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Are Range Hoods Required By Code?

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All buildings, be it residential or commercial are constructed under strict guidelines and recommendations known as codes. They are meant to make the environment safe and meet the necessary standards for quality life. A kitchen, being the most sensitive room in any house has certain codes that must be met. One of those codes is having a range hood over your cooktop, and the range hood too must be under certain international, national and local codes. These codes vary from state to state and from one local authority to another. To be sure of your local range hood code, consult with the authority so that you and your family are in a safe environment, and avoid expensive lawsuits in the future. This should come before you buy a range hood because otherwise, you stand to lose so much money if the range hood does not comply with the codes, as you will be required to buy one that complies.

  • Cubic Feet Per Minute, CFM

The power of a range hood is measured in cubic feet per minute, abbreviated as CFM. CFM determines the effectiveness of the range hood, which sends out hot and smelly gases from the cooktop. Although the international CFM code for range hoods is 100CFM, some local authorities allow for range hoods with slightly lower or higher CFM than this, depending on the type of your cooking, and the square footage of your cooktop. If you are the type that loves cooking and you do lots of frying, you can look for a range hood with 150CFM. However, the higher the CFM rating a range hood has, the more noise levels it has.

The reason local authorities require that your range hood has a certain CFM is to keep you and your neighbors safe from the harmful gases. Again, if the CFM is too high, let us say 350, this would be so noisy such that even your neighbors would also be inconvenienced. Such a high CFM range hood would be best for commercial cooking where the noise level is acceptable.

  • Cooking Surfaces

Most local authorities demand there must be an allowance space of not less than 30 inches between the cooktop and any combustible material above it. This requirement is meant to eliminate any chances of fire breakout. For example, if the range hood is built inside the cabinetry, and there is no enough clearance space between it and the cooktop, the cabinetry would easily catch fire and this could be disastrous for you and your family. On the other hand, this clearance space should not be so large since this would mean that most of the hot gases from the stovetop would escape into the room instead of being absorbed into the range hood.

  • Ventilation of the Range Hood

Most states and local municipalities require that you install a range hood with a fan that is vented outside the house. Contrary to the non-vented range hood that just recirculates the air, this is meant to ensure that you and your family are breathing fresh air from outside. A non-vented range hood fan just cools the air and recirculates it back into the kitchen, while smoke particles and grease are trapped into the filter. In terms of health friendliness, the range hood with a vented fan is better since you will be breathing fresh and clean air from outside, the reason most authorities require you to install a vented fan range hood. However, some local authorities allow for non-vented range hoods.

  • Material of the Duct

Most local governments require that ducts for range hoods are made of metal and have a smooth inner surface. This is to allow the hot gases to cool off before they are lost to the surrounding and prevent downdraft. In addition, metallic ducts are easier to clean, compared to other materials like PVC. However, some authorities allow for exceptions of PVC duct material in case it is buried into the concrete walls.

Most people view these range codes as bothersome but what they forget is that the authorities make them to safeguard your life and that of your loved ones and neighbors. After all, the authorities do not live with us, so they could not possibly have any vested interests. That being said, it is important that everyone adheres to these codes and at the end of the day, we will all have a safer environment to live in. For more information on the codes, head to your town council headquarters or hire a contractor when installing a range hood. Experts are familiar with such codes since they get their license from the authorities.