Dear James: I seldom use my old noisy range hood. I thought about making a new one from decorative wood myself. Does this make sense or should I buy a standard metal one? — Kent F.
Dear Kent: People often don’t realize how important it is to use a range hood when cooking. Odors are the least of the concerns. Without at range hood running, vaporized grease eventually will coat the kitchen walls. During the summer, the heat and moisture from cooking also makes your air conditioner run harder.
Although range hoods are fairly simple devices with a fan and a light, their interiors have special details which it would be difficult for you to duplicate. The screens and air flow passages inside the range hood are designed to capture and condense grease vapors before they build up in the duct to the outdoors. A grease-filled duct may become a fire hazard.
There are many very decorative designs of stock range hoods available to complement any kitchen decor. Most home center stores carry good-quality attractive models for between $100 and $200. They are also much quieter than your old one. Some very ornate range hoods can cost as much as $2,000. Some even have built-in automatic fire extinguishers to put out a grease fire.
The first step in replacing an old range hood yourself is to switch off the electric power at the circuit breaker box. Turn the range hood on. You will know you switched the proper circuit breaker when it stops running. Test the wires with a circuit tester just to double check the power is off to the range hood.
Remove the old range hood and measure the location of the duct opening, the electrical wiring to it and any other items or cabinet protrusions which need to be avoided. You should have a helper during this step to support the range hood while you loosen the mounting screws. Take a photo of the cabinet area with the range hood removed and take it to the home center with you.
When selecting your new range hood, look for ones with a height so the bottom surface will be between 24 and 30 inches above the range top. It would be ideal if it extends about three inches over the front edge of the range. The new range hood width you get will be determined by the space between your cabinets. Most range hoods have selectable duct openings at the top and back. Open the required duct and electrical knockout holes.
With your helper supporting the range hood, mark the locations of its keyhole mounting holes on the wall. The mounting screws are usually included with the range hood. Remove the range hood and drive the mounting screws about half way into the wall. Place the range hood back over the screws to make sure they are properly located.
Push the range hood tightly against the wall and check for any large unattractive gaps between it and the cabinets. You may have to remove it again and nail up some thin trim strips for a good fit. With the range hood loosely mounted, attach the wiring to it and test to make sure it works. Securely tighten the mounting screws.
Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
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