With newer kitchens trending more and more toward professional grade cooking appliances – especially large gas ranges – it’s more important than ever to have proper ventilation. Ducted range hoods improve indoor air quality, keep kitchens cleaner, and even help lower heating and cooling costs. Of course, not all models are created equal, and there are a few features to look for specifically, but XtremeAir range hoods definitely come out at the front of the pack.
First and foremost, the best range hoods are ducted range hoods that vent outside – XtremeAir’s specialty. A good kitchen ventilation system will pull heat, smoke, steam, and grease away from the cooktop and keep it from ever escaping into the kitchen in the first place. Ideally, the ductwork should be as close to the exterior of the home as possible, and make as few 90 degree turns as possible to aid the flow of grease and moisture-laden air. In some cases, of course, installing new duct work isn’t possible (or at least prohibitively expensive). Ductless or recirculating range hoods aren’t as powerful as ducted ones, but high quality ductless range hoods with multiple layers of filtration are the next best thing, and can remove a majority of odors, toxins, and grease, but won’t do much to reduce moisture or heat levels.
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The great bane of range hoods is that because they suck up grease, they inevitably get filled with grease that can be very difficult to clean. Each manufacturer has their own way of trying to combat this, from centrifugal blowers to the simple mesh aluminum filter. But aluminum filters get clogged very easily and are notoriously difficult to clean. XtremeAir offers stainless steel baffle filters – a feature that’s standard in industrial kitchens and is becoming quite popular in home design – which are much, much easier to clean (they’re even dishwasher safe), and collect grease more efficiently. Because of the way they’re designed, hot air that moves up through the ducts causes the grease to melt down into the baffles, reducing buildup inside the ducts themselves, while offering a more finished appearance on the kitchen side.
For maximum efficiency, the power of a range hood should be matched to the surface area of the range it’s covering at a rate of about 50 CFM per square foot of cooktop, or about 300 CFM for a 36″ range. Of course, for higher heat and smoky, smelly, steamy cooking, more power means better ventilation. XtremeAir offers 900-1200 CFM range hoods suited for a restaurant quality kitchen, an ideal pair for an professional style range. Typically the range hood should be about the same size as the range, but a slightly wider range hood gives better coverage and a more professional culinary look.
Good controls should be both easy to use and intuitive to understand. Historically, range hoods have had analog controls – a simple on/off or hi-low-off switch or a power level dial. But these days controls are more often LED panels, either with push buttons or an integrated touch screen. XtremeAir’s controls, both touch and button press, allow greater control over the performance of the range hood, offering a wider range of power levels. XtremeAir’s range hoods also come with an auto-on feature that will activate when it detects smoke, as well as a timed auto-off, filter clean reminder, and a basic timer and clock. If possible, test out the controls before purchasing – all the features in the world aren’t worth much if it isn’t obvious how to activate them.
Construction (Including Noise Levels)
Even the best range hoods on the market don’t do any good if they’re never turned on, and the noisier the fan, the less likely it is to get turned on. Many range hood fans operate at just slightly higher than the normal level of human speech, meaning it’s impossible to hold a conversation at a normal level while it’s on. Many manufacturers have their pet solutions for this problem (some of which work better than others), but XtremeAir’s solution is simple: reduce the sound by improving the quality of the range hood overall. They use only commercial grade 19 gauge stainless steel in the bodies of their range hoods, with a seamless construction that, combined with their quiet blowers, helps reduce noise levels.
Range hoods are an important source of task lighting in the kitchen, casting bright light directly on the cooking surface. But newer designs are also aesthetically pleasing, providing light that’s attractive as well as functional. Especially in an island installation, decorative range hoods can function as island lights or even chandeliers, with a beautiful decorative appearance rather than the stereotypical big metal box. If lighting is an especially important consideration, look to see what type of bulbs are used (XtremeAir uses bright LED lights) and whether or not the range hood has a night light feature or multiple light settings.
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