If you are purchasing your first range hood, you might be exposed to some new terminology you might not be familiar with. Here is a resource we put together containing common terms related to range hoods and home ventilation.

ADA

The term “ADA compliant” refers to an appliances’ compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. These criteria have been set for persons who are unable to use equipment as it is normally installed. ADA-compliant appliances, for example, may include remote controls to make device use easier.

Amps

The word “amp” is short for “ampere.” It is a unit of measurement used to define measurements of electricity. An ampere is a measure of steady electricity flow. You can measure how strong an electric current is by how many “amps” it has (or how many “amperes” it has). 

Air pollutants

During the cooking process, unpleasant or harmful substances are released into the air, such as steam, smoke, odors, carbon monoxide, and grease. Range hoods eliminate airborne pollutants through a combination of filtering and extraction.

Ducted range hoods eliminate much of the air pollutants by filtering grease from the air and exhausting it to the outside of the home.

Ductless range hoods use carbon filters (in addition to grease filters) to remove odors and pollutants. The cleaned air is recirculated into the room.

Backdraft damper

A range hood backdraft damper is located within the ductwork of your range hood. Dampers let airflow in one direction and stop air from going the other way. This keeps debris out of your ductwork and range hood.

Backdraft dampers can be operated automatically by gravity or air pressure or by a motor that opens and closes the damper as needed. They can also be activated automatically when the range hood is turned on or off. The ability to automatically open and close a Backdraft damper when a hood is turned on is a special feature only available on premium reinsurance and with special installation. They also prevent backdrafting. See “backdrafting” for more information.

Backdrafting

Backdrafting happens when outside air enters your range hood duct and becomes trapped inside the duct. This air is then forced back into the kitchen, hence the term “backdrafting.”

Backsplash

A backsplash is a wall surface used to cover the part of the wall between a kitchen countertop and the upper cabinets, which is called the backsplash area.

When we cook, fat and oil splash up from your pots and pans and onto the walls of the kitchen where you’re cooking food. Over time, this cooking oil accumulates, forming a deposit and attracting dust and grime onto your walls and cabinets. A backsplash provides a safe and easy bleach cleanable surface to allow for oil and grease droplets to accumulate.

Backsplashes are typically chosen with both functions and design in mind. Backsplashes are commonly made of stainless steel because it is easy to clean and difficult to corrode. You may also find a backsplash made from tile, typically in a mosaic pattern.

Baffle filters

Baffle filters are contemporary range hood filters that help clean the air and collect grease. They can be found in stainless steel, galvanized steel, and aluminum. Most ducted range hoods include baffle filters.

Stainless steel baffle filters are among the most efficient filters available. They’re the best at removing oil, grease, and other impurities from your kitchen’s air. These filters feature alternating three-sided baffles that maximize air flow and filtering efficiency. When air hits the top baffles, it abruptly changes direction, collecting any unwanted pollutants on the bottom baffles of the filter.

Blower

The blower is the core of the range hood; it is the mechanism that pushes the air. Blowers consist of some protective housing, fan blades, and a motor. Blowers are designed to move air at a great rate of speed and pressure.

There are three types of blowers:

  • Internal blowers
  • Inline or remote blowers
  • External blowers

BTU

BTUs are a unit of measurement used to describe the heat output of stovetop burners on gas ranges and cooktops. The abbreviation BTU refers to the British Thermal Unit, which is a unit of heat energy. BTUs are technically the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water one degree Fahrenheit. In practice, BTUs signify the amount of heat that something can generate.

On ranges and cooktops, gas burners are branded with a BTU number, whereas electric range elements are measured in watts.

Canopy

Canopy references the area of a Ranger that sticks out to collect smoke, grease, and other contaminants from the kitchen.

Capture area

The area immediately above your range and below the range hood, where most of the smoke and grease buildup.

Carbon filter

Carbon filters are cartridges or cassettes that contain activated charcoal and are used to filter pollutants from the air. They are used in ductless range hoods to remove additional impurities after grease filters have absorbed airborne grease. Charcoal filters are neither washable nor cleanable and should be changed every few months (depending on the amount of cooking).

