Downdraft Cooktop Install - Do I need more than standard depth ba

FoodJauntsFebruary 19, 2013

I've been a lurker on this forum for a while here because everyone is so helpful and I love reading everyone's responses :)

I figured I'd post this question because I haven't been able to find an answer anywhere else.

The standard base cabinet depth is 24 inches.

I'm intending to buy the Capital MCT365GSN cooktop and install it with the Electrolux EI36DD10KS downdraft with a 1600 CFM external blower (I was going to post links to the product install manuals but didn't want to seem like I was spammy).

Basically, the depth of the Capital Cooktop's cutout is 20.25" and I'm assuming (but could be wrong) that the actual cooktops length is 21 inches, it's 36 inches wide and 5 1/2" deep.

The Electrolux is a thin downdraft but I'd basically need 1/8" from the back of the cooktop to the downdraft, the downdraft itself is 2 and 5/16" deep and then I'd need another 1/4" from the back of the downdraft to the raised counter bar.

Anyone have any idea if I'd be ok with a standard depth base cabinet or do I need to find one that's slightly deeper than standard i.e. 25"+?

I was planning on doing either a 36" sink base with two 12" ones on either side or, if I could find it, a 60" sink base.

It seems like when I do the math I should be left with about 5/16" but I'm worried I'm not considering something and it'll turn out to be a problem later.

Does anyone have any experience with this as far as installing a downdraft and cooktop in a standard depth base cabinet?

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My cooktop is 21 and 9/16 inches, my GE downdraft is 2 and 1/4 inches, and they fit together in my standard base cabinet.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:06AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, you need additional depth for the blower housing. And that's even if the two are compatible. These aren't compatible.

What you are proposing is really bad idea. Even downdrafts with electric cooktops don't capture all of the steam and grease from cooking for casual cooks. For someone to pick a serious cooking appliance and then try to reverse Mother Nature and the laws of physics to attempt to pull those cooking byproducts down instead of going with the flow to capture and direct the upward flow out will leave you with either a greasy mess that you constantly have to clean, or will pull the flame on the cooktop so much with that CFM that you won't even be able to cook.

You need to do an overhead vent. Period.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:06AM
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Thanks Nancy for the photo - is your cooktop the matching GE?

Holly I hear and understand your concerns and honestly those were my initial concerns with a downdraft but unfortunately an overhead range hood isn't an option. At this point I may just have to switch to a lower powered cooktop even though I'd prefer not to. The house I'm buying is being flipped and his standard is a basic cheapo electric or gas stove with a nonducted microwave as the only venting option.

I was hoping with the 10 inch rise and more powerful blower it'd help, considering my tallest pot is 8 inches and my most used pot is only 4", but I had the same concerns with pulling on the flame which is why I was aiming toward the variable blower so I could dial in exactly how much air was being pulled.

It's a bit frustrating since I've read responses like yours as to why downdrafts are a horrible idea with gas cooktops and I can see the point but then it's like, why are companies even making these if they're so bad?

I've got an email out to Capital asking their opinion, since the Installation Instructions for the Cooktop does mention the use of a downdraft vent with a minimum of 1200 CFM, but let's see what they come back with!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:32AM
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Sophie Wheeler

A house flip with a Captial? In a neighborhood of basic appliances? Um, put that extra 4K into doing wood floors or something showy that buyers will appreciate. You're pricing yourself out of your market here. It's a total waste of money.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Fori is not pleased

A downdraft is better than nothing. A lot better than nothing.

It might screw with your flames a little on a gas cooktop though. If you decide the downdraft can't handle the Capital, instead of going lower power, consider induction. More power, no flame to worry about.

Are you flipping or are you fixing up a house you bought for yourself from a flipper? Ya know, none of my business!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 1:36PM
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If I had to do a downdraft, I'd look for a taller one, like 18".

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 4:08PM
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It's kind of a unique position to be in. This guy flips houses (I've toured 3 other ones he's flipped) as well as owns some Arby's (I guess that's his main day job) and he just bought this house and started to demo it.

He's willing to do it up to his usual standards, basic but good, and as long as we sign a contract based off of what's in the contract and with obviously the clause about inspection to go through, we'd get to pick out all the finishes, cabinets, colors, etc and he's willing to do the kitchen to my layout.

I'd prefer to bring my own appliances so he's willing to install them and just give us a credit toward the money he would usually spend on appliances. So he's redoing the one whole bath, adding in a new full bath on the 3rd floor, a half bath on the first floor, new furnace, water heater, A/C & HVAC, taking down the drop ceiling and wood paneling off of the walls to be replaced with drywall, refinishing the hardwood and putting in a 2nd floor laundry. Opening up the kitchen/dining and dining/living.

