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Extractor Fans in the Kitchen

Last Updated Dec 7, 2012 · Written by

Kitchen Ventilation

Why Use Extractor Fans in the Kitchen?

Extractor fans for the kitchen are specifically designed to meet certain purposes. Extractor fans are also commonly called range hoods, if they are fitted directly above the stove. They are a form of ventilation and are vital in the kitchen. Extractor fans or range hoods perform the following functions:

  • disperse steam rising from saucepans or kettles
  • reduce moisture levels in the kitchen
  • help to eliminate cooking smells
  • disperses any smoke that may occur
  • captures steam-carried particles and the byproducts of frying or baking
  • removes grease from the air
  • reduces soiling of walls and other surfaces
  • removes other pollutants such as mould, mildew, carbon dioxide, pet hair, dust mites, bacteria, paint fumes, etc

It is disturbing to note that some indoor pollutants measure at concentrations 50 times higher indoors than outdoors. Extractor fans help to remove this and make the home a cleaner, safer place to live in.

Always ensure that the extractor fan or range hood vents to the outside of the home. It should never be allowed to vent into a wall or ceiling space as the moisture and grease in the air may cause serious structural damage over time.

Types of Extractor Fans

Some of the different types of extractor fans include:

  • Axial fans – are designed to move air over short distances and are typically fitted through a wall or window.
  • Centrifugal fans – move air over long distances and work by air entering the impeller in an axial direction and leaving it in a radial, creating high pressure allowing the air to travel faster and further.
  • Mixed flow fans – are designed to move air over medium distances and they combine the features of the centrifugal and axial fans.
  • Recirculating range hoods – these do not vent to the outside of the home but rather draw pollutants up through a charcoal or mechanical filter where they are removed before the air is recirculated through the kitchen.

Cleaning Extractor Fans

To clean the extractor fan is not as difficult as you may think. Many will allow you to completely dismantle the main parts which can then be cleaned using the dishwasher. Ensure that you wipe the exterior and interior of the extractor fan or range hood regularly. The filter cover should be removed and washed in hot, soapy water. Fan blades can be cleaned with an ammonia solution. Clean the metal mesh filters whenever they are dirty.

If you have a recirculating range hood that uses filters, the filter will need to be replaced every three to six months, depending on what type of cooking you do and how often you use the kitchen. Never wash charcoal filters as this will reduce their effectiveness.

You might also like: Rangehoods

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