Centrifugal blower

A centrifugal blower, also known as a squirrel cage blower, is the most common type of blower inside a range hood. It is used to move smoke and air out of your kitchen.

CFH

Range hood power is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). However, sometimes you’ll see cubic feet per hour (CFH) or cubic feet per second (CFS) on other kitchen appliances. Compared to a CFM measurement, this will be a far greater figure.

An example of equipment measured in cubic feet per hour is a gas line. Because gas is being carried rather than air, this value is typically fairly low, particularly in residential applications. Residential safety is ensured by a set of strict codes and standards that must be followed. A common home gas line runs at a rate of a few hundred cubic feet per hour (CFH).

CFM

CFM is an abbreviation for cubic feet per minute. CFM measures the amount of air a fan can move in one minute. CFM is typically associated with home ventilation, i.e., range hoods.

You may find residential range hoods between 400 and 2,000 CFM. Commercial hoods can move up to 5000 CFM. A higher CFM will lead to faster removal of smoke and steam from your home.

In addition, you may likely find CFM rates for high-performance specialty equipment. Some high-volume cleaning services will utilize machines that can pump out 20,000 CFM to properly clean commercial air ducts.

Charcoal filter

A type of range hood filter; also called a carbon filter. See “carbon filter.”

Chimney

A chimney is the section of the hood that extends upward from the hood body. Most range hoods include height-adjustable chimneys, enabling them to be fitted under a variety of ceiling heights. The chimney on island-mount hoods is made up of two basic components: the outward polished stainless steel “cover” and the inner load-bearing “structural element” (framework). 

While the chimney is not generally load-bearing on wall-mount hoods, it serves a vital purpose of concealing the duct, mounting brackets, electrical outlet, and other components.

Chimney extension

A chimney extension is used where the duck covers that came with the range hood are not tall enough to cover the full length of the ductwork, which typically happens when your range of ceiling is very high. Chimney extensions that mount over and cover the ductwork of your range hood.

Chimney cover

A chimney extension is an additional chimney accessory for a range hood that attaches to the existing chimney or directly to the range hood, concealing your ductwork.

Circulating

This term implies that the air is not ventilated outside of the home but recirculated back inside. See “ductless.”

Convertible kit

An accessory that allows you to convert your hood from ducted to ductless. See recirculating kit.

Convertible range hood

A convertible range hood is one that is capable of being switched from ducted to ductless operation. Typically, they are ducted hoods that may be changed to ductless with the addition of a recirculating kit.

Copper

Copper is a base metal typically used in the construction of a custom insert range hood canopy. These custom canopies are often very expensive. However, they provide a beautiful shining glow to the kitchens and are stunning to look at. Copper range hoods are extremely durable and have a classic yet modern aesthetic that becomes increasingly unique over time.

Crown molding

Curved glass rangehood (style)

A curved glass range hood is a kitchen exhaust hood that has a tempered glass canopy, typically curved.

Damper

Same as a backdraft damper. See “backdraft damper.”

Delayed shut-off (feature)

Some range hoods have an auto shut-off feature, which will turn off the range hood (the blower and the lights) after a 15-minute timer. As soon as you’re done cooking, push the timer button. The hood will scrub the odors and then turn itself off.

Downdraft range hood

A downdraft range hood is a modern type of range hood that sucks air downward instead of upward. Unlike other range hoods, downdraft hoods are usually retractable and can be hidden from sight when not in use. 

Down-slope (style)

A downslope range hood is a style of hood, typically found on a wall-mount and under-cabinet range hood. Their main feature is a downward sloping canopy. These hoods are typically made from stainless steel. A down slopestyle range hood should not be confused with a pyramid-style range hood. They both have a slope, however, a downslope style hood slopes down for the full width of the range hood. A pyramid-style Hood funnels up words.