And 4K for a cooktop? Nope, I'd definitely be pricing us out of it lol. The Capital I'm looking at is a lower range one, still pricey at $1,300 but do-able. I understand I'd probably take a loss on the appliances, but as long as I can get a good 5 - 10 years of use out of it I'll be happy. My appliances run the gambit, LG washer/dryer, Bosch dishwasher, LG fridge and a Bosch double oven.

I've looked at taller downdrafts that are 15" high, but the blower isn't as powerful, which was my main concern. Maybe I'll start looking at induction but I cook a ridiculous amount of stir-fries which is what led me to the Capital in the first place.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:25PM
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Hi FoodJaunts, No, my cooktop is not the matching GE, it is a KitchenAid that I got from a scratch and dent dealer new, in a badly beat up box, but the cooktop did not have a scratch on it. It's MSRP was $2800 and we got it for $1200.

Like you were planning, our blower motor is in the basement, so there is no need for a bigger base cabinet. So you are not flipping this house, you are buying it to live in, from a flipper, and because he has not yet done the work, he is willing to install the appliances of your choice if you pay the difference, right?

If flickering gas was the only problem with downdrafts, I would say that getting an induction cooktop with a wok burner would be a good idea (they do make burners shaped like a bowl to accommodate a real round-bottomed wok). HOWEVER, my set-up does not pull grease and steam from the front burners. It gets most of the steam from something cooking on the back burner, however. I would not expect my set-up to work for stir frying. DH agrees, saying, "not unless it was a really short wok and really close to the downdraft!"

Anyway, here is an inexpensive portable countertop induction wok burner:

and a discussion about that burner and about cooking with woks using gas, electric, and induction that I found very interesting.

I also found this expensive built-in separate wok burner:

But look what Dacor is now making - a 15" high downdraft pop-up with up to 1000 CFM external remote blower. They show it on a serious gas range and talk about "capturing smoke and steam from all of the burners:"

And Miele has one that rises 14":

You can always look into getting the 48" downdraft with your gas cooktop, then put the induction wok burner beside the cooktop, right under the downdraft. The chef in the discussion likes the induction with the round wok bottom better than residential gas burners and a wok.

So things are looking better in the downdraft department. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor to find the right system to work for your family.

Here is a link that might be useful: Built-in induction wok cooker

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:49PM
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Thanks Nancy! That's so helpful. Yes I agree, I was weighing the power of the blower versus the height.

That Dacor rises 5 inches higher than the Electrolux but only offers 1000 CFM in comparison to Electrolux's 1600 CFM.

I'm going to start looking into induction - I've actually been eyeing that Adcraft Wok Induction burner but figured I might be able to get a built in system.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 4:50PM
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It's an external blower. Use any size you want.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Weedmeister - so you can cross external blowers? I.e. I could use the Electrolux 1600 external with the Dacor downdraft?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 5:15PM
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I'm looking at using a downdraft because of various uninteresting problems with my kitchen. I can't make a large vent hood work.

I cook a lot, every single day, and I need a good ventilation system.

Please, if you have a downdraft, post your experience with it. I am stuck on my kitchen layout because of this hood/downdraft issue.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:35PM
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I had a Dacor downdraft in my old house and it was (almost) totally useless. I would never put one in again. We cook quite a lot, had a gas Dacor cooktop with downdraft and the downdraft did virtually nothing (but make a fair bit of noise). Like others here, mine only pulled grease from the back of the cooktop -- and it DOES (mine did, anyway) seriously mess with the flame. I could not use the back burners on high with the downdraft running because the draft reduced the flames. Couldn't use them on simmer because the flames actually sometimes went out with the downdraft running. Strongly recommend another solution.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Induction is more energy efficient and has more precise control than even gas. Check it out if you are stuck with no ability to really vent your cooking. Gas combustion puts a lot of air pollution into your home. I have asthma and could not even go to my mom's house if she was cooking because of her gas stove and recirculating hood. We ended up doing all holidays at my house because of this issue. I can't imagine why people don't think about gas combustion with cooking, they would never have an unvented gas dryer in their homes. I would recommend switching to induction if you cannot have a real vented hood.

Induction is wonderful. I am confident that as more people try it, its popularity will increase and the prices will come down. I recommend that you get a single portable induction burner and give it a try. You will find that you like it just as much as gas. It is instantly responsive and safe to the touch because only the pan gets hot. Cast iron cookware is cheap if you find that you have to replace yours because yours is not usable on induction.

Downdrafts will get the back row of your cooktop, easily. Mine gets the center burner, too.

The number of CFMs needed is different if you put the blower motor in the cabinet at the start of the vent run versus if you put it in the basement in-line. Check it out further, I am not sure exactly how it works, but I think that if the blower motor is in the basement, you don't need as many CFMs. Research more about it.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 12:00PM
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