous vent hood do not a real kitchen make.

I'm buying a modest home with a dysfunctional kitchen that does not currently take advantage of its view to a gorgeous lake.

We took a big financial hit a few years ago when we had to help our oldest child through cancer treatment while our youngest was still in college. It didn't help that my husband had taken a chance with a new employer just before the recession hit. Needless to say, our savings are still recovering. And because we now know that life can take an unexpected turn at any moment, we're determined to live within our means and not take on unnecessary debt. Consequently, we will not be borrowing money to update our 'new' home.

That means I have $30,000 to weatherize the house and replace the HVAC, to open up a couple of walls to the view ... and to make the kitchen, if not perfect, at least attractive and able to hold a regular sized refrigerator as well as a landing space next to the stove.

Most of the participants in the kitchen forum will understand this and see past the "vintage" cabinets I am determined to reuse, my choices of laminate countertop and vinyl plank flooring and the gently used appliances I'm trying to gather via craigslist. Most of them will try to honor my decision to make the view my top priority.

But some of them won't. I've watched it happen. I've seen overly harsh and cluelessly judgmental criticism suck the joy right out of a project. To me, life's too short for that. And now, while I appreciate all the excellent and well meaning advice I've been given, I think I'll go back to lurking :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:50AM
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I see the most beautiful kitchens and truly wonder how many of those people who pay for such an extravagant kitchens actually use them every day? I know several friends and relatives who have to work so many hours trying to pay for the 'very best' of everything that they don't have time to cook.

So, I am totally into functional over style.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:59AM
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Yo RyseRyse....perfect!

I'm reminded of the alleged "fireplaces" all the new little houses in my neighborhood have...similar to my own except newer. They do, actually, look like fireplaces but good luck actually building a fire in them. 100% style; no function. Unfortunately, an incredible number of "kitchen designers" are just like that. The object isn't to have a fireplace that works or a kitchen that works. The object is to get the house sold by making it pretty.

And, actually, if you don't cook much who cares? However, if you do cook and especially if you enjoy cooking these shortcomings become annoying very quickly.

And I'm very much on the OP's side, here. If you have a budget, (don't we all?) you have to compromise. But I think it best that whatever level you settle at, the thing still has to work -- for you.

This post was edited by Gwarstong on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 14:20

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 1:28PM
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I have been using a downdraft hood for the past 15 yrs (cooktop on a peninsula), I cook almost 7 days/week, and am remodeling now -- adding an island which will house an induction cooktop. We have a lovely view that we do not want to obstruct with an overhead hood, so will again go with downdraft. We are using the Bosch for two reasons. First, it is high, so more likely to capture those vapors moving up from the pan. Second, its possible for it to be very quiet - the motor can be attached either below the floor or outside. I will put ours in the ceiling of the room directly below - a utility/laundry room.

I do not do much frying, but my Broan, which only extends about 7 inches high, does a very good job. The bosch extends 13 inches; a friend has one in his kitchen and he reports excellent performance (and he likes to fry).

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 7:42PM
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A simpler way to explain MUA --- one cannot drink soda/water/beer/whatever out of a bottle without allowing air to get back into the bottle. A vacuum is created by drinking and at some point, the bottle needs to collapse or air has to replace the liquid that has been drunk. It came to mind as I've been watching our granddaughter drink from her bottle... even she learned at a young age about MUA and releases the nipple so that air can get into the bottle. Air for a vent duct works basically, more or less, the same way.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 2:07PM
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I'm coming in late to this discussion, but I will put out there that smokers tend to notice the lack of a good hood much less than non-smokers do. And non-smokers without pets notice it much more than those with pets do. My kitchen is generally noisy, and there's a school a block away, a freeway a mile away, and a direct line to a small airport, so I can tolerate the fan noise of my hood much better than people who have have lovely peace and quiet. OTOH, I don't use scents, or scented soaps, have animals, smoke, burn candles, light fires, etc., so I really notice the noisome (bad smell) odors of cooking. Even with the overpowered hood, some escape, and the ovens add their own bits, too. The only thing I ever heat on the stove without the vent on is the teakettle, because it comes off as soon as it begins to steam, and it's just water. I couldn't bear it.