Duct

Ducts are the pipes or tubes that are used to trans for air in and out of the home. Kitchen ventilation ductwork is typically made of galvanized steel.

Ductwork

The system of ducts (metal or synthetic tubes) used to transfer air from heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment throughout your house is referred to as ductwork. Air ducts that are properly built and maintained are an important component of indoor air quality and house comfort.

Depending on the architecture of your kitchen, you may be limited in where the ductwork can be installed.

Ducted

A ducted range hood, also known as a ventilating range hood, is a kitchen exhaust hood that removes air from your kitchen to the outside of the home via the home’s ductwork. A ducted hood can be fitted through cabinetry, the ceiling, or the wall behind it. 

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.

Ducted range hoods can also keep your kitchen cool by removing hot air, and in some cases, replacing it with cool air through the use of a makeup air kit.

Ductless

A ductless range hood is a type of range hood that does not require external ventilation or ductwork. They typically have mesh filters or carbon filters that are used to clean and recycle the air in your kitchen. A ductless range hood may be installed anywhere, which can save you money. It’s also more convenient if you’re renting and consumes less energy since the fan does not have to blow as hard.

Because they only recirculate air, ductless range hoods can not remove excess heat and moisture from your kitchen.

Electric rage

An electric range is a cooking top that uses electricity as its main power source. It uses electricity to rapidly heat up metal coils, providing a hop cooking surface for pots and pans.

External blower

External blowers refer to a blower that’s located outside of the home. Blowers like these are most typically found on the roof. They are generally more expensive to install than local or inline blowers, but your kitchen will be far quieter. You might not hear the hood at all while it’s on

Fan

A fan is a component of the range hood blower. The fan spins at high speeds to pull in. The fan is made up of several fan blades. These blades can accumulate oil, grease, and grime over time. Residential range hood fan blades are typically made of plastic.

Filter

A range hood filter is an attachment that fits inside your range hood to filter out or collect grease, dust, smoke, and other impurities from the air above your range or stove. Range hood filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Below are some of the three most common types of filters.

  • Baffle filters
  • Aluminum mesh filters
  • Carbon or charcoal filters

Fire suppression system

Flat top (style)

A flat-top range hood is a style of range hood that is horizontal as opposed to a pyramid-shaped or a sloping shape. They’re most common in Island range hoods.

Galvanized steel

Galvanized steel is a metal that has gone through the galvanization process to help prevent rust. The galvanization process is the process of adding a thin coat of zinc to different types of metals. Different methods are used to galvanize metal, including pre-galvanizing, electro-galvanizing, and hot dipping.

Gas range

A gas range is a cooking top that uses gas as the fuel source.

Grease

Grease is one of the pollutants released into the air as a result of cooking. It can combine with other substances to form a sticky film on kitchen surfaces, which can cause damage to cabinetry by attracting mold and fungi growth. Grease, oils, and fats may produce enormous buildups/blockages in any disposal system, resulting in extended kitchen downtime and costly repairs. Grease traps and filters are used in range hoods to temporarily trap and safely remove grease from your kitchen.

Grease fire

Grease fires are caused by cooking oil that has become too hot and starts to smoke, then ignites. Vegetable oils catch fire at around 450 Fahrenheit. Animal fats catch fire at around 375 Fahrenheit. It doesn’t take long for them both to reach these temperatures. Grease fires are very easy to start and can spread quickly.

Grease traps

A grease trap is a small, rectangular (steel or plastic) tray that goes inside your range hood. The main goal of the grease trap is to keep grease, fats, oils, and other solids from clogging the ventilation system and to provide a safe area for grease to gather. Grease, oils, and fats can produce a lot of buildups resulting in costly repairs.

Not all range hoods have grease traps.

Halogen lights

Halogen lights are a type of light bulb. They are similar to regular glass light bulbs. They were very popular in kitchen range hoods. However, since the Advent implementation of led lights, halogen lights are much harder to find in contemporary hoods.

