While range hoods offer the best solution to prevent smoke, heat, grease, and moisture from spreading all over your kitchen, you might not receive the best service if you don’t keep updating the fixture.
A range hood with old or dysfunctional parts will struggle to neutralize kitchen odors and keep the space fresh with clean air.
That’s one of the many reasons why you need to inspect the unit from time to time and replace worn out parts immediately.
Three Manufactured Home Range Hood Parts For The DIYer
A typical range hood system is made of these parts:
- conversion/Recirculating kit
1. Conversion/Recirculating Kit
The conversion kit is one of the most important parts of your range hood.
The main job of the accessory is to convert a ducted range hood into a recirculating or ductless unit.
It is made up of two components –
- charcoal filters and
- stainless-steel vent.
Install it on top of the range hood to recirculate or vent air back into the kitchen.
You will realize that most of the recirculating range hoods out there lack the much-needed power you require to clean the air in your kitchen.
While there are a few impressively powerful recirculating range hood options on the market today, because they rely too much on recycling the air, they don’t perform anywhere efficiently as ducted range hoods.
Rather than simply recirculate the air, the ducted options vent all cooking fumes, smells, and smoke, and out of the kitchen.
It would be great if you find a sizable ductless range hood with 600 CFM or higher, that’s powerful enough to guarantee reliability. But, most of the range hoods you will find in the store, especially box stores are slightly below 400 CFM, which will not reliably move the air.
However, recirculating range hoods are better than not having a range hood at all.
In some cases, the owner will be unable to install the ductwork in the structure of the home, especially if your home is located in an apartment or in a condo. Very few landlords will permit you to add a range hood. If you can convince them fine.
Not all conversion kits are exactly the same. For that reason, be sure to seek the advice of an expert or the installation guide. Being a rather complex accessory, there are a few factors worth considering when shopping for one:
Model & Brand Compatibility
Manufacturers roll out several models in a certain period. Some of these models become obsolete as technology gets better.
There are many other reasons why a brand may stop supporting some of their old models.
Double-check to confirm there’s a recirculating kit that’s compatible with your specific model of the range hood.
Some stores will let you know the list of compatible models, while others will require you to come having already made up your mind about what you really want.
Model compatibility applies when choosing from the same manufacturers. If you are choosing from a different brand then you need to determine if it will work perfectly with parts from other manufacturers’ brands.
Dimensions & Size
The reason why you should consider the size of the recirculating kit is that not all hoods work with one design of the conversion kit.
Because the conversion kit is tasked with converting your range hood from ducted to ductless, take the measurements of the point where it will be linked to the range hood and choose a product within those dimensions.
Also, the general size of the product should not be too large or small in a way that can affect other installations or its own functions.
Whether you are buying this accessory for replacement purposes or you just needed a new kit, you want to acquire it at a reasonable price or one that fits in your budget.
Of course, such factors as the brand and type of finish can have an influence on the price tag, but they rarely surpass $400. It is possible to find a decent recirculation kit. Most of the options you will find costs between $50 and $100. It is possible to find one costing over $1,500.
Whether you are looking for affordable or mid-tier conversion kits, Whirlpool and Broan are two brands worth checking out.
Material & Finish
Very few manufacturers move away from Aluminum as their preferred material for their recirculating kits.
So, most of the options you will find in the store are aluminum, but you will find some excellent stainless-steel alternatives.
Also, make up your mind about the finish family that will integrate flawlessly with the rest of the range hood system.
It just doesn’t make sense to add a silvery finished recirculating kit on a gold-finished range hood. Make sure the finish on the rest of the range hood is the same as or very similar to that on the recirculation kit.
Some of the commonly used finish families are –
- stainless steel
The filter of the range hood can be either charcoal or metallic accessory.
They are useful in “sieving” out such undesirables as dirt, grease, and similar contaminants from the stream drawn from your cooktop.
There are three types of filters in range hoods –
- aluminum mesh filters
- stainless-steel baffle filters
- charcoal filters.
