How to Repair a Range Hood

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A range hood that doesn't adequately remove smoke and smells from your kitchen is usually suffering from one of a few common problems: The grease filter or some part of the exhaust ductwork may be clogged, or the fan may be bad. Neither of these repairs should take you much time.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement Fan
  • Ammonia
  • Heavy Rag
  • Soap
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Plastic Pan
  • Plumber's Snake
  • Screwdriver, or nut driver and socket

Unclogging the exhaust system

  • Remove the grease filter by sliding it out of its clips.

  • Submerge the filter in a plastic pan filled with hot, soapy water and 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) ammonia. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes. If it's still dirty, soak it again, then rinse it thoroughly and set it aside to dry.

  • Remove the exhaust fan. Unplug the fan, then use a screwdriver or a nut driver and socket to take out the screws that attach it to the hood.

  • Clean the fan blades with an old toothbrush dipped into the ammonia-water mixture (see Warning).

  • Clean the inside of the exhaust ductwork, using a plumber's snake with a heavy rag tied around the end. Push the snake through the ductwork. Soak the rag in the ammonia and water mixture, then run it through the ductwork. Rinse out the rag and repeat the operation until the duct appears to be clean.

  • Clean the exhaust hood that's attached to the outside of your house. Use the old toothbrush and the ammonia-water mixture to loosen the grit and grime around the flapper plate. Make sure the plate moves freely when you're done. If it sticks closed, it can prevent the exhaust hood from working.

  • Reinstall the grease filter.

Replacing the fan motor

  • Remove the grease filter by sliding it out of its clips.

  • Turn on the fan and inspect the motor. It needs to be replaced if it hums rather than turns, turns very slowly, runs for a short time then stalls, or feels very hot and won't turn.

  • Disconnect and remove the fan, following step 3, above.

  • Take the fan to an appliance store to get an exact replacement.

  • Install the new fan.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never put a grease filter in your dishwasher to clean it. You could end up with a film of hard-to-remove grease on the dishwasher walls.
  • Clean your grease filter monthly. It's your first line of defense against grease and grime that can damage the fan motor and plug the ductwork.
  • When cleaning the blades on the exhaust fan, take care not to wet the motor. The water could short-circuit the motor when you reinstall it.

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