Kitchen Ventilation Regulations

Written by sienna condy
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Kitchen Ventilation Regulations
In most places, a kitchen hood is required. (violet kitchen image by Vasyl Dudenko from Fotolia.com)

If you're thinking about remodelling your kitchen or are in the middle of remodelling one, you need to know the kitchen ventilation regulations for your area. Although there are basic guidelines issued through the National Kitchen and Bath Association for kitchen ventilation which builders and remodelers follow, actual kitchen ventilation regulations and requirements vary by location, so be sure to check your state and city building codes before you leave something out.

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Standard Room Ventilation

Before you begin worrying about kitchen ventilation specifics, make sure your kitchen is ventilated properly through your whole house continuous ventilation system. The amount of continuous ventilation required in a house is based on both the size of the house and the number of people inside, according to the Home Ventilating Institute. The amount of air flow needed in a home is measured in cfm, or cubic feet per minute. To figure out how much continuous ventilation you need in your home, add 1 cfm for every 100 square feet in your house. A house with 1,600 square feet would account for 16 cfm. Then count the number of bedrooms in your home. Add one for the likely second person in the master bedroom, and multiple it by 7.5 cfm. A three-bedroom home with four people requires an additional 30 cfm. Finally, add the two together numbers together. The example home would need 46 cfm of continuous ventilation.

Kitchen Hood Requirements

Most state laws and building codes require that you have a kitchen or range hood over the cooktop in your kitchen. You can install a hood in a wide variety of styles from a simple under the cabinet hurricane hood to a more contemporary freestanding style. According to the Home Ventilating Institute, kitchen hoods should ventilate or move at least 100 cfm of air, but 150 cfm is recommended, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. But beware, higher cfm isn't always better. Too many cfm or too much ventilation from a kitchen fan or exhaust system can cause other appliances in your home, like your chimney or water heater to backdraught, creating the potential for air to become poisoned with carbon monoxide, according to Home Energy Magazine.

Kitchen Ventilation Problems

If you're remodelling your home, check to see where your kitchen ventilation is going. In all cases, you want to ventilate kitchen exhaust systems and other ventilation units to the outside. In the past, kitchen ventilation systems were often ventilated into the attic or some other area of the home, but this creates a potential hazard in the home. A kitchen hood ventilated to an attic space can cause heat to build up in the attic, and if there's also already grease built up, due to constant cooktop ventilation to the space, the heat can cause a grease fire.

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