If you move into a new home or apartment, likely a ventilation fan will already be installed over the oven. Older homes, however, are less likely to have ventilation fans installed over the stove because the oven is already vented to the outside through the walls. Even those ovens that do not vent outside are made to be self venting, so you do not generally need a ventilation fan over your oven. A ventilation fan does offer some major benefits though.
The major exception to the ventilation fan rule is the gas stove. If you have a stove that cooks using gas, a ventilation fan is a kitchen necessity. If you do not have a ventilation fan over your gas stove, carbon monoxide builds up in your kitchen while you cook, which poses a health and safety hazard in your home.
Ovens With Electric Stovetops
Many U.S. ovens have electric stovetops. Just like when cooking something in the oven, cooking something on the stovetop releases odors into the air. The built-in oven ventilation has no effect on stovetop odors, but these odors can be eliminated or reduced with the use of a ventilation fan over the oven. Ventilation fans can also pull out the smoke from burned items, which reduces the chemical levels in your home and keeps the smoke detectors from going off.
Excess humidity in your home can lead to a variety of problems. According to North Carolina State University, humidity attracts insects, such as dust mites, to your home, and also leads to the growth of mold. Mold can lead to allergic reactions, asthma and even to the development of some diseases if not controlled. Boiling water and cooking any liquid-based item on the stovetop releases moisture into the air, but a running ventilation fan over the oven draws that moisture out of your home, making it a good defense against humidity.
Putting in a Ventilation Fan
If you have lived in an apartment, you have likely seen combination microwaves and ventilation fans that install directly over the oven. Ventilation fans can also be purchased separately from other kitchen equipment though. Ventilation fans come in a number of sizes, allowing you to fit the fan into the existing cabinetry; however, due to the necessity of exterior venting for the fan, most fans require installation by a professional.
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