A range hood is a ventilation system designed to remove grease from cooking oil or other foodstuffs.
The hood is usually installed over a kitchen sink and has motorized exhaust fans that pull air through ductwork and out into open air outside of the room. Certain hoods have a specific exhaust air rate, and certain states require certain rates.
Thus, a good range hood is generally essential in any fully-equipped kitchen. A hood helps to keep excessive smoke, steam, and airborne grease from filling up your kitchen as you cook amazing foods.
But, as useful as hoods are, many choose to operate their kitchens without them at all, and this is definitely entirely possible. However, is it actually legal to operate an oven or stove without a hood? Are they required by code?
If these questions are slowly stewing in your brain and filling you with anxiety, then worry no longer, because we are about to go through everything you need to know about what you need from your range hood to be compliant with any local laws!
Is A Range Hood Required By Code?
There is not currently any kind of code or law that exists that requires that a hood be installed in a kitchen above an oven or stovetop on an international level, and nor is there a definitive list of requirements for these hoods.
However, there are individual laws and codes that can be found within individual states. Certain states will require that a hood be installed, as it helps to mitigate any kind of fire risk.
Many apartment buildings are required to have exhaust hood systems thanks to building codes that seek to reduce fire risks.
However, though it is generally possible to operate a modern kitchen without needing to install a hood, you should really aim to ensure that you do have one.
Why Should You Have A Range Hood?
Range Hoods Keep Your Vision Unobscured As You Cook
Of course, the greatest reason that you should aim to have a hood is to keep your kitchen running efficiently while you cook. Heating up food inevitably creates by-products such as smoke and steam.
These can billow up from the food you are cooking, and obscure your vision.
It could also impair your breathing if it were to be released in quick amounts, which can happen very easily if you are cooking spicy foods, as those can release similarly spicy smokes and gasses.
This also helps to prevent that awkward situation of your fire alarm going off, which can be truly troublesome if you live within an apartment complex.
Extracting small food particles also prevents the build-up of cooking odors.
Range Hoods Help To Keep Your Kitchen Clean
Range hoods also help to keep your kitchen tidy and clean. Whenever you cook up exotic or exciting dishes on your stovetop, small micrograms of grease will be released into the air in the kitchen.
These will then find themselves sticking to your walls, and slowly collecting until the walls surrounding your stove become grimy and sticky.
Using a range hood will cause these small particles to be extracted and sent out of the house so that they do not find themselves making a permanent home on your walls.
This saves you the trouble of having to wipe down your walls every few months, which also helps to keep them looking new and fresh for many more years to come, by keeping airborne dirt and grime to an acceptable level.
Range Hoods Can Keep You Safe
As we mentioned, cooking certain foods can sometimes create a lot of smoke, which can occasionally prove to be very dangerous.
A hood ensures that those smokes are quickly sent away from your home so that they don't end up causing you to go into a coughing fit as they can very quickly fill up any habitable space or clearance space within your kitchen.
Range hoods also help to prevent the build-up of bacteria and mold within your kitchen.
As we mentioned, range hoods can send small particles of oil, grease, and steam out of the kitchen, which prevents them from congregating on walls. When these things do congregate on walls, they can harbor bacteria, viruses, and mold.
What States Require Range Hoods To Be Installed?
There are a fair number of states across the United States that do require that range hoods be operating wherever possible. These include states such as New York and California.
In these states, there are many areas that are densely populated, including massive apartment complexes. Thus, range hoods are required in order to prevent any fires from developing and to effectively disperse smoke away from the building.
These such states also require that the air meet a specific ventilation rate and minimum airflow rate to keep smoke from building up.
In states such as Texas and Florida, it is required that most range hoods operate with a wall duct, especially within commercial environments such as restaurants.
Range hoods that use flex ducts are built to extract smoke, grease particles, and steam and then pump those things outside of the building. In these states, it is not allowed for the range hoods to simply vent these things into an attic or crawl space.
Finally, in certain states such as Ontario, range hoods are not entirely required in single-story homes. If the home is a multi-story home, however, it is recommended to speak to an architect or a home-design professional to see whether you should aim to have ventilation installed into your home.
Ductless range hoods may also be accepted in multi-story homes.
What Can You Do If You Do Not Have A Range Hood?
If you do not have access to a range hood, and you find that a lot of smoke or steam is being created by your cooking appliance, you should aim to open as many doors or windows as possible.
This will allow smoke-filled air to leave the premises quickly and safely. This helps to prevent potentially-dangerous smoke buildups.
This can be a great solution if you find that most hoods have too high a noise level.
So, though it may not be written in any international code that a kitchen must have a range hood, some states may very well require it.
Thus, you should make a point of checking the local laws in your jurisdiction so that you always know whether or not you need a range hood in your kitchen.
Range hoods help to make the cooking process much easier, simpler, and far safer.
They keep your kitchen from being overloaded with smoke or steam and also help to keep your walls from accumulating dirt and grime caused by small particles of grease being released into the atmosphere as you cook.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Vent My Stove Without A Hood?
One of the best alternative methods to keep your stove vented without a hood is to open up any windows within your kitchen, this is a great form of natural ventilation.
This allows plenty of fresh air to flow in, which also keeps smoke and steam from building up and sticking within the home. You can also use fans to help push the air towards an open window for even more efficient venting.
What Can You Cook Without A Hood Vent?
You can still very easily bake and roast certain foods in an oven even without a hood, as these will produce very little smoke.
Do I Need A Hood Over My Electric Stove?
Though many areas around the United States do not require that you have a hood over your electric stove, you should still aim to have one.
Even electric stoves can produce a lot of heat, and thus can also create a heavy amount of smoke and steam. Hoods also help to keep cooking odors from accumulating within your kitchen and help to free the air of odors that can quickly become disgusting.