What you choose to do in tradeoff with the view depends on your tolerance. I would walk around the hood to see the view. :) I'm wondering, however, if you could rig your own version of a descending hood. If I understand right, you can vent up from the island position, yes? They make very fancy hoods that pull down for use then go up against the ceiling to be out of the sightline. They're very fancy and designed for very fancy European apartment (small) greatrooms. I bet you could do something less fancy to adapt a regular island hood to retract if it didn't have to be blingy gorgeous in the descended position.

Regarding replacement air, it's only a big chunk if your house is in a position of extreme climate where you're defeating your HVAC by running the hood, or if your house is so airtight that you'll suck the oxygen right out of the house and make the gas appliances unsafe. I live in a very temperate climate in an insulated but not sealed house. If I'm running my hood high enough to be more than the air coming in the cracks can make up for easily (and I can tell by feel), I just crack a little window in the kitchen. :) I know people who do that when it's snowing, too. :)

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:54PM
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I know I said I was going back to lurking but I was feeling guilty about all the wonderful knowledge you all have shared with me and then ... pillog showed up! Pillog! Pillog who owns the dreamiest vent hood I have ever seen! If I could afford that hood I would fore-go the view. Heck, that hood would BE the view!

Thanks again to all of you. I learned a lot!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 5:58PM
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The slightly retractable hood from Miele. I have no idea of the cost.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miele adjustable height hood

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:29PM
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Edeevee, thank-you for the compliments on my hood, but really, it's the superduper variable speed double fans that are the great part. The canopy is pretty, but it doesn't actually do much. :)

I thoroughly understand your hard and fast budget, which is why I thought about engineering something to go up and down, rather than buying it. :) If you'd be willing to have something lovely obtrude into the view, however, it might be worth considering what you can accomplish with some ingenuity and determination. The hood insert will still cost something, but I've seen great island hoods made from things like old oil drums with applied patina, glass both clear and painted to match the scene with car engine paint, copper sheets, tiled plywood, and even free-cast concrete. You could make something that's a unique expression, if you were willing to have it in the sightline. :)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:00AM
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Guess what? Guess what? Guess what? We remeasured, reconfigured, rethought, then remeasured again -- and I can have my stove on an outside wall! Now that I know how important this is ... whew.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:02PM
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That also means that you can use a freestanding range for more savings. :)

(I have a freestanding range with an under-cabinet hood, vented to the outside, in my "function on a budget" kitchen.)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Excellent news!

That means you also get a backsplash! I don't mean fancy feature, but you get a wall, best with a wipe clean surface, to capture the rearward splatter. Walls are great!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 3:24PM
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northcarolina: I bought a used slide in with coils for now on the advice of an appliance guy. He said that people like me who've always cooked with gas need a "starter unit" to ruin. Apparently we can't be trusted with a new stove's delicate top. You're right though; now that I have a wall, I'll save a ton of money when I'm ready to move up to a big girl range ;)

pillog: A backsplash! Exciting but scary. The one I have now is hammered copper. I love it. Most everything wipes right off of it and what doesn't ... I call that 'character'. I'm not sure that will work in this new space. Too bad I'm not a talented ceramicist who could create an art installation and call it a backsplash -- like someone I know ;)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:40PM
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Our home that we bought 3 years ago has a gas Bosch cooktop in the island with Bosch downdraft vent that pops up when you press a button. Not a big fan of the Bosch cooktop as the burners don't light up dependably. But have really loved doing my cooking on the island. I can prep and spread out dishes and spices, etc. right near where I'm cooking. The downdraft works okay, but in truth we rarely use it. We cook a lot of seafood on the cooktop. The smells just don't seem to be a big deal.

We are remodeling but think we will keep the cooktop in the island because I just don't like to face a wall when cooking.

Our kids are in college now but when I consider the danger issue, I really don't agree with those who argue that the island cooktop is more prone to burns and mishaps. The person cooking is facing outward with a good view of the room vs. facing a wall and having children approach from behind, tug at your sleeve . . . Don't really understand what is safer about that.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 3:20PM
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Jujulu, there are all kinds of different island setups, just as there are all kinds of perimeter setups, and each have their pros and cons. The safety issues that are spoken of about island cooktops aren't about who is walking behind you. That's equal no matter which surface the cooktop is on, and has to do with other considerations in kitchen design. One important factor we talk about is putting the stove in a protected position. That is one where people aren't always walking by where they'll get smacked with hot pans, walk into open oven doors, startle the cook, or tug on mommy's shirt when she's holding a hot pan.