It is recommended that a filter, especially the charcoal filter, be replaced approximately once every 150 hrs. of cooking – that’s about three to six months, depending on the cooking frequency and the kind of cooking you do.
Here is how to choose the best filter for your range hood:
You risk buying a filter that doesn’t fit if you head to the store without measuring the slot. For that reason, consider determining the height and width of the slot and take them with you to the store.
Hold your old filter in such a way that the baffles (or ridges) extend vertically from the top down, like a photo frame on the wall.
The “height” side should run parallel to the ridges from the top to bottom. The “width”, on another hand, should run left to right.
Filter measurements are normally listed in nominal sizes, meaning decimal parts are rounded up to the closest whole number.
As such, exact measurements of filters are often about 1/2″ smaller compared to the actual size.
All filters aren’t the same. As aforementioned, you will need to choose from three types –
Stainless-Steel Mesh Filters
If you want to equip your range hood with the most efficient filter available in the market then you should choose stainless steel baffle filter.
But, what makes this type of filter so efficient?
It has something to do with the way they are manufactured – they are equipped with alternating baffles, each baffle is three-sided.
This construction maximizes the airflow as well as grease filtering during the operation of your range hood.
When air reaches the top baffles, it is forced to change direction rapidly, causing all contaminants to be trapped under the baffles.
The unrivaled efficiency makes them the perfect choice of filter for many different types and sizes of range hoods.
Brands to check out are Regency and Franklin Machine Products (FMP).
Aluminum Hood Filters
If you are looking forward to equipping your hood range with the most economical filter you could lay your hands on then you should probably go for aluminum hood filters.
This type of filter is also great for lower-volume kitchens.
However, they aren’t as durable as their stainless-steel counterparts. Aluminum hood filters can only be cleaned by hand.
Brands to check out for aluminum filters are Admiral and American Metal Filter Co.
While most ducted hoods use stainless-steel mesh filters or stainless-steel baffle, ductless or recirculating range hoods go well with charcoal filters.
Charcoal filters are also the ideal option for virtually any type of ductless range hood.
They are made up of carbon material which does all the filtering job, trapping some of the larger contaminants and neutralizing odors produced from the cooktop.
If you are in any situation that makes it difficult or impossible to duct your range hood to the outside of your home, charcoal filters are the best option.
Brands to check out are Broan and Nutone.
Truth be told – you don’t want a dull-looking filter hanging over your cooktop.
Remember that some filters will be visible to anyone with an uninterrupted view of the cooking area.
This is why you need to choose the finish carefully.
If you are running an open kitchen, then something with a gold, silver, stainless-steel, or brown would be perfect – just go for a finish that you think would turn the space into an eyesore.
If your kitchen is a closed plan, dull finishes would be great.
Sones (High Speed)
Buy a filter in accordance with the sone rating of the range hood’s blower.
Some stores will let you know the sones supported by each filter, but you need to be aware of what you really want just in case the store doesn’t provide that kind of information.
It is never a good idea to combine a lowly rated filter with a highly rated blower – it could mean more frequent replacement or impaired filtration.
Most of the options you will find in the store falls in one of the three popular categories of sone ratings:
- 5.0 – 5.9 Sones
- 6.0 – 6.9 Sones
- 7.0 Sones or More
Frameless v/s Framed Filters
Do you want a concealed filter that no one would be able to see how old and crooked it is?
Buy the framed option.
Framed filters are perfect for an open kitchen. Frameless filters, on another hand, are for those who have nothing to hide, mostly in closed kitchens.
Bafflers in frameless filters run all the way to the margins or edges of the unit. Some frameless filters do come with a “frame” but it’s normally too thin to spot thinner.
Yes, determine if you need a filter with a spark arrestor.
Some filters are equipped with spark arrestors to extinguish any sparks and fires that might drift off your cooktop.
This adds one more layer of protection for your cooking equipment especially those that are prone to throwing little frames all over the place.
Range hoods use two types of lights –
- LED and
- Halogen lights.
