Understanding kitchen ventilation:
What to look for when shopping for ventilation
The goal of kitchen ventilation is to improve the air quality in your home and to make sure cooking by-products like smoke and odours don't damage cabinets, countertops or fabrics.
This guide will help you navigate shopping for ventilation products. It will highlight what you should consider and help answer some important questions about features, configuration options, noise level and more.
Comparing non-vented and vented options
These systems are engineered to suction smoke, steam and odours from cooking surfaces and expel them outside.
Non-Vented Recirculation* is perfect for kitchens where exhaust to a home's exterior isn't feasible or where whole home circulation is present. Recirculating kits have the ability to capture smoke, steam and cooking odours that are then filtered before being returned to the inside of the home.
* where permissible by code. Canadian building codes include requirements for air quality such as ASHRAE 62 “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality". Consult local building code requirements prior to installation of ventilation equipment to determine applicable permits venting conditions and air exchange requirements. Whirlpool products are certified to HVI 915 and 916 in accordance with 220.127.116.11 of Canada's NBC'15.
Whirlpool offers both vented and non-vented exhaust options.
Ventilation power required (cfm)*
Vent power is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). This determines the velocity that air flows in and out of a space. Certain manufacturer’s CFM ratings can include the certified ratings to HVI 916* Airflow Test Procedure or AHAM HRH-2-2019** Standards.
*Home Ventilation Institute (HVI)
**Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
Home Ventilation Institute (HVI)
HVI certification is important to understand when ventilation product shopping. If a ventilation product is HVI certified, it signifies that the air flow (CFM rate) and noise level (sones) have had their performance tested as indicated under the rated conditions. Visit www.hvi.org to see if your vent has been HVI certified. This way, you can know how your vent will perform based on your preferred type of installation (duct configuration and some speed settings).
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) Verification
If a ventilation product has been AHAM Verified then an impartial verification of the manufacturer’s air flow (CFM) and noise level (sones) under a variety installation options has been performed. To know if your vent has been AHAM Verified or not, visit www.aham.org. If it has, you should be able to view the results*.
Choosing the Right CFM
It's adviseable to select an appropriately sized ventilation unit with the right CFM level. If you buy a product with a too-low CFM rating, it may not be able to successfully ventilate the air in your kitchen. If you buy a ventilation system with too high of a CFM rating, it can create negative pressure so you'll have to find an alternative way to replenish the air. Also note that if CFM is too high, air can be removed from places where you may not want it to be removed from.
To figure out the minimum CFM requirements, consider several factors, one of which is preferred cooking techniques. If you often sear, blacken or fry, you may need a higher CFM rating to properly refresh the air. Also, if you usually use 4 or more burners, there's a good chance that you may need a higher CFM rating. If you mostly simmer and sauté, or you typically use only 2 burners, then a lower CFM rating should be sufficient for your needs.
Don't forget that the higher the CFM, the louder the hood will be.
Gas Cooking Surface
If a manufacturer does not share BTU threshold, then you can take it upon yourself to calculate the CFM required. If you often use every burners and cook on high heat, just divide total BTUs by 100 to calculate the CFM required.
Induction & Radiant Cooking Surfaces
These cooking surfaces produce a lot less heat than gas cooking surfaces, therefore, their CFM rating land somewhere between 200 - 400 CFM. This depends on the power and the number of burners. The widths of the ventilation product and the Radiant or Induction cooking surfaces should match.
*ADDITIONAL NOTE: Some building codes require adequate makeup air provisions when using ventilation products. Exact CFM requirements are based on the location and the specific method of installation. It's always recommended that you wconsult your City Bylaws for more information. Also, speak to your HVAC professional to get the correct requirements in your area.
Understanding sound levels
Consider the sound level ratings for ventilation systems. You want to make sure that a system's noise level won't interfere with your household activity whether it be hosting or conversing while cooking.
Loudness is measured in sones. A sone is a single unit of noise as detected by an indivudual with regular hearing. A lower rating means a ventilation system will be quieter when operating. If your kitchen is open concept or more spacious, consider ventilation products with a lower sones rating. Sound requirements are included in Canada's National Building Code.
