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What is a Ducted Range Hood (Complete Guide)

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If you are considering a new range hood, you have probably considered a ducted hood. Great choice! But is that the best choice for you? And configurations you should consider when installing your new range hood. But what is a ducted range hood?

Ducted range hoods (also know as ventilating hoods) are kitchen exhaust fans that vent the air to the outside of the home, as opposed to filtering and recirculating it. They are common in both residential and commercial kitchens.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. So, in this article, we will cover what ducted range hoods are and how they work, so you can figure out if one is right for you.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on September 18th, 2021, to include additional information regarding ducted range hoods.

What is a ducted vent hood?

A ducted range hood also, known as a vent hood, is an excuse fan that exhausts air to the outside of the home via a duct. A ducted hood can be fitted through cabinetry, the ceiling, or the wall behind it. 

It’s important to note that, depending on the architecture of your kitchen, you may be limited in where the ducting may be installed. Make sure you have the space to run it from your range hood to the outside. If you have the necessary room, you can choose from a number of various venting configurations

Depending on the hood, the ducting may be horizontal or vertical. Island hoods must be vented through the ceiling, whereas wall hoods can be vented through either the wall or the ceiling.

How does a ducted range hood work?

A ducted range hood works by pulling in air from the kitchen and ventilating it to the outside of the home. This air can include smoke and grease particles. Some of these particles are passed through a series of filters before they make it into the ductwork.

How can I tell if my range hood is ductless?

Identifying whether you have a ducted range hood is easy. If your home has ductwork, odds are your hood is ducted. You can also tell by removing the filters from your range hood. if you see ductwork going for your hood into the abys, then your hood is ducted. Another way to tell is to check whether your hood blows any air back into the kitchen when it’s on. If it doesn’t, then it’s likely blowing air outside of your home.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a ducted range hood

Ducted range hoods offer a variety of benefits, however, there are some drawbacks you should consider. Below we will discuss the pros and cons of a ducted range hood.

Ducted range hood pros (benefits)

There are several advantages to using a ducted range hood, including:

  • Completely removes the smoke and grease from the home
  • Less grease on your walls, cabinets, and ceilings
  • Removes smelly kitchen odors
  • No need to replace charcoal filters
  • Keeps the kitchen and home cooler
  • Compatible with external blowers that significantly reduce notice

Completely removes the smoke and grease from the home

Unlike which simply recirculates the air back into your kitchen, a ducted range hood pulls smoke, oil, and undesired particles via ductwork and outside your home.

Less grease on your walls, cabinets, and ceilings

Your cabinets and surrounding area will stay cleaner for much longer than they would with a ductless hood now that all of the dirt and grime have been removed.

Removes smelly kitchen odors

Strong scents are also removed from your kitchen by ducted hoods, which is especially beneficial if you prepare Asian or fried foods.

No need to replace charcoal filters

You don’t need to buy charcoal filters on a regular basis, since ducted hoods use stainless steel baffle filters or mesh filters. Making ventilation hoods more cost-effective in the long term.

Keeps the kitchen and home cooler

The heat from your burners may quickly heat up the kitchen while cooking. A ducted range hood. Can quickly and efficiently vent this hot air outside your home, keeping your kitchen cool.

Compatible with external blowers that significantly reduce notice

Inline blowers are similar to local blowers (the blowers inside your hood), but they are installed inside your ductwork, which is located further from your kitchen. Resulting in a much quieter kitchen when running the hood. 

Ducted range hood cons (drawbacks)

Drawbacks of ducted range hoods include:

  • It is not possible in every kitchen
  • Ductwork is an extra expense

1. It is not possible in every kitchen

If you don’t have the room in your walls or ceilings for ducting, you’ll have to make room. That may involve making holes in walls, ceilings, and other areas of your home, which can be time-consuming, and very expensive!

2. Ductwork is an extra expense

Like I said if you don’t already have the ducting in place, configuring your kitchen for a ductless hood can be very expensive. And ductwork installation service fees will also need to be factored in your budget. 

Do range hoods have to be vented outside?

No, ductless range hoods do not need to vent outside. However, if you want to get the most out of your range hood, a ductless hood with proper ducting is strongly recommended. Even if it’s more expensive. A hood that vents to the outside of your home will completely remove smoke and smells from the kitchen. This greatly improves the quality of your indoor air and is helpful to your health and safety in the long run.

Is it possible to convert a top duct range hood to a rear one? 

This is not possible with an island range hood. Range hoods on islands can only vent through the ceiling.  It is not suggested to alter your range hood from a top duct to a rear duct if your ducting is already installed. This is a costly and time-consuming undertaking that requires the services of a skilled contractor. You should buy a range hood that conforms to your existing ductwork. 

How to install a ducted range hood.

Required Materials

  • Flexible Accordion duct with insulation
  • Hooked blade
  • Roof-mounted exhaust vent
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Caulk gun
  • Pry bar
  • Asphalt roof cement
  • Roofing nails

Installing a horizontal range hood

For those who choose to install their wall hood in a horizontal position, there are two choices.

Option number one involves the duct going horizontally from the hood to the exterior of the home

Option number two involves the duct going vertically towards the ceiling, then taking a sharp 90-degree angle towards the wall where it is then exhausted outside.