Heat-lamps

Heat lamps are essentially light bulbs That are together very hot in order to keep the food under them warm. Some range hoods offer heat lamps as a Built-in feature. However, these are hard to find in contemporary range hoods.

Inline blower

An inline blower, also known as an inline blower motor, inline fan, or remote blower, is a blower that is located within your ductwork, between the range hood and the ductwork’s termination. They’ll generate less power but will be far quieter.

Inline blower motors are an excellent choice if you often entertain visitors in your kitchen or if you like socializing with friends and family and want a quiet kitchen while the range hood is operational. 

Insert range hood

A range hood insert is a type of range hood that is meant to be hidden and unseen, covered with a decorative cover, typically wood or copper.

Island range hood

An island range hood is a type of range hood that is installed in the middle of the kitchen on the ceiling. An island hood needs to be much larger than the range below because it does not have the aid of a wall to help funnel air into the filters. Island range hoods provide a modern look and are typically found in a flat-top design.

LED lights

LED is an abbreviation for light-emitting diode. LED lighting devices are up to 90% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs, and they last much longer too. Most modern range hoods come with LED lights.

Local blower

A local blower, also known as an internal blower, is a blower located directly within your range hood. Because this blower is closer to the filters and the cooking area, it will extract more impurities from the kitchen air. However, due to the blower being located inside the range hood unit, they are perceived as louder than a remote or external blower.

Mesh filter

Mesh filters are range hood filters that clean the air in your kitchen by trapping grease from the air. They are often made of thin aluminum or stainless steel and can often be found in a honeycomb pattern.

Microwave range hoods

A microwave range hood combines the functionality of a microwave with the advantages of a range hood. A microwave hood is a helpful space-saving appliance since it frees up space on kitchen countertops. Microwave hoods are sometimes called OTR (over the range) range hoods. These hoods are almost always recirculating (ductless) as opposed to ventilating (ducted). This makes them ideal for apartments and condos. 

Motor

Motor and blower are sometimes used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. A motor is an electrical component That is housed inside of the blower and provides power. Range hoods typically have a single motor. High-powered hoods may have two or three motors. Also, see “blower.”

Mounting brackets

The load-bearing from which the range hood hangs. It’s also typically accompanied by a chimney cover for concealment.

Mounting height

Mounting height is the distance between the range hood and the cooking surface. Range hoods should be placed 28′′ to 32′′ above the cooktop or range for optimal performance.

Oil

Cooking oil is a liquid fat derived from plants, animals, or synthetic sources that are used in frying, baking, and other forms of cooking. 

Every time you cook, fat and oil splash up from your pots and pans and onto the walls of the kitchen where you’re cooking food. Over time, this cooking oil accumulates, forming a deposit and attracting dust and grime onto your walls and cabinets.

OTR (over-the-range)

OTR stands for over the range and refers to a microwave range hood combo. See “microwave range hood.”

Pyramid (style)

Pyramid-style range hoods are those whose canopy is shaped like a pyramid. This should not be confused with downslope hoods.

Range

A kitchen range, commonly known as a stove, is a traditional cooking appliance found in the majority of American kitchens. It combines the functionality of an oven for baking, roasting, and broiling with that of a stovetop/cooktop for boiling, searing, and sauteing.

While a range and stove are very similar, a range is typically used in reference to a high-quality, high-powered, expensive gas stove.

Ranges are available in a variety of sizes and types. There are two types of ranges:

  • Gas Range
  • Electric Range

Range hood

Range hoods (sometimes referred to as vent hoods, exhaust hoods, or kitchen hoods) are kitchen appliances that filter grease, smoke, and other undesirable airborne contaminants in your kitchen through a filtering system or to the outside of your home.

Range hoods come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The majority of range hoods are powered by a single motor; some higher-end models feature two or three. These blower motors collect fumes and cooking exhaust from above your cooktop and exhaust it outside your home via ducting (or through charcoal filters with ductless models).

Recirculating

Recirculating refers to air going into the range hood, passing through a filter, and being re-released back into the home. See “ductless.”