Whirlpool products are tested, certified and labelled in accordance with HVI 915 Loudness Testing and Rating Procedure
Product CFM and sounds levels are verified in accordance with HVI 920 - 2015 through the AHAM Kitchen Range Hood Certification Program.
Certain Whirlpool ventilation models offer additional technology to reduce the noise via sound insulation. This means you can cook a meal and converse at the same time with greater ease.
Size and capture area
A capture area is the outermost perimeter of the hood bottom that collects cooking by-products. At the very least, the width of the capture area should match that of the appliance, or it can be larger.
Whirlpool ventilation products come in 24”, 30” and 36”.
Find the ventilation mounting that suits your kitchen
Wall Mount Ventilation
A popular option for a cooking surface that's situated against a wall. These hood attaches to the wall so that air can be vented externally. If this type of venting isn't a possibility, you can purchase a recirculating kit to filter air before returning it to the kitchen.
Island Mount Ventilation
Designed to be installed over an island. It securely hangs over a cooking surface, ensuring that ventilation is properly in place. Air is removed through the ceiling and then outside. If external venting isn't doable or desireable, you can purchase and install a recirculating kit. Unlike external venting, the air will be filltered and then returned to the kitchen.
Under Cabinet Ventilation
These hoods are situated against the wall, below the cabinet space and above the cooking surface. This mounting configuration provides customers with a hood option that slides out when in operation, and slides back when not in use to achieve a cohesive look with surrounding cabinets.
Microwave Hood Combinations (MHCs)
If you're looking to save counter space, consider this option that combines a microwave with a ventilation system. These microwave hood combination products are installed against an overhead cabinet and a wall. You can choose between recirculating or vented.
A Whirlpool low profile MHC is a microwave and a hood installed into the undercabinet space and is 10.3" tall. This lets you use your counter space, which can sometimes be limited, for meal prep or for other countertop appliances.
Telescoping Downdraft Ventilation
If you want a unified look, consider this type of ventilation, which is designed to be installed into a counter and behind a cooktop. Easily make the slim exhaust fan rise from the counter and then go back in when not in use.
Custom options include a vent system mounted inside of a custom cover. These covers are made of either metal, wood, plaster or tile, and provide a slew of motor options. If you choose the custom option, you will be required to buy a blower and hood liner. These can be installed against a wall inside a cabinet.
Two Types of Blowers
In-line blowers are actually placed out of the way, typically in the attic.They employ the same motor as an internal hood blower because noise doesn't need to be considered since it's a fair distance from the kitchen.
Internal blowers are installed above a cooking space. The blower is more accessible and easier to maintain than some other options on the market.
Hood liners offer overhead lighting for better visibility and can trap grease.
Whirlpool offers all of the above configurations except telescoping downdraft ventilation.
Like a vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment, perimeter venting concentrates the airflow to improve overall suction. It works by accelerating air as it is pulled through the slots around the hood’s perimetric cover. Air goes through grease filters removing as much steam, smoke and grease as it can before exhausing it from the kitchen.
Auto Speed Setting
Auto speed setting automatically adjusts the speed of the blower motor to coordinate the ventilation with the heat output of the cooking surface.
There are ventilation products from Whirlpool that have bright and long-lasting LED task lighting, so owners can enjoy greater cooking surface visibility.
Colour & Style
The available options for vent hoods are white, black, stainless steel and black stainless steel. Custom hood liners allow you to customize your hood to achieve a unified look for your kitchen. You can choose between commercial-style or something more modern.
Certain Whirlpool ventilation products have glass canopies for a more contemporary aesthetic.
Common vent duct sizes are either 3 ¼” x 10” rectangular and 6”, 7”, or 10” round. Many vents can fit these sizes but it's a good idea to confirm with the guide. Installation heights can range between 24" and 36” depending on the model. Read the installation guide for more details.
Refer to the manufacturers guide for the steps to complete a successful installation process. Remember that if the home’s ceilings are 8ft or higher, you may need to purchase a duct extension kit. This will provide a sufficient amount of ducts to vent outside the home. Kits that accompany vents normally accommodate only 8ft ceilings.