more ventilation confusion

amspielmanApril 21, 2013

My family is moving to a Queens coop and we're renovating the ancient kitchen. I'm in the process of both finalizing the kitchen layout and researching appliances, and I cannot figure out the ventilation to save my life. I've been reading everything that seems relavent here on GW but I'm still at a loss, mostly because--as is common with these coops--I cannot vent to the outside. Do duct, no way.

The advice I've been getting from friends is to do an OTR microwave, which I am set against no matter how precious the real estate is in my small kitchen. The architect friend who's been casually advising me on my layout has suggested I just leave the wall above the range empty (cabinets are on either side), and do what most New Yorkers do: open the window. The open-window method of ventilation is what we're doing in our current kitchen and I'm tired of disconnecting the smoke alarm every time I so much as look at a frying pan.

So what do I do? Some kind of under-cabinet solution? The salesman at one of the appliance stores directed me towards a recirculating hood but I keep reading that recirculation isn't very useful (though maybe it's better than nothing). I'm hoping the wise GW members here will have some realistic suggestions for me. For what it's worth, I'm considering the 30" pro-style Jenn-Air gas range. Our budget is tight but I want to do this as correctly as I can within the physical limitations.

Thank you in advance. If this has already been addressed and I've missed it in my googling, I do apologize.

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Without venting to the outside, you can't do it "correctly". The best you can do is a recirculating hood - they're not great but there are some newer expensive models from Ventahood that claim good results.

One other thing to check is your local building codes to see if they've been updated to require outside venting. Local building codes trump coop rules so you "might" be able to force the coop board to allow outside venting - but this is really a long shot.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:08PM
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If you are allowed to put in a window fan or a window AC, you may be allowed to route the vent work through a window opening. Or, if there is a building air shaft, you might be allowed to vent into it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:38AM
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Effectiveness is the enemy of low cost. I believe it is possible to build an effective recirculating hood, but not at low cost. In fact, it would be the gift that keeps on taking.

What would be needed above the baffles would be a series of cleanable screens and replaceable furnace and charcoal filters. The fan used would have to have sufficient flow at significant pressure loss due to the restriction of the filters (not what most residential hood fans are designed for, although vane-axial fans can do this).

With respect to exhausting out the window, I'm unsure whether there exists a fire resistant flexible duct that could be used to connect to the window when cooking seriously, and withdrawn and stored otherwise. A fan in one window an a open second window will remove the smoky air, but not before significant grease precipitation on walls and drapes has occurred.

I concur with the suggestion to check codes to see if there is a way out.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:20AM
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Thanks everyone. The coop has made it very clear that they don't allow outside venting but I will definitely check the local codes, which is a good suggestion. Failing that I'm looking at recirculation, and will look into Ventahood. Realistically I'm not going to be able to build a hood on my own, unfortunately. I've been looking forward to finally having a range I can get excited about but I'm finding the apartment ventilation situation to be hugely discouraging.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:13AM
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Sounds like they want you to eat out more and cook less.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Yeah, no kidding. The building dates from the 30s, like many of the coops in my neighborhood, and the no-duct rule is not specific to my building. We can't have washer/dryers in the apartments in these buildings either�"there's communal laundry in the basements. I'm happy where we live, this one issue is just a huge pain and I'm looking for the best compromise. Or I should say the least bad compromise.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:11PM
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A sufficiently hoity-toity coop would anticipate that all food would be catered, and that the stove would only be used for an unplanned cup of tea.

If the recirculating hood captures a reasonable amount of the larger grease particulates, then an exhaust fan in the window (certainly they had those in the '30s) and another open window could take care of the odor and much of the residual very fine grease particulates. Winter might be a chilly time to sear steaks though.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 7:55PM
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kas, that's essentially the conclusion I reached on my way home from work today. Fan in the window plus recirculating hood will probably get me most of the way there, and I'll watch what I cook during the winter months when I'll probably remove the fan. For what it's worth, where I live in Queens is definitely not hoity-toity, the buildings are just old. Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:25PM
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