Wanting to switch from downdraft of island vent

mltomsOctober 9, 2012

Hi there. Long time lurker, first time poster.

We plan on redoing the kitchen completely at some point, but I'm putting it off until we're in a better spot to manage the hassle of a overhaul. We have the original 1980s Jenn-Air down draft range. I've replaced cartridges and clocks since moving into the house 6 years ago, but it's clear that the entire range is about to go kaput.

I really loathe the downdraft in general and Jenn-air in particular. But I still don't feel ready to commit to a complete kitchen overhaul. If/when we do it, it's 95% likely that the range will stay in the same place, so I'm considering replacing the range and trying to get an island vent installed.

Does anyone have a ballpark range of what I'm looking at in terms of cost? Even an order of magnitude would be helpful. The range is the in middle of the kitchen, on the first floor of a two story house. Is it even possible to retrofit duct work?

Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.

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Is there an access attic (or just the roof of the house) directly above the cooktop or elsewhere in the kitchen? That would make things much easier.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:02PM
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No :( Right above the kitchen is the master bedroom. They're both pretty much the same size.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:06PM
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How about to the side, or along the corner of the kitchen ceiling (sometimes behind a soffit or descised beyind cabinet panels?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Not really. About 2-3 feet away there is some HVAC ductwork encased in drywall. I suppose we could create a fake drywall "beam" that runs perpendicular to that. One side would be filled with duct and one side just there to balance it out?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:41PM
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If by 'island vent' you mean a downdraft, you could go to the abt.com web site and look at the various telescoping downdrafts they sell. You'll also have to buy a blower (the fan motor) and a new cooktop. And your island needs to be wide enough to house the downdraft apparatus. Anyway,,, abt and ajmadison are good places to get ideas on prices. Then there is the installation charge and a local dealer can give you a quote.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Cavimum. Whoops! I meant island hood. I was so ticked off at my stove for waking me up at 4:30 this morning (long story) that I couldn't think of the correct name. Thanks for the info on abt. If we replace the entire island I would have room for a non-jenn aire downdraft, but I'd rather avoid downdraft altogether.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Forget flush-mounted Jenn-Airs and telescoping backsplashes. This is the only downdraft exhaust vent that matters:

Normally it nestles between your cooktops (or grill or other countertop appliances) smooth and flush with the countertop. But turn on the fan and it raises to well above your cookware, after which you can rotate the head so it's almost directly above the pot or pan you're working with. As such, it doesn't force your cooking fumes to make a U-turn into a Jenn-Air grille, or a rear telescopic downdraft to reach your tall front pots (both will fail at these respective endevours). When you're done using it, turn the knob to the off position and the exhaust head will automatically straighten out and then lower itself until it's flush with the countertop again.

It's the Gaggenau VL 051. It has, you'll soon find out, been recently discontinued. Fortunately, there are still several new ones in the pipeline if you look around. It's worth the effort, unless you're ok with a large permanent hood over the island that vents downward, or make a new plenum that runs overhead below the ceiling and outwards and do your best to disguise it (this solution, whilst often not attractive, still works the best. Steam wants to go up, and nothing catches it like a big overhead hood with a strong fan.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Thanks, lee676. I'd really love to do a true overhead hood. It seems so much smarter than trying to fight the laws of physics.

I'll talk to my husband tonight to see what he thinks about the plenum (learning that word will help me talk to contractors!!)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:51PM
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I could give you several other words to use with contractors, but I don't want to censor myself.....

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:10PM
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You may be able to run a duct horizontally in the space between two ceiling joists. It probably won't be a big duct -- I think the joists are usually about 8" high and 16" on center -- but better than a down-draft. You'd have to rip out that part of the ceiling drywall to put the duct in, plus figure out a way to get the duct through to the outside of the house. (The latter may be the trickiest part.)

Of course, this only works if the joists happen to be running in the direction you need the duct to go, but you might get lucky. If you don't know which way the joists are oriented you could use one of those electronic stud finders to locate them. That way you wouldn't have to rip out drywall only to find out things aren't in the right places.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:51PM
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I have a cooktop on an island and didn't want an obstructive cooktop fan. I looked into downdrafts and decided against it. I have a two story colonial. I went with the Best Sopressa Cirrus. It is supposed to be flush mounted into the ceiling. In a house with a second floor, it hangs about 11 inches down. It wasn't cheap. It was about 1800 and then the external fan brought it up to about 2200. You can also vent it internally. I was able to vent it externally with a room above it. I have normal 8 foot ceilings. I had to have a stainless surround custom built for the outside of the fan where it hung down which cost another 1200. So, it became extra expensive. It has LED lights and is very powerful. It works beautifully. I posted pics under the kitchen gallery...Transitional shaker kitchen. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:18PM
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sedonamazer - I'd love to see your Best fan. How to I find the pics - I tried the finished kitchen blog..... Where is the kitchen gallery?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:15AM
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Carolml: Here's how I got to sedonamzaer's lovely kitchen:

Go to the Kitchen Forum. Above the first message there is text that says: On-Topic Discussions [Switch to: Gallery : Conversations].

Click switch to Gallery. At bottom of the page search for transitional shaker kitchen.

Or, here's the link [first time trying to post a link :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Sedonamazer's kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 11:04AM
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