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Indoor air quality is more important than people realize. The air you are breathing can affect you and your family’s health. This is especially true in the kitchen where things are heated and burned. There areseveral airborne particles released when heating food, from gas burners, and from non-stick cooking pans, especially Teflon coated.Air quality and air flow can be improved quite easily by with a proper ventilation system.
With a gas oven, if you do not have a kitchen exhaust fan, you could be allowing carbon monoxide to be released into your home’s air. Ventilating the home when you are cooking is very important and could adversely affect you and your family’s health.
The main issues concerning kitchen ventilation are not using a ventilation fanand having an ineffective ventilation fan. Basically, the main problem with kitchen ventilation is not having adequate ventilation.
Not using a kitchen exhaust fan
There are a shocking number of people who have a kitchen exhaust fan, but do not turn it on. In a recent indoor air quality study, it was reported that only 13% of people use their kitchen exhaust fan all the time. That means most people use their fans infrequently or not at all. 21% have no exhaust fan at all.
The purpose of a kitchen exhaust system is to take airborne particles and containments out of the air and either bring it outside, or with recirculating fans, to filter the air and re-release it back into the indoor environment.
Using your kitchen fan is the easiest way to improve air quality in the home. It is even easier if you already have an exhaust system installed and simply need to turn it on. The range hood fan should be switched on every time you are using the stovetop or oven.
Not having a range hood installed
This one is a bit pricey to remedy compared to simply not turning it on, but if you skipped on the exhaust fan installation when you purchased the stove, you may want to rethink it. The range itself will cost anywhere between $100-$300 and the installation another $200-$300, but it is well worth it to keep indoor air quality clean, and to prevent health issues for the family.
An ineffective kitchen exhaust fan
Some people not only have a fan, but they use it too, and it is still not enough to improve indoor air quality. There are several reasons that the kitchen range fan is not effective:
Makes noise but does not move air
One of the main reasons people do not even switch it on in the first place is because it makes quite the racket. Usually, we would say it is worth it to not be breathing chemicals and contaminants but oftentimes, the fan is making a lot of noise and the air is hardly circulating. In most cases this is caused by ineffective duct work throughout the home. This is also a common issue in the washroom where air also needs to be circulated.
The air does not vent outside
This is another common reason that ventilation does not work. The best range hoods have exhaust fans that are vented to the outdoors. This is the most effective way to improve the air quality indoors. Most fans are designed to be vented outdoors if they are within twenty feet to a wall or roof, which is quite flexible for most layouts. You should hire a professional for this job, as it involves making holes in the walls or ceiling.
Of course, there are recirculating fans which are common in many households, especially in apartments and stoves that are affordable for the average person. However, they are not as effective, and the filters need to be changed every few months. Some service people report stoves where the filter has never been changed, not even for twenty years! This will hinder your success when it comes to purifying the air in the home.
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Low capture efficiency
Stoves ranges are rated to capture 100 cubic feet of air for every 1000 BTU’s. This is easier on an electric stove as 400 cubic feet per minute will do the trick, but it is a bit more complicated with gas ranges where you need to know the BTU and compare with models of ranges. This is also not something that the salesperson will point out because it is not common knowledge. Oftentimes, homeowners have the best intentions when trying to make sure their indoor air quality is as clean as possible but have a low capture efficiency.
You can improve the capture efficiency by cooking on the back burner.
If you do not have a kitchen exhaust fan
If you do not have a kitchen exhaust fan installed, you should get one immediately. In the meantime, it is advisable to open the windows when you cook to circulate the air and allow clean air in and contaminated air out. Even better is to install a window fan that will pull the air outside. It is not as effective as the air being pulled right from the source as you are cooking, and it will not help with grease, but it is still better for the family’s overall health.
One way to prevent the gunk and grime from building up is to get a splatter guard for your frying pans. This will keep the grease in the pan and keep it off your cabinets, appliances and cooking equipment.
You can also use a HEPA air filter until you can get a range installed. Like the recirculating ranges, they have filters that need to be replaced frequently if they are being used often.
Overall, the main problems with kitchen ventilation are that many people either do not use their kitchen exhaust fans or do not have one installed. You can vastly improve your indoor air quality and prevent illness and home damages by turning your fan on or getting one installed.