Alternatives to Downdraft Vents Required for Cooktops


Proper ventilation in the kitchen is critical to prevent cooking grease from accumulating on surfaces and gases from remaining indoors. Cooktops are counter-placed ranges, separate from an oven. These can be placed anywhere in the kitchen, but a ventilation system must accompany the cooktop. Downdraft ventilation is the usual means of removing excess heat, moisture, grease and odors, but there are alternatives to this if you choose not to use it.

Downdraft Ventilation

  • Downdraft ventilation systems suck the steam and odors from over the pots on the cooktop and direct it downward through piping to be vented outside. This method works only if you cook with short pots. Many large cooking pots, such as those used for pasta or tall steamers, block the downdraft ventilation, hampering its use. If your cookware prevents a downdraft system from being effective, look for other ventilation means.

Recirculating Vents

  • Recirculating vents are an option if you cannot create an exterior vent for your cooktop. These pair a filter and a fan to remove moisture and grease from the air above the cooktop. The cleaned air returns to the kitchen via the force of a powerful fan inside. The fans can be noisy, and these ventilation devices should be used only as a last resort because they are not as effective at getting rid of the cooking odors and grease as other ventilation methods.

Roof Vents

  • Roof vents draw air through a hooded vent over the cooktop, through a long duct and out onto the roof. Fans inside the hood draw heat and cooking odors up through the hood, up a duct and out a roof vent. These are best to install if you have a single-story house to avoid making room for the vent through several floors. They are available for cooktops sitting against a wall or in the middle of a kitchen island.

Side Vent Fan

  • The side vent fan is the easiest to install because it does not require long ducting and is more efficient than a recirculating vent. Rather than venting cooking moisture, heat and odors through the roof, it vents out the side of the house. These can be used only if the cooktop is against an exterior wall.

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