Vent-A-Hood Ductless ARS range hood Update

bookssyDecember 21, 2010

Has anyone used one of these for a while? I am in an apartment in Brooklyn, and can't vent to the outside (although I do have a kitchen window and no, I cant vent through the window either). I am wondering how effective they are and also if they are difficult to keep clean/maintain. Thanks!

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Too bad no one answered - I'm facing the same dilemma - cannot vent to outside, want to know what's the best solution. So far, the only answers I've found just say "you REALLY should vent outside", which is useless. I know that's the best, but for many of us who live in apartments, it's simply not possible. Of the choices available, which is the best, or does it make no difference? Does anyone know? Bueller?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 11:52AM
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Are you sure you can't vent thru the window? I spoke to an architect who has been able to get permits for that. Also found someone on the forum in manhattan who is venting thru their window.....

paying an architect and expediter can be very cost prohibitive though. I received a quote for $6,000!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 10:34PM
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For years I had a hood that recirculated (no outside venting); my mom's hood does the same and she's had it for even more years. We both have electric stoves, not gas, by the way. When we got a new stove and hood a few months ago we did cut a hole to vent outside (because we could) and I much prefer the outside venting. However, my new hood also can be used in recirc mode with a carbon filter. (I mean one has the option of installing it either way; I can't switch back and forth from outside vent to recirc.) As far as my experience with the old recirculating hood: not very effective, though I imagine the new ones with the carbon filters are better; and it was no problem to maintain.

I will link my new hood for you below, though I believe it is a different style than you are talking about (mine is an under-cabinet hood).

Here is a link that might be useful: NuTone ducted or ductless vent hood

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 10:25AM
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Thanks for the replies. sadiebrooklyn, no I can't vent to the outside. building absolutely won't approve. Period, end of story. zfrankle, I agree that it's very frustrating to keep hearing that it's best to vent outside. I KNOW that, but I can't. IS the ARS worth the extra money, or should I just buy the cheapest "fan with a light" and be done with it.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Here's a video explaining why this hood my be your best bet for recirculating.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ductless

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 10:28PM
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Before I got permission to vent to the outside i was also considering the vent-a-hood ars - I also posted up to various forums trying to get info on it and could find no one who had one and could make a personal recommendation.

They are a reputable company though, and I was preparing to include one at the time in my kitchen plans.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 8:18AM
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I saw the ARS hood at Gringer & Sons today, and I wasn't impressed. It has only one anemic speed, and didn't seem to generate much air movement. Moreover, they had a sign listing the filter cost at $749 - that's pretty crazy. Granted, Gringer is a very expensive store and I couldn't get anyone to clarify what's included in that price, but even if you had to replace filters only once every couple of years it very, very expensive. It would be great to see an actual demo - the publicity video is heavy on the selling, but very light on proof.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 6:24PM
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Thanks for the replies. AJ Madison quoted me 649 for the filter system, but it's still very expensive. The sales guy there said he had sold a lot of them, but no one who owns one seems to be willing to vouch for it, or else they just aren't on this forum. I'm really reluctant to spend that kind of money without some kind of track record from users.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 11:37AM
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One thing about Vent-A-Hood is that they have a lower CFM and sometimes use multiple centrifugal fans to get the same effect as a unit that has a larger single fan.They also have a relatively open capture area. There has been a tendency for people to want a vent fan that will suck a golf ball through a garden hose, but there is a certain amount of controversy about how much CFM the typical home really needs. Some of hood vents are so powerful that "make up air" is needed in a well sealed house. I can't speak for this particular hood in use but I would imagine its better than the $99 hood that sucks some air through a piece of mesh and blows it back out in your hair. 10x better, I dunno.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 11:51AM
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Thanks for the advice, palimpsest, but is "make up air" an issue in a ductless system? The open capture area IS a concern though, because it looks like a bear to clean. My real question is whether the giant charcoal thing and the paper filter are more effective than "a piece of mesh".

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 7:57AM
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So I wrote Vent-A-Hood asking how frequently I'd need to change the filter. This is their answer:

Hello and thank you for your inquiry.

As this is a brand new type of ventilation, we're anticipating the carbon media to last not less than one year but this will depend on your cooking habits.

So we're talking $650-$750 per year on filters - after you spend over a grand on the hood itself. That's insane.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 11:06AM
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HELLO, i've been reading your post with some interest since i have a fairly good size vent a hood in my home which was installed in 2006. i flipped over to their site and checked out their new ARS offering since you can't vent to the outside. personally i have been very pleased with my hood and find it works quite well. i did quite a lot of internet research before i purchased it and it seemed to be highly thought of. anyhow i know you are in new york but that store is trying to "rip you off" i've attached a link to a price list from a vent a hood dealer in georgia and starting on page 43 or so are their list prices for the ARS hoods and parts. the list price for the HE replacement filter is $237 and for 1 gallon of activated carbon pellets the price is $49. the price sheet says replace as needed, so it depends on how much you cook and what you cook. i watched the video on you tube mentioned above and frankly it makes excellent sense to me and i have some knowledge concerning filters, filter media, air flow, etc. it will,in my opinion, work much better that a regular above the stove unvented hood and filter system. i would get the PDAH model (not the flat one) as a major function of a hood is to capture steam, grease, combustion products, etc. and i don't see how a "flat" hood does anything but look pretty.

