Venting Requirements for Island Cooktops

Island cooktops have become a common feature in today’s homes. These cooktops make family meals and entertaining a group activity in which food preparation becomes part of the fun. Installation of island cooktops and other fixtures can present challenges, however. To vent island cooktops may require expensive overhead hoods or downdraft venting that runs under the house.

  1. About Island Cooktops

    • Island cooktops became an outgrowth of the "great room" concept in home designs in which kitchens and family rooms were combined to provide larger and more interactive areas for entertaining. The cooktop is installed into a free-standing counter area with 360 degree access for conversation. Areas below the cooktop are often used for storage of pots, pans and cooking utensils. A sink may also be built into the island, necessitating special requirements for both plumbing and ventilation. New devices and methods to solve these problems have become available to make island cooktops a viable option for today’s families.

    Venting Requirements for Island Cooktops

    • Generally, building codes covering island cooktops do not require venting for fumes unless commercial-type equipment is used. However, because cooking odors, grease and smoke can build up on cooking surfaces and make indoor air unpleasant, many homeowners choose to install venting hoods to remove these contaminants from the room.

    Venting Hoods for Island Cooktops

    • Normally, venting hoods are installed along the wall where the range is located so that smoke and odors can be easily vented to the outdoors. Island cooktops, with their free-standing design, do not allow for this easy access. Venting is created through stainless steel ducts that go through the roof. Another type of island cooktop vent uses a downdraft action to suck smoke and odors into a system located below the cooktop that continue under the kitchen floor and then to the outdoors. This type of vent can only be used if the house has a basement or crawlspace to hold the ductwork, according to the GEAppliance website.

    Comparison of Island Cooktop Vents

    • Above-the-cooktop venting systems do an efficient job of removing the smoke, odors and grease that is a normal part of everyday cooking. However, installation of these vents may be expensive, depending on the height of the ceiling and other construction requirements. Overhead vents also may present a visual obstruction in the room which diminishing the open quality of the island cooktop design. Downdraft vents are less efficient, only removing odors in the close vicinity of the vent. Flexible ducting of island cooktop vents is not recommended because it can easily become coated with grease and is difficult to clean.

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