Recirculating kit

A recirculating kit, sometimes called a convertible kit, is an attachment or accessory that can be applied to a ventilating or ducted range hood in order to allow it to function without the use of ductwork.

Remote blower

Another term for inline blower. See “inline blower.”

Smoke

Smoke is made up of microscopic solid, liquid, and gas particles. While smoke contains hundreds of different compounds and glasses, visible smoke is mostly composed of carbon (soot), tar, oils, and ash.

Smoke is produced when incomplete combustion occurs (not enough oxygen to burn the fuel completely). Everything is consumed in full combustion, leaving just water and carbon dioxide. Incomplete combustion happens when not all of the fuel is consumed. Smoke is a haze made up of these unburned particles. 

Soffit

Your roof will often extend beyond the walls of your house. This overhang is sometimes referred to as the house eaves or roof rafters. When completed, the bottom of this overhang is referred to as the soffit. Soffit is a general term that refers to any kind of finishing material, such as wood or fiber cement, that is used to cover the underside of your roof overhang.

Sones

A sone is a globally accepted unit of measurement for loudness. A range hood’s noise level is measured in sones. When the number of sones in a sound is doubled, the volume of the sound is likewise doubled (i.e., if a unit produces two zones of noise and another unit produces four sones, the second unit is twice as noisy as the first).

Squirrel cage blower

This is a type of range hood blower. See “centrifugal” blower.

Stainless steel (material) 

Stainless steel is the most commonly used material for building range hoods due to its modern look and high resistance to corrosion. Stainless steel is the “green material” par excellence since it is completely and infinitely recyclable. In fact, the actual recovery rate in the construction industry is close to 100%, making it environmentally friendly. Stainless steel is aesthetically pleasing, hygienic, easy to maintain, and highly durable.

Steam

Steam is vaporized water produced during the cooking process. Steam can transport various types of pollutants and can wreak havoc on kitchen cabinets by condensing on surfaces and promoting mold and fungal development.

Telescopic

Telescopic is a term used to describe the expanding and contracting feature commonly found in range hood chimney extensions. Telescopic chimney extensions allow adjustability when installing a range hood or covering a duct.

Tempered glass

Tempered glass is glass that has been strengthened by a tempered procedure. In comparison to ordinary glass, tempered glass is incredibly difficult to shatter. Once tempered, it is almost hard to cut or change the glass panel – this is why mounting holes and beveled edges are cut at the manufacturer prior to the tempering process.

Tempered glass sometimes has a light green tinge owing to the chemical changes that occur during the annealing process (same as other forms of tempered glass, such as auto glass or security glass).

Under-cabinet range hood

Under-cabinet range hoods are one of the most frequently installed kitchen range hoods. They are fitted under the base of a wall cabinet, with the ducting concealed inside a cabinet.

Updraft

Updraft refers to the method of ventilating air in a kitchen. Updraft systems draw steam, oil, smoke, and vapors upward from the stove towards the ceiling. The range hood canopy and blower are responsible for taking the ascending impurities and ensuring they get sucked into the range hood.

Vent cap

Vented / ventilating

The term vented or ventilating is in reference to air being expelled from the kitchen or home. Same as ducted, see “ducted.”

Ventless 

Ventless implies that air is not ventilated to the outside. Same as ductless or recirculating. See “ductless.” 

Wall-mount range hood

Wall-mount range hoods are some of the most popular range hoods. These sorts of vent hoods are firmly fixed against a kitchen wall. Not many kitchens have enough space for these kinds of range hoods because they require a large open area above the stove to connect to the air duct, and many kitchens have cabinets over their ranges.

Watts

Watt is the electrical unit for measuring the rate of energy generation or consumption. A watt is a small amount of energy. Small devices’ power consumption is normally measured in watts, while bigger devices’ power consumption is measured in kilowatts (kW). One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts.

A range hood consumes approximately 105 watts of electricity. They are available in power ratings ranging from 65 to 300 watts. Due to their size and greater extraction rate, large range hoods will draw closer to 300 watts.