Dirty Secrets: Unventilated Kitchens

Is your kitchen vented, or just pretending?

Kitchen ventilation via range hoods and over the range microwaves is fairly ubiquitous in American homes. I run into them in nearly every home I have shown during my years in real estate. Our home air quality would be in good shape if they properly vented, but the majority of homes I encounter with kitchen exhaust fans, lack an actual vent to the outside.  In these cases, the fans are simply recirculating the dirty air from your gas stove or food back into the room, and usually right in your face.  

Luckily, properly venting can be a simple project.  If your range hood is located on an exterior wall, venting outside through the wall will be an easy and affordable project.  However, if your range hood is far from an exterior wall, needs to go through a roof, or requires removing & repairing sheetrock, the price will be higher. This was our situation when needing to add exterior ventilation to our basement kitchen.  However, the true cost is the negative impact to the air you’re breathing in your home.  

 If you’re curious to see how your home’s are quality is impacted while cooking, check out home monitors by Awair or Airthings.  We have both in our home, and have found them informative in their constant monitoring, helping us understand how activities impact our home health, and what we can do to improve.

Check out our experience in this longer story over at Green Builder Media.