There are range hoods that use incandescent lights, but they are not commonplace. Whether you can use regular light bulbs on your range hood depends on the kind of the range hood. If the unit came with its own incandescent lights, they’ll work just fine.
Range hoods that came with Halogen light bulbs would work perfectly with other types of bulbs as well.
Both Incandescent and Halogen lights use tiny transformers to reduce their voltage.
Halogen lights are essentially an improved version of incandescent bulbs; they are brighter and longer and last longer.
Remember to ask the supplier before trying to switch the sort of lightbulb on your range hood.
LED options are seldom exchangeable. If your range hood features LED light bulbs, there’s a very slim likelihood that you will be allowed to switch your LEDs with Incandescent or Halogen light bulbs.
LED lights use Direct Current while Halogen lights normally run on 12V AC.
Bear in mind these factors when shopping for range hood lights:
LED v/s Halogen
Here is why you should go for LED lights
- Last between 20,000 and 50,000 hrs
- Burn cooler compared to Halogen lights
- About 75 percent more energy-efficient compared to Halogen lights
- Comes with shatterproof bulbs
- Contain no harmful gases or toxins
- More costly to acquire than Halogens, but can be more economical with prolonged use
- Here is why you should purchase Halogen lights
- Burn very hot and brightly – use cautiously
- Contain a small amount of halogen gas
- Last for about 2,000 hrs.
- Not very energy-efficient
- Produce a heavy amount of infrared light
Whether you choose LED, Halogens, or Incandescent, remember to consider the wattage factor.
Wattage, basically, is the amount of electrical power expressed in watts.
The Wattage of your lightbulb is the total amount of energy it draws to produce a given amount of light. This means higher wattage translates to brighter lights.
It also means more power will be used. A 40-W incandescent lamp can produce only 380 – 460 lumens and draws 40-W of energy for every passing hour.
An LED that consumes 60-W of energy can’t be compared to a similar incandescent bulb that consumes 60-W. In fact, a 60-W LED just may simply you.
LED lights are designed in such a way that they consume less energy and will naturally come with a low watt rating.
Basically, it means it’s almost useless to use wattage to determine brightness. However, you can use wattage to determine the weight exerted by the lights on your energy bills.
Range Hood Compatible
Is your choice of bulb really compatible with your range hood?
Compatibility is the easiest and also the most important factor to check in a lightbulb meant for a range hood.
Fortunately, range hood-specific bulbs are an ever-growing market, so you are guaranteed to land a bulb that meets your needs.
Good Heat Management
One of the biggest concerns about range hood lights is heat management and everything else related to it.
Of course, it is difficult to determine how effective a lightbulb manages heat energy without actually testing the product.
The advice here is to stay away from cheap LEDs – such LEDs are often overdriven and come with poor heat sinks.
Resistance to Vibration
The mechanical fans located inside the range hood can produce vibrations strong enough to interfere with the smooth operations of other parts of the system.
Therefore, you should stay away from LEDs featuring weak or fragile glass bulbs.
Instead, opt for LEDs equipped with vibration resistance properties and shatterproof bulbs.
Color Rendering Index (CRI)
CRI is the whole point why you shop for a lightbulb for your range hood – you want to see your simmering food and be able to determine its readiness. You can’t see properly without proper lights.
To achieve this, you will need all colors to be produced accurately. For that reason, you should go for a LED bulb with a CRI rating of not less than 90.
Wrong color temperature can cause you to falsely interpret your food as overcooked or undercooked.
Choose a lightbulb with a well-balanced white color temperature, preferably 5,500K or more.
With all these tricks and tips under your belt, you will have no hardship replacing some of the accessories on your range hood.
What type of filter do you think will meet your needs?
What type of lights does the range hood support?
Can you use one type in place of another, say, for cost and efficiency reasons?
Is the conversion kit of your choice compatible with the brand that made your range hood? Is it compatible with the rest of the system?
Do you have a budget in place? How much are you willing to spend on the accessory of your liking?