Differences Between Updraft & Convertible Range Hoods

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When remodeling or building a kitchen, one of the many decisions that will need to be made is the type of range hood to install. Range hoods are essentially a fan meant to pull odors and fumes up and into the fan, and then out through a duct system or over a filter and back into the home. There are several types of range hoods, including updraft and convertible models.

Operating Principles

  • A range hood draws smoke, odors and other fumes out of the kitchen, specifically the stove area. When searching for the right type of range hood, look for a fan with a variable speed control and look at the air-movement measurement. This is the amount of air movement in cubic feet per minute. The higher the CFM rating, the more air that is moved out of the kitchen or filtered, and higher CFM ratings will require more power to operate correctly.

Updraft Models

  • Updraft range hoods have a canopy and pull the air up through the bottom of the fan and out a duct system. The hoods usually are placed between 18 and 30 inches high from the cooking area and can be installed in a variety of places, including a wall or cabinet.

Updraft Considerations

  • When you are picking an updraft range hood, remember to pick one with a canopy that is least as wide as the cooktop below and deep enough to cover each of the burners. Consider the rest of your kitchen decor, including lighting needs, when picking the type of canopy material and whether or not there is a light installed in the range hood.

Convertible Models

  • Convertible range hoods, also called downdraft vents, do not come with a hood because the unit is usually installed directly behind the cooking surface. Convertible models can be used on kitchen islands and are often installed without a vent. Note that convertible models that are not connected to a duct usually have filters that need to be cleaned on a regular basis in order to work properly.

Convertible Considerations

  • When picking a convertible range hood, pick one that is as wide as the cooking surface to which the range hood will be attached. If the hood will be installed on a kitchen island, the sides should extend past the cooktop by at least three inches on both sides.

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