For a lot of us, the kitchen is the heart of a home. And however big the kitchen is, you’re going to need a kitchen extractor fan to keep it safely clear and clean.
Clearing smoke isn’t just about avoiding your fire alarm – keeping your kitchen air clean is a health concern. Without proper kitchen ventilation, it’s easier for mold and moisture to build, as well as grease from cooking.
Here’s how to choose the right kitchen extractor fan for you – and what it will cost – to keep the heart of your home healthy for everyone.
What are My Options?
This isn’t your mom’s kitchen fan. Now, there’s a fan for whatever your style preferences or kitchen needs may be.
Chimney Extractor Fans
The classic chimney extractor is a T-shaped fan installed above a hob on the wall. These are classic for a reason: they tend to offer a wider coverage range than other fans.
However, with the popularity of open living plans, the bulkier chimney extractor can overwhelm the available space of a kitchen. There are sleeker design options available, as well as integrated extractors which blend into the wall when they aren’t being used.
Integrated Extractor Fans
Integrated kitchen extractor fans are installed between existing wall units and covered by a cabinet which needs to be opened when the fan is in use. That way, you lose some of the visible bulkiness of the chimney extractor.
The downside of integrated extractor fans is that because the fan is built into a cabinet, it’s usually shallower than the stove work area under it. You’ll also lose the cabinet space the fan is built into, so if your kitchen already has limited cabinet space, be aware of how you’ll reapportion storage.
If you want under-cabinet coverage without losing storage space, there are also canopy hoods, which are fitted to the underside of the cabinet above the stove range. These have the same drawback as an integrated fan – they’re shallower than the full stove range.
What Kind of Ventilation Do I Need?
With all the available options for a kitchen extractor fan, you might think it’s as easy as driving to the hardware store down the street and picking up a desk fan.
Not so fast. Choosing the right fan for your needs and kitchen space is a process that requires a bit of time and thought to make sure the fan will be efficient.
There are two main types of extractor fans for kitchens: vented and non-vented. If you’re replacing an extractor fan, you likely won’t be able to switch between the two systems based on the different needs of the two fan types.
A vented fan directs are from your kitchen outside your house, and thus requires ducting between your kitchen and the outside. A non-vented fan instead filters the air it pulls in before directing it back into the room.
The key difference is the presence of ducts. If your kitchen already has ducts, then installing a new vented fan is easy. If it doesn’t, getting ducts installed is possible but will require more work than using another non-vented extractor.
What Size Kitchen Extractor Fan Do I Need?
You’re remodeling your kitchen, and you’re thinking: if I want to get dirty air out of my kitchen anyway, why not just get a bigger fan? That way I know it’s cleaning the air.
It’s not quite that simple. Matching your kitchen extractor fan to the size of the room is important – a too-small fan won’t sufficiently clear the air, but a too-big fan will pull too much hot air out of the room and raise your energy cost.
How Do I Know My Airflow?
Here’s the good news: you can figure out the size of your fan and the necessary air flow capacity at the same time.
First, calculate the volume of your kitchen. Measure the height, length, and width of the room, then multiply the height by length by width for the volume of the room.
Then multiply the volume by 10 (the approximate number of air changes needed per hour) and you’ll know what capacity fan will fit your kitchen. For example, a kitchen with a volume of 40 meters will need a fan with a capacity of 400 m/h.
What’s the Secret to a Great Fan?
Simple: silence is golden.
All fans come with a decibel (dB) rating, which tells you the noise level associated with each particular fan. Generally speaking, faster fans are usually going to be louder than slower ones – which makes sense, because the fan is working harder.
However, when it comes to kitchen extractor fans, you get what you pay for – many higher end fans are quieter across speed levels.
What Will It Cost?
Clean air is going to cost money – the goal is to keep it within your budget.
The price of extractor fans can vary widely. Some cost below $350 while others cost upwards of $1,300. Typically, you can get a perfectly functional fan for $350.
However, the price you’re willing to pay also depends on your priorities in a kitchen extractor fan. If you want a functional fan to get the job done, then the low end of the price range is probably what you’re after.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in a fan that will be an attractive visual centerpiece in its own right, then it’s worth shelling out extra for a fan with a higher design value. This will bring you to a price of $800 and up.
Choose Your Fan with Knotheflo
Home might be where the heart is, but one of the secrets to a happy home is good ventilation.
You know your home, and we know fans. Or if you’re looking for an exhaust fan for your bathroom as well as your kitchen, check out our ultimate guide to the best bathroom exhaust fans of 2017.
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