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Can You Leave a Range Hood Fan On? How Long? (Answered)

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Running your range hood is a great way to keep your house’s air quality clean. A strong hood will make removing heavy oils, smoke, and strong cooking scents from your kitchen easy.

But you might be wondering: can you leave a kitchen exhaust fan on? And for how long?

In this article, we will discuss how long a range hood fan should run for, when you should use it, and provide some best practices to keep your hood and kitchen at their best.

How long should you run a range hood for?

You should not leave your range hoods fans running for more than two hours. This should not be a problem since most kitchen meals should be ready in under an hour. 

It is safe to leave your hood on for 15 to 30 minutes to remove any lingering smoke and odors. But do not forget to shut it off. 

Some exhaust fans offer an auto-shutoff feature that automatically turns the hood off after three, five, or ten minutes. This helps remove additional smoke, fat, and smells that may linger after you’re done cooking.

If you are using your hood for several hours, we recommend setting it to the lowest possible level. The lifespan of your hood will be significantly extended if you use it at a slower speed than you would at full throttle.

When should I turn on my range hood fan?

It’s best to only turn on your exhaust fan when you’re cooking. Once you’re finished, you can run it for ten to fifteen minutes to ensure all the leftover smoke has cleared. However, do not run it for too long. You will be putting undue stress on the motor if you do. 

As mentioned above, some exhaust fans have an auto-shutoff feature that automatically turns the hood off after three, five, or ten minutes. In case you are a little forgetful.

Will an exhaust fan reduce heat?

Yes, a range hood can cool down your kitchen by ventilating hot air outside of your kitchen. However, this only works with ventilation hoods or ducted range hoods, not recirculating or ductless range hoods. 

Remember, a range hood is not an air conditioner. It can make the air colder; it can only replace hot air with the (hopefully cooler) ambient air. If you want to prevent your kitchen from being hot, either start cooking earlier in the day or switch on your air conditioner.

Which exhaust fans are better, plastic or metal?

Plastic exhaust fans don’t hold up well when compared to stainless steel fans. Stainless steel fans can provide you peace of mind knowing you won’t have to replace them (if at all) for possibly the lifetime of your hood. Plastic fans, on the other hand, are known for wearing down quickly.

Tips to consider when using a range hood

Below are just a few tips to keep in mind when operating a range hood.

Get a more powerful hood than you think you’ll need

Purchase a fan with a higher CFM rating than you believe you will require. Why? Because you can’t upgrade a low CFM fan after you’ve bought it. And CFM fan with a greater CFM number will allow you to utilize your hood at lower speeds more often. 

Keep in mind that CFM measures the power of the blower and does not account for its durability, and a larger CFM (cubic feet per minute) does not guarantee that the motor will live longer. A 600 CFM motor may have a longer service life than a 2000 CFM motor. How you use it, your culinary habits, and the motor quality all have a role.

Use your exhaust fan at lower speeds

Consider running your exhaust fan at a slower speed. This is useful for the range hood as it helps to prolong the life of the motor. The maximum speed should only be used in an emergency or when there is a lot of smoke, not for every meal you prepare in the kitchen. Your hood will last longer if you utilize the maximum speed as little as possible.

Let your hood run for 5 to 10 minutes after you’re done cooking.

To get rid of any cooking exhaust, smoke, and aromas, run your hood for a few minutes after each meal. Ventilation like this can make a big difference if you frequently fry, or grill inside.

Clean your range hood filters every three months

No one wants to buy a range hood that only lasts a year or two. It’s far better to invest money on a range hood that will last ten years, 15 years, or even forever! But it is imperative that you keep your hood in good condition. It’s important to keep the filters clean.

All the unwanted fats and oils created by your cooking are caught by your filters. The idea is to keep oil buildup to a minimum so that your filthy kitchen air may easily escape. So keep those filters clean.

Filthy oily dirty kitchen range hood fan with plastic fan fins
Filthy Oily Dirty Kitchen Range Hood With Plastic Fan Fins

If you want to know more general information about range hoods, check out this video from Appliance Repair Tips on how a range hood works.

‘How does a Vent Hood Work?’ by Appliance Repair Tips.


If you are considering leaving your range hood fan on overnight, don’t. You will wear down the motor fast.

In this post, we discussed if it’s safe to leave your range hood fan on for extended periods, the best times to run your range hood, and a few tips to help you keep your range hood running longer. Below are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways:

  • You shouldn’t leave your fan on for more than two hours
  • Only turn on your exhaust fan while cooking
  • A range hood can reduce the heat in your kitchen

 If you’d like to learn more about range hoods, check out our full blog here. Stay safe!

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Written By Roger Harris

Hey there, My name is Bradley, and I've been riding fixed for over ten years. I love all the joy and pain that comes with this unique style of cycling and the passionate community that drives it. If you love fixed gear and single-speed bikes, this is the place for you.

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