Choosing and Installing an Extractor Hood

Fitting an extractor hood over your cooker will keep your kitchen cleaner, dryer and prevent smells from escaping to the rest of the house. If you don’t have one, the steam and airborne grease particles from cooking will stick to the walls, cupboards and ceiling, particularly in the immediate vicinity of the cooker.

There are two main types and a number of different styles of cooker hood. The first type vents to the outside and therefore needs to be mounted against an outside wall, or have ducting to the outside. The second type is a self contained unit with a charcoal filter. The air goes in at the bottom and out at the top, with the filter taking the nasties out on the way.

Self-Contained Extractor Hoods

This second type is cheaper and easier to fix and we’ll tackle those first. They are usually housed in stainless steel cowls but can also be hidden behind a cupboard door which matches the run of cupboards on that wall. The door is lifted up when the hood is needed, often automatically switching it on.

These units usually come with lights to directly illuminate the hob area too. Fitting is usually very easy, they will come with templates for drilling the fixing holes in the wall and they just screw into place. An electrical supply will need to be connected by an electrician, unless it is a low rated unit that can be plugged into a 13amp socket.

Externally Vented Hoods

The main snag with these is that the filter will need replacing or washing more often and they don’t really get rid of steam and smells as well as externally vented extractor hoods. These are usually larger and fixed to the wall or, for a hob that’s set into an island unit, will be at the bottom of a chimney suspended from the ceiling.

For an externally vented hood attached to a wall you will have the additional job of drilling a hole through the wall and fitting a cover on the outside. You may also need a separate power supply, depending on the electrical rating of the hood and fan. Again these nearly always come with lights as well as the fan.

Siting Fans Away from the Cooker

One major advantage of this type of cooker hood is that the fan can be sited near the outside wall, rather than above the cooker, as is the case with the self-contained units. This makes them significantly quieter simply because the fan is that little bit further away.

You will definitely need ducting if you have a chimney hood over an island, but if have the space you might be able to hide it in the ceiling. This depends on the space in between the floor and the ceiling and whether the joist direction allows the ducting to go in the necessary direction. We cover ducting for fans in kitchens and bathrooms in a separate article.

Fitting Heights

There are some restrictions on placement to avoid fire and these apply to both types of extractor hoof. There should be at least 75cms above a gas hob and 65cm over an electric hob. But, particularly if you are tall, it’s worth mounting them higher up to avoid clonking heads with the protruding edge of the hood.

So take a look at the layout of your kitchen, and your budget, and fit the extractor hood that will do the right job for you.