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Kitchen Exhaust Fan

Installed correctly, kitchen exhaust fans help ensure moisture, cooking odors, and fumes are effectively removed for a healthier indoor environment.

Preparation
Kitchen fans operated intermittently shall have a minimum flow rate of 100 cfm (cubic feet per minute) and fans operated continuously shall have a minimum flow rate of 25 cfm and provide ≥ 5 ACH (air changes per hour) based on kitchen volume.
The maximum flow rate shall be determined in accordance with Home Ventilation Institute guidelines: https://www.hvi.org/publications/HowMuchVent.cfm. Consider a two-speed or multi-speed fan for best performance.
The range-hood exhaust fan selected shall be ENERGY STAR certified.
If connecting the new fan to an existing exhaust duct, the existing duct shall be checked relative to the fan manufacturer’s installation instructions to ensure it is large enough for the new fan.
The exhaust duct shall be made of rigid metal (e.g., galvanized steel, stainless steel, or copper), have a smooth interior surface, be equipped with a back-draft damper, meet the maximum length guidelines specified in the IRC (2015 IRC Table M1506.2), and meet the minimum diameter or dimension guidelines specified in the fan manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Installation
The kitchen exhaust fan shall be installed to vent outdoors, not into an attic, crawlspace, or space between floors.
The exhaust duct outlet vent shall be located on the exterior of the home in a location where it does not direct air flow onto a walkway. It should be situated at least 10 feet from any air inlet, except where the exhaust outlet is located at least three feet above the air inlet.
The outside termination of the exhaust duct shall be covered with louvers, a screen, or a grille.
The exhaust duct shall be installed with the most direct route to the outside with as few bends as possible.
All exhaust duct seams and connections shall be sealed with mastic or UL 181 tape.
All ceiling and wall or roof penetrations shall be sealed with spray foam with exterior surfaces flashed as needed for full weather protection.
The exhaust fan flow rate shall be measured using a flow hood, flow grid, or anemometer, in accordance with test procedures listed in ANSI/RESNET/ICC 380-2016. Adjustments shall be made to ensure the fan is providing the minimum flow rates specified above.
Any installed exhaust fan operating in excess of 400 cfm shall be provided with a makeup air system that will automatically start and operate simultaneously with the exhaust fan and will provide makeup air at a rate approximately equal to the exhaust fan rate.
At the completion of the work, a radon test kit shall be provided to the homeowner to measure post-retrofit radon levels in the conditioned space of the home and remediate if radon levels exceed EPA limits.

BASC Guides

Guide describing how to install efficient kitchen exhaust systems.

Guide describing how to air seal bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.

Tips to Sell Quality Installed Home Improvements

Home Improvement Expert (HIE) is a valuable tool for organizations committed to quality installed work. The following tips help optimize the value of this tool when selling home improvements:

  • Be the Expert: Take advantage of Building America Solution Center comprehensive guidance on ‘Existing Home’ retrofits.
  • Earn Trust: Inform homeowners how your work conforms to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) world-class expert guidance and recommend homeowners visit the DOE website as evidence these are indeed official best practices.
  • Clarity with Contrast: Tell prospective homeowner clients to compare your expert recommended best practices with other contractors.
  • Ensure Equivalent Pricing: Tell prospective homeowner clients to insist other bids also include DOE checklists to ensure equivalent quality work.
  • Translate Value: Note your company uses DOE HIE Checklists based on world-class expert recommendations for home improvements on all your public-facing communication including websites, advertising, and signage.
  • Create Emotional Experiences: Provide visual evidence contrasting the difference between poor and high quality work such as infrared images for good and bad insulation and air sealing; pre- and post-energy bills following quality installed work; short and long warranties for standard and high-efficiency equipment; and charts showing amounts of contaminants in homes that can be reduced with effective fresh air systems.

Kitchen Exhaust Fan Background

Kitchen with exhaust fan

Cooking produces water vapor and fumes; it can also release fine particles of grease into the air. Gas stoves can add more emissions, like nitrogen dioxide and other combustion byproducts. Kitchen exhaust fans that duct air directly to the outdoors can effectively remove these emissions. This protection is substantially compromised with models that just filter the air and return it to the kitchen. Kitchen exhaust fan options include those that run continuously, those that operate manually as needed, and those that operate with multiple-speed settings. Make sure to select models that are both energy efficient and quiet.