Here is a link that might be useful: PRICE LIST VENT A HOOD GA

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 3:58PM
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Thanks again for all the feedback. zfrankle, you're quite right that the initial hood costs more than a grand, almost two in fact. The replacement filter and carbon are more like three though ($249 for filters and 49 for carbon according to AJ Madison). It was awesome of you to discover that they anticipate at least a year of use on the filter media. p10rs, I'm leaning towards the flat hood in part because it seems like it would be easier to clean. the other one-the PDAH model-kind of scares me when I think of trying to get up inside that slanted capture area to wipe away the gook that must build up in there. Plus the flat one is at least $500 less. I was also thinking about getting a 42 inch to go over a 36 inch cooktop.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 5:56PM
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Well??????? Need an update.

Has anyone installed an ARS? I am contemplating doing same in Brooklyn apartment.

And thank you all for all the good discussion.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:35PM
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After waiting almost two months, our 30" Ventahood finally arrived last week and was installed today; took an hour. It is mounted 26" above a glass top electric stove top. The ARS filter weighs about 20 pounds.

For a test we tried our nemesis dish, a pan-seared a fatty sirloin steak, which always smoked up our Brooklyn apartment; hours to recover. The performance far exceeded our expectations. You can still smell the steak, (which is good) but no smoke or grease clouds. For a 300 cfm fan it drew drew most of the offending vapor

I stood on a stool to smell the air coming out - no smell at all - just air.

No other vent like it.

Will check back in a few months with more status.

Today the steak, tomorrow the bacon!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:49PM
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I'd love to hear more. The Vent-a-hood reps keep saying this isn't enough for a high end gas range, but honestly it certainly would be ideal from an installation point of view at my condo. unfortunately they haven't any plans to create a dual filter/motor model which would be perhaps ideal for my plans.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Because charcoal removes odor by adsorption, and grease buildup will block adsorption, and the grease filters will not remove the entire spectrum of grease particles, the amount of steak that can be cooked and filtered before the filter looses effectiveness will be less than the amount of cilantro that can be boiled and filtered (figuratively speaking) before the filter looses effectiveness. So, to determine when the filter needs to be changed, it may be necessary to go outside for a while and return to the living space to detect any gradual and perhaps not obvious increase in odor passing the filter.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 9:23AM
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This sounds exciting! (I live in Manhattan, so quite restricted as well). And thanks so for the followups.
A few ?s. Do you have the CWEAH6, which is listed at 250 CFM?
Have you cleaned the filters etc yet, and if so, how was it to do? For regular VAHs, I have heard very negative things.

And (sorry if you've already written about this; my head is spinning with appliance details) -- the sound/noise level as you experience it?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 6:43AM
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And what do people think - I'm going to have a 30" induction range. The ARS comes in 30", 36, 42. Naturally, price goes up with width increases.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 6:47AM
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I really wish I had additional information as well. I want a 48" bluestar and my condo-board absolutely will not approve external venting. I cannot find anybody that can offer a solution.

I've tried to think outside the box and am willing to throw a little money at it, but I keep hitting resistance with people saying I wouldn't do that vs. trying to figure out a way to make it happen.

One suggestion I've made is to use a standard ventahood insert with a pair of magic lung fans each attached to a pair of ARS filtration stacks venting upward, but Ventahood won't give me the time of day on the idea. It seems that they have developed decent filtration technology, but don't want to overlap their existing product lines.

If anyone has any comments or alternative solutions, I'm all ears. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:38PM
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I live in an apartment and have a 30" Vent a hood ARS over a 30" electric glass stove top. (You would get even better lift with a gas stove). It works really well - i'd say 90% effective. Works great when searing a steak or frying bacon. I love the simple design and it is really well made. Our walls have no grease on them after three months.

We clean the grease pan (in the sink) and chamber once a month. No big deal. The filter is only a few months old and it is still looks fine. Tune in in 6 months.

I also found no alternative.

Yepo - Ours is 250 cfm which is fine. Very quiet, as well

Kron - Not sure you need all that firepower - you are not running a restaurant, are you :?? With one filter the worst case is that you would change the elements more often (they weigh 20lbs).

Let us know what you do.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Well kronosmn, you have solved the MUA problem. :)

It seems to me that you could get a standard baffle hood with an internal blower sized for your 48-inch range, and have a HVAC specialist incorporate sets of the VAH replacement packs into a larger chimney shape, or build an equivalent filter system from scratch.

