Your cooker will probably be the centrepiece of your kitchen and so it is crucial to choose the right cooker hood. It will impact the aesthetics of your room but is also a functional addition which could make or break your kitchen environment. Cooker hoods remove airborne grease, smoke and odours as you are cooking to create cleaner air and prevent deposits settling around the room.
Kitchens and cookers come in all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, cooker hoods do as well and so it will be possible to find a hood which fits perfectly and suits the look of your space. When designing your new kitchen, one of the first decisions you will have to make is where to position your cooker or hob. This will dictate which type of cooker hood you need and will prevent you from wasting your time looking at hoods which cannot be accommodated in your layout.
There are several types of cooker hoods available which offer a diverse range of styles and finishes. You are certain to be able to find a model that is the right size for your space and which suits your décor. The space available for your hood will determine whether you can fit an extracting hood or a recirculating hood. When shopping for a new hood it’s vital to source one which provides an adequate extraction rate to remove impurities from the air.
EXTRACTING OR RECIRCULATING HOODS?
This type of hood removes the grease, smoke and odours from your kitchen via ducting which leads to the exterior of your property. Extracting hoods are generally the most efficient at maintaining a clean environment in the space. But they must be mounted on an exterior wall. If you wish to install an extracting hood, you will be restricted as to where you locate your cooker. These hoods require a grease filter which is usually included and the hood should be fitted by a professional unless you are simply replacing your old one.
Recirculating hoods clean the air via filters and then reintroduce it to the room. This type of hood could be an excellent alternative if you cannot install ducting in your home or are not positioning your cooker on an external wall. Recirculating hoods require a grease filter which is generally included. You will also need a carbon filter to clear smoke and odours which you may be required to purchase separately.
The extraction rate of your hood determines how quickly the air in the room is changed. You should choose a hood which is capable of changing the air roughly 10 times per hour. The larger your space, the higher the extraction rate you will need. Extraction rate is easily overlooked when you are focussing on size and style. However, it is an important consideration if you wish to maintain a clean kitchen which is free of nasty niffs.
Kitchen volume = length x width x height
Minimum extraction rate = kitchen volume x 10
Cooker Hood specifications will feature an extraction rate expressed in m3 per hour. To discover the extraction rate you need, you must first calculate the volume of your kitchen. Multiply the width by the height by the length of the room to calculate the volume. Multiply the volume by 10 and that is the minimum extraction rate that you require.
All cooker hoods feature grease filters. These are usually found beneath the hood and are the first point of contact for the air being extracted. The filters remove grease and heavy particles from the air before the machine begins to process everything that it has sucked in. Grease filters are usually made from fleece or ceramic material and should be changed every 4 to 8 weeks. It’s a good idea to always check that it will be easy to obtain replacement filters for your new cooker hood before making your choice.
Found only on recirculating hoods, charcoal filters remove smoke and smells from the kitchen. They should be replaced every 9 to 12 months, depending on how often you cook and as with grease filters, it is worth exploring how easy they are to obtain before choosing your cooker hood.
When cooking, you will probably be standing with your back to the main light source in the room and this can make it difficult to see what you are doing. For this reason, most cooker hoods feature lights. These could be halogen, incandescent or LED lights. It won’t be difficult to source replacement bulbs for your lights but you might wish to explore how simple the bulbs are to replace before selecting your hood.
COOKER HOOD SIZES
There are numerous sizes to choose from and you should aim to source a model which is the same size as your hob. This will ensure efficient extraction and the most aesthetically pleasing look. However, there is no reason why you can’t choose a hood which is larger than your hob if you have sufficient space to accommodate it.
TYPES OF COOKER HOOD
There are several styles of cooker hoods to choose from. Once you have evolved the layout of your room, it will probably become obvious which type of hood you will require. Similarly, if you aren’t revamping your kitchen and you are simply replacing your hood, you could be restricted to the type that you already have. If you favour a particular type of cooker hood and it is important to you that it becomes a feature of your kitchen, you might find that you have to design your kitchen around your choice.
CONVENTIONAL OR VISOR HOODS
Usually fitted to the underside of a wall unit in your kitchen, these cooker hoods are more visible and obvious than integrated models, but are more discreet than chimney hoods. Visor hoods come with a small glass or plastic visor that extends the hood’s size. Conventional hoods are good choices for small spaces where it’s difficult to accommodate a large chimney hood or where such a design would overly dominate the space.
Integrated cooker hoods are fitted into your cabinet and will be concealed. Ideal if you don’t wish to make your hood a statement piece in your kitchen, they look just like another wall unit at first glance and might be operated simply by opening the cabinet door.
Popular choices for their striking or interesting designs, chimney hoods suit rooms which are traditional in style and are also excellent inclusions as statement pieces to lend a new dimension to the space. Chimney hoods can be fitted between units or as standalone features.
Designed to be integrated into the ceiling or suspended above the island, these hoods are styled to be viewed from any angle. Designer island hoods are often styled to look more like lighting features and lend a stunning twist to your space.
DOWNDRAFT EXTRACTOR HOODS
An excellent choice where space is at a premium or when a low ceiling is restricting your options, downdraft extractor hoods are integrated into your unit behind your hob or into your island and rises at the touch of a button. In other words, it is only visible when you are actually using it.
The pitch of your ceiling will restrict your options when planning your kitchen layout and may impact your choice of cooker hood. If possible, position your hob against an external wall and/or beneath the highest point of the ceiling. If this isn’t practical, you may be able to accommodate a chimney cooker hood but would have to cut the chimney to fit the slope. Alternatively, incorporate your hob into your island or base unit and choose a downdraft extractor.
It’s all very well fitting a cooker hood to reduce odours and impurities from the air. But you won’t want to live with the annoying side effect of excessive noise when you are cooking. Cooker hoods vary dramatically in the level of noise they create when operating. While many models are extremely quiet, others can sound like a jet aircraft throttling up for take-off! If you savour a peaceful environment or like to watch TV while you cook, seek out a quiet hood but ensure that you don’t sacrifice extraction rate in the process.