Which is better: A downdraft or an updraft exhaust system? Karl Lohnes reveals which one is the best option for your kitchen.
Q: WE’RE RENOVATING OUR KITCHEN AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO INSTALL A NEW VENTILATION SYSTEM. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RANGE HOODS AND DOWNDRAFT EXHAUSTS? — S.T., VANCOUVER
A: Both options have their own benefits. A downdraft system pulls cooking odours, steam and excess heat through a vent—which rises out of the cooktop itself—and into a vent pipe, usually installed under the kitchen floor. It’s a great option when overhead venting isn’t practical: when the cooktop is on an island, or the space above the stove is needed for cabinetry. Just make sure the unit provides suction up to 10 inches above the cooktop surface for when you’re cooking with tall stockpots.
That’s not as much of a concern with overhead range hoods, since heat naturally rises on its own. Esthetically, overhead vents lend the look of a commercial kitchen and can help break up a long row of cabinets. What’s more, most hoods provide built-in lighting—a valuable bonus, as you can never have too much task lighting in the kitchen.