I just need to vent
November 19, 2017 7:24 PM   Subscribe

All the windows in my apartment can only be opened a little bit at the top (like this). How do I vent the kitchen when cooking?

Currently, food smells will linger for days after cooking, even when I keep the window open (plus prop open the door to the hallway, or open another window) for hours. There is a vent fan above the stove, but it just expels air back into the room. In fact, there are no fans to the outside in the entire apartment, even in the bathroom. Window fans won't fit into the sliver of open window. Any ideas for how to vent the kitchen?

Note: I'm not looking for ways to neutralize the odor, like sprays/air purifiers/baking soda/boiling vinegar.
posted by airmail to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I'd try mounting a small fan on the side of the window, drawing air out. Not all the air will go out given the size of the opening, but if you let it run 15 or 20 minutes after you finish cooking, you can probably improve things quite a bit. Good luck!
posted by summerstorm at 7:34 PM on November 19, 2017

Are all your windows wired? If not and it was me I'd remove the top pane of glass (the retaining trim looks like it just screws on) and cut a piece of plywood to fit that I could mount a window fan or thru wall transfer fan to.

Alternatively a sheet metal place could bend you up a boot that would fit a duct fan on one end that tapers to a long narrow end on the other that would fit even in the narrow opening of your window. (Something like this) Or if you are a little handy you could make your own with some aluminum tape and something like foam core.

Heck even if you made a block that completely covered your window sash and mounted a fan in it it would exhaust some air. A chunk of 2" rigid foam works well for this and if cut accurately can just be wedged into the window opening.
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 PM on November 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

They make these fans. I stuck this link in so you can see one. They have little side accordion pleats to fit windows. That fan can sit on the edge and be taped to the window above, or some such adjustment. They are light, and could be some DIY thing you use. It will take some ingenuity. They also make column style small fans that could be on the side of the stove, pointing at the window out take.
posted by Oyéah at 8:10 PM on November 19, 2017

These small fans are used to even out the heat in woodfire-heated homes. I had one in my home. They are very small, about 4"x4"x2", and very quiet and can probably be used to actively pump air out of that little window with some light kludging on your part.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:22 PM on November 19, 2017

To clarify: there's no upper window - that was just an example image. There is only this part. The opening is about 4 inches wide, and I only have about 1" of clearance at the top because the roller blind is in the way.

(Seriously, who designed this place?!)
posted by airmail at 8:24 PM on November 19, 2017

The image you just posted shows a window that can tilt in on a horizontal hinge, and also open on a vertical hinge like a door. Are you sure your windows don't do that?
posted by monotreme at 9:00 PM on November 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

The hinges on the window do actually look just like the second photo I posted! But I haven't figured out how to open them vertically yet (if it's even possible).
posted by airmail at 9:11 PM on November 19, 2017

Yeah, the image you just posted in a comment is a tilt-and-turn window. Normally on such a window, the orientation of the handle controls how the window opens. When the handle is pointed upward, the window opens from the top like in the picture; when the handle is oriented horizontally, the window opens like a door. (When the handle is pointed downward, the window locks.) Watch this video.
posted by Syllepsis at 9:26 PM on November 19, 2017

monotreme and Syllepsis, the handle won't turn past 90 degrees, which seems to be the tilt position on my version. Tried the tips in the previously, but none of them worked :(. I'm contacting the super for help. If I can get it to open vertically, then I can get a window fan. Thank you to everyone so far!
posted by airmail at 9:30 PM on November 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you can't get it to open vertically, I have a fan similar to the one Foam Pants linked but wrapped in a plastic housing, and it does move a lot of air for its size. With the plastic housing, it might be just big enough to balance across the opening without needing any mounting.
posted by mgar at 5:24 AM on November 20, 2017

I have so much sympathy for ventless kitchens, having lived in them for YEARS. This is doable, but the question really boils down to "How ugly are you willing to go?" Because the most functional, DIY choice is gonna get uggo.

Connect a length of dryer ducting to an inline duct fan, then to more dryer ducting. Make sure the direction of the inline fan is pointing out, and then string everything up to your nearest window.

You can basically add pieces to this as you need to. Rigid furnace pieces might fit your window better. A blower style fan might be needed to give you proper suction if your windows are far away from the stove. Your neighborhood (if sufficiently sketchy/awesome) might have a custom furnace sheet metal place (the best ones are usually un-google-able) that could fab up a mount to fit directly in the crack of your window for a fee.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:12 AM on November 20, 2017

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