Island range hood with venting challenges

msbrandywinevalleyOctober 20, 2013

I'm hoping to find some updated range hood info. What I'm looking for is a good quality, relatively quiet, well-priced, stainless and glass 36" curved hood for over an island.

I live in a 2-story colonial and there's a room directly above the island, so outside venting will require some "detour routing" in the ceiling as well as two 90-degree bends.

According to my HVAC person, I need at least 500 CFM; more is better, but I'm not going to make any provisions for make-up air.

I'm looking at the Broan E15936SS (500 CFM) and the Zephyr BML-E36AG (600 CFM). I'm sure there are others out there priced under $1,000, but will they work well and hold up over time? Can anyone help me with my decision? Thanks!

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Moving the cooking station should be on the table as one of the choices here if island ventilation is that difficult. Post your layout to see if some other layout with the cooking station on the perimeter can be worked out. It'll be cheaper, work better, and probably give you better workflow unless you have a 10' island for that cooking zone planned.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Moving the cooking station is truly not an option. A family room addition we put on the house some years ago eliminated what was the only outside wall in the kitchen. I've had a couple of kitchen designers look at the layout with an eye toward moving the cooktop, and none could come up with an alternate plan that made any sense.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 1:28PM
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We are also struggling with what to do about a hood over our island. Also, our ceilings are only 7 foot 9 inches, and most of the island hoods require 8 foot ceilings, so that is an additional complication. However, I note that you said that you don't plan to make any provisions for make up air -- I think that modern codes now require it for cfms above 400, and inspectors are starting to enforce this, so you might not have a choice. One option that we may consider if we can't find the right hood is switching to induction from gas -- my understanding is that venting requirements are less if using electric, so we wouldn't need as powerful a fan. Also, if we move to induction, then the telescoping downdraft might be an option.
By the way, I know that it is not popular on GW, but I love having the cooktop on the island -- we have that in our current kitchen and we are doing it again in the remodel.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 2:23PM
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I also love the cooktop on the island. I have an extended counter with bar stools on the other side, and guests so often sit around while I'm cooking, or they'll stir a pot, or add ingredients -- it makes cooking with and for company so much more fun.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 5:21PM
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The ceiling height question should be posed as follows: Does the hood and any of the available extensions allow the hood base to fall within the generally recommended range of distances from the cooktop? This distance range is usually considered to be 30 to 36 inches, depending on sight-lines, hood overlap of the cooktop, head clearance, etc.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 11:09AM
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And curvy glass hoods that I've seen have difficulty capturing effluent before it "slides" off to the side and escapes. This will depend on cfm, aperture size, cooktop size, etc. Such hoods are certainly better than no hood, but are also less than ideal.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Many people don't know that they can improve their kitchen experience with better design. Island cooking can work, if you have enough room to actually prep on the island. Unfortunately, most people don't have enough room to make it work well. With a standard 30" range, you need 9" on one side and 12" on the other to serve as your emergency landing zone. Then, if you want to prep there, add 36" to the 12" side. That's 87", minimum to have an island cooking zone., without any overhang for seating. (Plus the other depth should be at least 36" without seating or 48" on the other side of the range if you want seating there.) And that doesn't count any aisle space, or overhang for seating. If you want it to be social.

However, that also doesn't leave you with access to water without twisting back and forth to the sink. Water is far more critical to your prep activities (70%) than access to the cooking zone (that 10% time). If you want to add in a prep sink to make the perfect "cockpit" where you don't have to twist back and forth and take minimal steps, then you're adding in another 24" at least. That's 111" without any overhang for seating.

Want seating? Then add in another 15" on one end. Now, you're at 126". Can't forget aisle widths! Add in 48" for someone to squeeze past that person seated on the end, and that's if that end is to a wall without cabinets. That's 174" needed for your island and clearance on one side of it. Add in the aisle on the other side (42") and you need 216" of space to do a galley. If you've got cabinets on one of the walls, like an L configuration with island, then your kitchen needs to be 241" or 20' in length to do an island cooktop with water on it successfully.

Do the math for YOUR space. Sure, you can make compromises and not have water on the island, as long as you have that 9"/12" emergency landing space and the 36" prep space, but it starts to get really crowded if you want seating and the right aisle clearance. The usual compromise is to have the island be the cooking zone only. And sure, you can do that......but it won't be the social experience that you envision with your back turned to it most of the time doing the prep elsewhere. Or you can try to crowd yourself and prep next to the cooking zone without enough space to really do that right. And that becomes an exercise in frustration. It's a "before" kitchen to make compromises like that, not an "after" kitchen!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 10:02AM
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I've been working in this kitchen for the past 15 years, and maybe it's just that I've gotten used to it, but I find it really functional and efficient -- so much so that the kitchen remodeling project is more about updating with minor design tweaks than completely redesigning it. I have a gas cooktop with 36" of counter space on each side of it. There's 52" of walk-through space between the island and the counter with the sink, which has not been problematic. I've also got 36" of counter on both sides of the sink. My cooktop (island) counter is 40" deep, which allows for a 16" overhang for seating.

One of the things that allows my kitchen setup to be so functional is that I keep my counters clutter-free. All of my small appliances (except my coffee maker) are kept stowed away until they're needed, leaving plenty of work space.

Yes, it would probably be more efficient to swap locations of the sink and the cooktop, but that would come with its own set of new challenges, and overhead exhaust venting would be virtually impossible.

No, the design isn't perfect, but it's far from awful.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:13PM
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