Can a range hood insert be installed on a backsplash?
March 2, 2009 12:24 PM   Subscribe

We moved to a new shack in September. I say "shack," because the house had been neglected for 20+ years, it had no floor (!), a moldy bathroom, and a kitchen that had been constructed by an unskilled amateur cabinetmaker. So, a new kitchen was in order, and I arrogated to myself the role of kitchen architect. Mostly good choices were made, but I made a big mistake in measuring space for a downdraft ventilator for our cooktop, making it difficult to install a downdraft ventilator without using bulky ductwork on a highly visible side of our house.

It occured to me that it might be possible to buy a range ventilator insert, the kind designed for folks who have a custom hood cabinet made for their range, and install it flush on the backsplash wall behind our cooktop. The ventilator would exhaust through a short duct straight out the wall. The backsplash is zinc, so no worries about grease build up there. Could this work? Here's an example of what I'm talking about
posted by Izzy to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Out of curiosity, does "no floor" mean just dirt?
As long as you make sure that the vents aren't going to be letting moisture back into the house, it looks like you should be fine.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:15 PM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: Heh heh, not quite that primitive, but the previous owner had ripped up the original wood floors sometime in the 80s, and never got around to replacing it with something else. He was content to live on a painted, splintering plywood subfloor.
posted by Izzy at 1:41 PM on March 2, 2009

The info page states that a minimum of 24-30" above the range top is needed. Would you still be able to get that height if you mounted on the wall?

The unit is 7 1/2 inches deep - if you mounted this thing flush with your wall, it would be sticking out the side of your house by four inches (assuming standard 2x4 framing on a house of your's age), not including any framing that is needed to attach siding/whatever covering you have.

The particular unit you have listed wasn't meant to be seen regularly - I'd think that it would be a bit ugly to stare at day in and day out.
posted by davey_darling at 5:37 PM on March 2, 2009

So you're saying you would take a ventilator meant to be mounted horizontally above the range, and put it in the wall in back of the range, more or less at eye level? First, I would look for something designed for that purpose -- something like the back-vented [pdf] Vent-A-Hood. Not to mention all the cheap "ductless" hoods out there (I was just repainting one in our apartments yesterday).

But I would also call in an HVAC guy who might be able to give you more options or ideas for the ductwork. I'm not sure what your constriction is and solving that might be easier.

Certainly it would be architecturally easier to enclose a duct within drywall or other pretty materials above your cabinets than to do something similar outside your house. Depends on what's above it, too, though.
posted by dhartung at 11:12 PM on March 2, 2009

You'd be far better off to just install an appropriate overhead range hood exactly where it's meant to go: overhead.

Grease- and smoke-laden hot air has a very strong tendency to go UP. Downdraft ventilators or those installed in the wall behind the range are invariably less effective because they have to fight hot air's natural tendency to rise. They're typically built with more powerful (noisier) fans in an effort to compensate, but they still don't work nearly as well.
posted by jon1270 at 4:53 AM on March 3, 2009

Response by poster: davey_darling, I believe the clearance recommendations are designed so you can fit a large pot underneath the hood--not a problem for this application. Ya, it'll stick out of the house, but we will cover it with a cap that to be painted the same color as the house, so I don't think it'll be too bad (better than a duct going all the way to the roof).

jon1270, if it can work as well as a decent downdraft ventilaor, I'd be happy enough. The backsplash and cabinet bottoms are lined with sheet zinc, and they're easy to clean. Better a bit of noise, I think, than a house that smells of cooked kale (for days...and I love kale!).
posted by Izzy at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2009

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