There may be commercial counterparts of this type of filter available, but some toiling on the web would be needed to know for sure.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 8:20AM
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I'm needing a ventless range hood also, but have limited height requirements. I can only use a simple, 6 inch high unit. Not only do I not wish to cut through 4 feet of brick wall, there is HVAC ducting above where my stove top will go.

The 2 units I'm considering are NIB Air King Advantage and Broan. If anyone has used one of these ductless range hoods, can you provide your thoughts on their performance?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Mule - I researched many others and they all had wire screens and a carbon pad. Very different then the Vent a Hood. The height restriction is a real bummer.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:17PM
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I ended up with the Broan Elite 30-inch pro-style hood and a plain old recirculating kit. It dosen't eliminate smells, just diminishes them. But it captures grease amazingly well, since it has big baffle filters and a 600 CFM fan. I'm very happy with it, and have no grease at all on my walls. I do need to clean the filters once a month (they go in the dishwasher) and after over a year, the carbon filters are due for replacement. I have no idea if its as good as as the ARS system, but for the way I cook, it's much better than I expected.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:04PM
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ZFRANKLE - Very good.

The grease on the walls is the issue. We had not even considered a hood until we were gutting the kitchen and pulling down old fixtures.....and the tv and cabel equipment - grossssss!

Even with an ARS you smell the food, especially bacon....but not like the past.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Garyvp, so now that you've had these for some time, how often have you found yourself needing to change the carbon and/or smoke filter? And what cooking do you do and how often (it sounds like you do your share of heavier cooking, do you do it frequently?)

Same question to zfrankle.

We sell a lot of ventilation, including recirculating hoods given that we are in New York City. I know what the manufacturers say, but we always like to supplement with additional feedback from proactive consumers so we can make good recommendations to other customers.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 6:35PM
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After six months the filter still works great. We clean the grease trap once a month - a wipe and rinse does it. The Hepa filter still looks white. The system is very effective. My wife loves it (she thought it was just a guy toy.)

We use the vent a hood regularly and fry food two or three times a week. Bacon at least once a week. We seer a steak a few times a month - that is the heaviest output of smoke, grease and smell - takes care of most of it.

Understand....we never had any kind of real external vent before, so can't compare. I had on of those vents with the charcoal pad and metal screen....a joke compared to this.

We have no grease on the walls.

An architect friend has just done a job with one of these as well.

Stay tuned.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:41PM
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So, based on the experience you'v had so far are with the filter still looking white, are you kind of now thinking that you could go a couple years without having to replace the filter? I am assuming the instruction say to change it when it is visibly dirty.

As do others, I too wonder if this would work equally well with a high power gas range.

Because we live in a single family dwelling we could install a ducted unit, but it would be a hassle and expensive getting up to the ceiling and making the 90 degree turn to get to an outside wall.

And, maybe in the big picture this would end up costing more than just doing the construction work to install a regular ducted Vent a Hood since the filters need to be changed.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Gas also produces a lot of excess heat that a duct helps remove.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Filter status after one year.

Just pulled and inspected the filter after one year. Carbon looked/smelled ok and the Hepa was a slight odor, no grease.......not far off from new. I was impressed.

We clean the grease trap monthy.

We use the vent every time we cook...heavy cooking maybe once or twice a week (steak, bacon, frying, etc). Our walls and ceiling are grease free as well.

could'nt be more pleased.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:21AM
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Thanks for the update. Short of wok cooking, it seems this unit is sufficient for your needs and probably the needs of many others occupying city apartments and condos that will not allow external venting. I'll try to remember this thread the next time someone in your situation asks.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:16AM
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After two years the filter still holding up and walls have no grease. We clean the backsplash and visible stainless steel parts monthly and it all looks like new.

My wife loves it.

My architect used in another very high end condo job - they love it, too.

It is worth the extra money for apartment dwellers who want grease relief.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 4:53PM
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Thanks for the update again garyvp. I would suggest (given the difficulty of remote testing from here), that the gray filter in the photo is already compromised in flow rate at a given pressure drop and deserves to be changed.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2015 at 8:42AM
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I am struggling with the recommended 24 " clearance.. Seems real in your face.. Can someone please post the height above counter that works for you .

I am contemplating the flat model over induction

    Bookmark   March 10, 2015 at 6:33AM
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Hoods can be any height convenient for the user, but the cost is that they have to grow in aperture size and the flow rate has to grow proportionately. Commercial kitchen hoods are normally set to be 7 ft from the floor, for example. What is important is that the rising and expanding effluent plumes from the hot pan surfaces be captured and contained by adequate hood overlap of the cooktop area and the hood have adequate flow rate.

Specified heights by manufacturers assume certain things about their application space. Raising a hood specified to be at 24 inches will likely lead to escaping effluent. Use a larger hood. My hood is at 34 inches above the cooktop, and if I were taller I would need 36 inches. The larger front-to-back sized hoods can accommodate this distance.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2015 at 11:40AM
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