Your island cooktop is obviously positioned well in your kitchen to be able to protect against the last. In my friend's kitchen, it's positioned where people coming from a couple of different directions could sneak up on the cook, even though the cook has panoramic view of most of the kitchen and the breakfast room. The same dichotomy could happen with a perimeter stove--in one position it could be well protected with the cook aware of the comings and goings, and in another position it could be at the axis of all bad things happening.

The bigger dangers with island cooktops, especially gas ones, come from how people gather around. There is often seating or leaning space across from the cooktop, whence a glass of wine can be knocked over into the flames. Or spilled milk can put out the flames and they can reignite with a whoosh. It can seem to work perfectly for years, then a drop of water hits the pan and a big spatter hits a kid right in the face and causes ER trips and scars. All this stuff happens. People try to guard against it.

Personally, I wouldn't want to see all the spatter I clean off of my backsplash and counters by the stove to be all over my kitchen and kids, but if it's just crud and not burning, then it's the same issue of cleaning up. I almost never fry, mind you. I get spatter from soups and stews (bubbly things) and sometimes even sautes, and when it hits me, it hurts!

You have to have a big enough island that you can protect the pots and burners from interference by people walking on the non-cooking sides. Not people just walking by, but the errant golf clubs, leaping out of arms cats, bags of groceries plopped down near the active stove, etc. Add to that, people tend not to keep the surfaces on islands as clear as they do either side of a perimeter cooktop. That is, they don't give it so much space of honor in an island, and all of a sudden, Junior pushes away the juice which pushes the napkin holder which pushes the pile of junk mail right into the stove. So when you're making your island big enough for the walkers around, you have to make it that much bigger for the sitters down.

All this can be done. People who are careful can make anything work. Statistically, people spend very little time actually facing the wall tending the stove while they're cooking, and much more time prepping, which is part of why--excluding the better position for venting and containing spatter--most people like the model of a perimeter stove with a prep area on an island across from it. The island helps protect the position of the stove, while offering the cook an open area to work in.

For some people, however, the pivot way of working isn't a good option, or just doesn't fit their druthers. They, like you, prefer to work next to the stove, rather than across from it. There are also people who poke at their cooking food too much, interfering with the cooking, rather than helping it, but I'm not accusing you of that.

You obviously prefer your setup, and aren't bothered by whatever smells and dirt you have without a good (or switched on) vent. If you're happy with what you have, we're not judging you for making your choice. All of the preceding is for information and full of "usually" and generalizations. None of it may apply to your own kitchen and cooking style, or you've made other compensations to deal with the issues.

All the best for your new kitchen.

Edeevee, you give me too much credit. I didn't make the tiles--they're commercially available artisan made. I just arranged them. You can go into any good tile store, or website, and choose beautiful tiles too. If the tile didn't work out and I had to use all green soapstone, this--Erin Adams for Ann Sacks and available as is--would have been my backsplash:

Edit: Sorry. That's not in the budget. I just love it so jumped at a chance to post it, and wish I had an excuse to redo my bathroom and use it. :)

My friends used grab bag, builder grade, glossy tiles and some ingenuity, to make amazing art tiling. I promise you, their budget was a lot smaller than yours. Some alternatives to the living finish of copper include stainless--and there are some great textured stainless sheets out now, far beyond diamond plate, if you want something with a little punch. Still very economical. You could go sleek with glass. You could even use back painted glass. It would cost a lot more, but you could also cut out as much of the wall behind the stove as possible and install a glass wall instead and use the view as your backsplash and see it behind the hood. Or just a fixed window between the hood and the top of the stove. Or you could search the art departments near you and see if someone is studying tile and wants to trade experience for materials. :)

This post was edited by plllog on Sat, Apr 12, 14 at 16:59

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Well what a broh haha! I agree with some and disagree with some, but I think that some of you are quite right that some of the kitchen forum is over the top. And dear I am sorry one might cook a lot and enjoy it and still want a cooktop on an island. ( I can't even remember the last time I opened a can of soup) I guess I am in the minority and like the smell of cooking. I still need a downdraft for fish or greasy things, but I never deep fry and rarely use grease so I am not sure what are all of the problems with venting. I have used a downdraft vent for years and it is fine. But then I am in a minority because I do not eat in the kitchen, I prefer to not see the mess and relax over the meal with a glass of wine and a beautiful room, perhaps that is why I don't mind the cooking smalles I just wipe down after dinner

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:09AM
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