Below is a guide to key info you may need to consider when choosing your extractor fan. We will cover the main topics that are relevant for a customer making an informed choice. Extractors come in many different shapes and forms and the extractor you choose will often just come down to looks but it also has an important role in the kitchen.
- Ducted or Recirculation – Sometimes it is not possible to duct out the air flow from an extractor and you may have to choose a filtered extractor. This type of extractor is still effective for removing odours but is traditionally not as good as a ducted extractor. Humidity and condensation around your cooking area may still be an issue if you choose a filtered extractor. Structural factors in your Kitchen may dictate which type of extractor you are able to go for.
- Ducting Sizes – Many Extractor manufacturers recommend 6inch (150mm) ducting and where possible we will fit 6inch ducting however if the ducting needs to run along the top of your wall units in order to reach an outside wall then we will often reduce the ducting to 5inch for cosmetic reasons. Most people do not want the ducting to be visible above their units and 6 inch ducting can be unsightly. The consequences of reducing the ducting to 5inch is the fan may become nosier as the internal fan has to work harder to expel the air. Some manufacturers will even go as far as advising against 5 inch ducting or less and will void the fans warranty should the wrong diameter be installed. If 6 inch ducting is required Starplan can box in the ducting to hide it and the customer can then decorate to suit. This will be an additional charge at the time of purchase.
- Decibels – The noise levels of an extractor hood can be critical depending on how you use your kitchen. For some the kitchen is a completely separate room in the house and is for cooking only. Some houses may incorporate a dinning or seating area within the kitchen. These factors should be taking into account when buying any extractor or any appliance that makes a noise. Like any product you get what you pay for and the quietest extractors are often most expensive. All fans have a decibel (db) rating that helps you compare models. Filtered fans are often louder than vented fans and fans vented out using a smaller diameter ducting may be louder than the manufacturers rating. The size of your kitchen can also play a part in how loud a fan may sound. The length of the ducting and number of bends can also have an impact on how loud a fan may sound.
- Flow extraction rates – Manufacturers of extractors will often provide an airflow rating (m3/h). Many manufacturers sign up to a European standard. This flow rate is to help you make an educated choice as to what fan you should purchase. Again the more expensive the fan then usually the better the flow rate. There are many online calculates that will help you work out the size/volume of your kitchen and therefore how much extraction you will need from an extractor fan. See example calculation.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT EXTRACTOR
USE – Extractors are designed to remove grease, odours and vapours. To achieve the best result when using which ever extractor you choose, we recommend switching on the extractor 10 minutes before cooking and to leave it running 15 minutes after you have finished. This will ensure that the air in the kitchen is being circulated before cooking commences and the air continues to be cleaned for a short while after, giving you the best results.
MOISTURE – A large amount of water is used when cooking food such as rice, pasta or soup on the hob. Water boils at a temperature of approx. 100oC and then releases a large amount of steam. This releases approximately 1.5 litres of moisture into the kitchen over the course of a day. Once the air in the room is saturated with water vapour, the steam condenses on walls, windows and furniture. If this moisture remains in the room, it can lead to excess humidity and therefore to the formation of mould, structural damage and swollen, distorted wood (kitchen fittings), as well as creating an unpleasant and unhealthy room climate. In energy-efficient houses, it is particularly important to provide an efficient means of removing moisture in order to promote a pleasant room climate and prevent the formation of mould. Excess moisture can only be removed through adequate and correct ventilation. It is important that the moisture is removed at the point and time of origin. Preferably through a cooker hood in extraction mode (If permissible), a permanent ventilation system or intensive airing after cooking. Most people find relative atmosphere humidity of between 40% and 60% to be pleasant. The level at which the air feels “too dry” or “too humid” is also determined by the room temperature. It is recommended to have a window open during cooking especially when pots are boiling.
OPERATING MODE – A cooker hood draws in the vapours from the hob, filters them and releases the filtered air either to the outside atmosphere (extraction mode) or back into the kitchen (recirculation mode). Whilst extraction mode is by far the more effective, the choice of modes depends on many factors.
TIP – To reduce the amount of steam during cooking always recommend reducing to simmer once boil is achieved. Always use lids on pots and pans, this increases pressure and saves energy.