How to Installing a Vertical Range Hood

The diagram below shows you another option for venting your wall hood through the ceiling.

You may consider a vertical configuration that vents the exhaust straight into the ceiling and out to the roof, or to the addict and continuing to the roof to exhaust the air outside. 

If you are installing an island hood, you can only use a vertical configuration. 

Only use aluminum or galvanized steel

Only use aluminum or galvanized steel HVAC ducting. Avoid flexible plastic conduit. A range hood should last 10+ years, but a flex duct will not. The rigid duct is more durable than flexible plastic ducting by far. It’s your best bet Rigid duct systems also transport air more easily than flexible duct systems, allowing all that greasy kitchen air to escape.

Choose the proper size duct

For your duct system to function well, make sure that you choose the proper size duct. Duct size is determined by range hood CFM. If you have a 900 CFM hood, for example, you should not reduce the diameter of your duct below 8”. After properly installing the duct, glue it to your hood with aluminum tape.

1. Do not exhaust into an attic or any other enclosed location

If you only follow one tip, make it this one. Ventilate your range hood outside through the ceiling or wall.

Smoke, cooking exhaust, humidity, and pollutants shouldn’t accumulate in your attic. Instead, extend the duct to the exterior. This will properly eliminate the smokey greasy excuse.

Hot air rises, thus venting vertically via the roof is ideal. But this is optional. If you can’t vent directly above your hood, use a sidewall.

2. Use no more than two elbows in your ductwork

Use no more than two elbows in your ductwork. Fewer elbows, the better. Each elbow increases resistance to your duct system, making it difficult for air to be properly ventilated. A few elbows are not a big deal and it’s very common to need a few to navigate your walls. But use them sparingly and keep the smoothness of the airflow in mind as you plan the ventilation path. 

When adding elbows to your duct, try to   Reduce the length of your duct by 5′ at each elbow. For example, a 30′ straight run is about the same as a 20′ elbow run.  Make sure to provide at least 18 inches of the straight run before adding an elbow when building your ductwork.

Make that there is a straight length of the duct that is at least 24 inches long between each elbow.

3. Route your ducting to the outside of your house as quickly as possible

Orient your ducting to use the shortest run with the fewest elbows. So the unclean air has the least resistance and may easily exit your home.  Regardless of aesthetics, the shortest and straightest ductwork run maximizes power, efficiency, and longevity.

Use no more than 30′ ductwork. The greater the length of your duct, the greater the amount of resistance it has. If your duct is longer than 30′, even a powerful range hood will struggle to get the air outside.

5. Finish the duct run with a wall or roof cap.

A cap keeps dirt out of your ductwork. It also inhibits back-drafting, presenting external air entering your ducts.

Don’t forget to apply calk around the cap to completely seal it off. This secures the cap and prevents greasy kitchen air from escaping your duct system.

How to Install a Range Hood Vent Through the Wall

How far should a range hood protrude from the wall?

A range hood should protrude at least half the length of your kitchen range, although it usually does not go all the way out.

How much ductwork should I use?

Your range hood duct should not be longer than 30 feet for a straight run, 25 feet for a one-elbow run, and 20 feet for a two-elbow run. The conduit should be as short as possible. Your kitchen air may not reach the outside if your ducting is too long. This may result in backtracking.  Backdrafting occurs when air is trapped inside your duct and rushes back through your hood and into your kitchen.

Should I insulate my ducted range hood vents?

You can insulate your vent hood duct if you want to, but it’s not necessary. If your blower is in line with the ducting, insulating it will lessen the noise. Insulation may also help keep smoke and oily air out of your joists and attic.

Tips to consider

Tip 1: To avoid electrical hazards, turn off the electricity that is linked to the portion of the kitchen before starting anything in it. Handling electrical equipment with damp hands is likewise not a good idea.

Tip 2: Knowing what style of hood you already have or intend to buy can help you determine if you need a ducted vent or not.

Tip 3: To avoid electrical risks, check sure the socket into which your range hood vent is plugged is enough for its power requirements. Each outlet and cable’s power sufficient is generally labeled on them, so double-check.

Tip 4: Always verify your user manual or conduct research to ensure that installing the range hood vent yourself will not affect the manufacturer’s warranty.

Tip 5: Make sure the wires are separated and stripped.

Tip 6: Because you don’t want your roof to be filled with smoke, the ducts that pass through it must be air and watertight. (It will be expensive to hire an expert to repair this).

Tip 7: When it comes to ducting, we recommend using painted steel rather than plastic. This assures that there will be no leaks due to wear and tear.

Tip 8: When connecting wires, use wire nuts.

Tip 9: When venting your ducted vents, make sure you use plastic. This is due to the fact that plastics are typically lower grade. Use painted steel, galvanized steel, or metal ducting, if possible.

Tip ten: Avoid using plastic ducting or venting.

Tip 11: Use no more than 30 feet of ducting to ensure that the smoke leaves the duct readily and fast.

Tip 12: Insulate your ductwork to avoid problems with condensation or leaks.

Tip 13: It’s also a good idea to use HVAC tape to seal all of the seams.

Tip 14: To maximize airflow efficiency, don’t use too many elbows. In fact, it is recommended that you create at least 23 inches of straight vents before installing an elbow. In your ducting, no more than four 90-degree elbows should be used.


A ducted hood is the most efficient option.

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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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