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Are Recirculating Range Hoods Any Good?

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If you have been range hood shopping, then you will know just how many options are available to choose from. You need to consider whether you are venting it to the outside or if you are opting for a ductless hood (also known as a recirculating range hood). There is a lot you need to know before you can even think about which one is right for you. You want to make a wise investment, so let’s discuss your options.

What Is A Recirculating Range Hood?

A ductless or recirculating range hood is an exhaust fan that recycles your kitchen air. Rather than drawing it out of your kitchen to the outside via ductwork it simply filters it through a charcoal filter and back into your home. The filter traps dirt, chemicals, and grease, as well as neutralizing odors, so in theory, the air vented back into your kitchen is clean.

Luxurious white kitchen cabinet with cooking island
However, this means you need to stay on top of keeping your filter clean. It also means that the filter will need to be changed once every three months or so.

Are Recirculating Range Hoods Good?

Yes, that is the short answer. However, if you want the best, then ducted range hoods are the most efficient option. As a ducted range hood carries air outside the home, it is by far the most efficient range hood on the market. A ductless range hood traps odors and grease using a charcoal filter, but it is not as effective as venting it directly outside your home. A ductless range hood will improve your kitchen’s air quality, but not the same level as a ducted one will.

Whether a ductless hood is worth it will be entirely up to you. It is certainly better than no hood at all, and it can be installed anywhere. They’re a cost-effective choice as you can easily install the hood yourself and there’s no need to enlist a contractor for the ductwork. Ideally, anyone who can install a ducted range hood should, and for those who simply cannot, a recirculating hood is ideal.

The Potential Pros & Cons of Recirculating Hoods

There are several obvious benefits to choosing a recirculating range hood. The first benefit is that it’s an inexpensive route. With no ducting to install, it’s as simple as installing the hood, and you are ready to cook. That is a point for cost and simplicity.

There are also drawbacks to choosing a recirculating range hood. While the indoor air quality of your home will improve with a recirculating range hood, it would not be as high a quality as it would if you installed a ducted hood. The other thing to consider besides air quality is cleanliness. While a ducted hood carries grease and dirt away from the kitchen, a recirculating hood will filter it and deliver that air back. That means the dirt and grease it couldn’t filter will settle onto your surfaces. That means more cleaning for you. A recirculating hood is also louder than a ducted hood. They need more fan power to operate which means they work loudly. Additionally, a ductless hood will only work as well as you allow it to which means regularly cleaning the filter and replacing it in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you do not keep it clean and replace it often, you will notice your kitchen getting smelly and dirty.

Summing Up

It’s worth noting that there are health concerns related to poor ventilation in the kitchen. A large number of cancers are down to the environment rather than your genes. Your environment includes all of the cancer-causing chemicals you may be exposed to. Many of these chemicals are in household cleaning products and if your kitchen ventilation isn’t doing its job then you’re putting your health at risk.

According to the EPA, you spend 90% of your time indoors and indoor air quality is two to five times more polluted than outdoors. In the kitchen, some of the risks to indoor air quality include carbon monoxide from a gas range, the fumes from cooking oil can contain formaldehyde, and then there are the toxins from grease, house cleaners, steam, moisture, and odors.

You must take appropriate steps to ensure your indoor air quality is as clean as possible. If you do decide on a recirculating range hood, then you can improve air quality by opening the windows regularly. There are also a variety of plants that can improve air quality. If you aren’t sure which direction to take, you can take advice from professionals who can offer personalized advice based on your budget and space.