Do You Need a Range Hood?
A range hood is always a nice thing to have in the kitchen. It circulates air, dissipates odors, and thins out smoke from high-heat cooking. Range hoods also add a nice, professional look to kitchen design. But do you NEED a range hood in your kitchen? The answer depends on both your space and your cooking habits.
Your Space Considerations
Do you have room for a range hood?
One of the most important things to consider is whether or not your current space allows for a range hood. Range hoods take up prime space where additional storage might go, so in a kitchen where square footage is at a premium, it might be a better use of space to install kitchen cabinets or a recirculating microwave above your range instead. Another space-saving alternative? Install your cooktop in your island, and center a range hood above it.
Can you install a range hood?
If live in a single family home, whether or not you can install a range good is a nonissue. But if you live in a condo or apartment building, you might have a harder time installing an external range hood if there isn't one in your existing floorplan. For one, you might not have direct access to the exterior of your building, which would give the hood no place to vent. Second, some historic buildings in Boston and large condos might have rules preventing range hoods from being installed if it would change the facade of the building. In these cases, you can consider installing a recirculating range hood instead, or forgoing the option altogether.
Your Cooking Habits
If you're an avid cook and often stir fry or saute food at high temperatures, you'll want an externally venting range hood. Otherwise, you'll run the risk of setting of your smoke alarm every time you cook, dealing with lingering food odors, and even staining your cabinetry and ceiling with cooking grease that has no where to escape.
If you don't cook often, or prefer to bake things rather than cook them on a stove top, you can skip the range hood if you have other ideas for the space above your range.
Alternatives to Installing a Range Hood
If you don't think a range good is the right choice for your space, that doens't mean you have suffer through smoky weeknight dinners or lingering cooking smells. Other options include:
Installing a ceiling fan in the kitchen.
Ceiling fans will be just as effective as a recirculating range hood at dissipating smoke and odors, without taking up any extra space in your work zones.
A recirculating microwave.
As we mentioned earlier, a recirculating microwave (look for one with a "fan" function) is another good alternative to a range hood. It serves dual purposes, making it a good choice for a small space.