Kitchen Exhaust Fan


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

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This U.S. Department of Energy checklist includes important specifications that can contribute to a complete and quality installation. All work shall comply with these specifications, all relevant codes and standards, and all manufacturer installation instructions. The contractor shall check each box on the checklist below and sign and date at the bottom to certify the work is completed.


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: 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 to ensure it is made of rigid metal (e.g., galvanized steel, stainless steel, or copper), has a smooth interior surface, is equipped with a functioning back-draft damper, meets the maximum length guidelines specified in the IRC (2015 IRC Table M1506.2), and meets the minimum diameter or dimension guidelines specified in the fan manufacturer’s installation instructions. If it does not, the homeowner shall be advised to replace or repair the exhaust duct as required.

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.

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.

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.

At the completion of the work, a radon test kit shall be provided to the homeowner with a recommendation to initiate a radon remediation strategy if radon measurements exceed EPA acceptable levels.

The home shall be inspected for the presence of a whole-house ventilation system. If one is present, the actual air flow shall be tested and verified to meet a target ventilation rate based on house size as follows: 50 cfm for up to 1,500 ft2, 70 cfm for 1,501 to 2,500 ft2, and 100 cfm for over 1,500 ft2, per ASHRAE 62.2-2013. If the home has no whole-house ventilation system, or if the existing system does not meet the target ventilation rate, a recommendation shall be made to the homeowner to either install a new system or repair the existing system to meet the target ventilation rate.

Kitchen Exhaust Fan Background

Kitchen 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.

Tips to Sell Quality Installed Home Improvements

Home Improvement Expert 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:

Trust Matters: Inform homeowners how your work conforms to this world-class expert guidance. Recommend they visit the DOE website as evidence these are indeed official best practices.

Knowledge Matters: Take advantage of the Building America Solution Center as a resource for becoming an expert on these projects.

Clarity Matters: Tell prospective clients to contrast your expert-recommended best practices with other contractors.

Value Matters: Advise prospective clients to insist other bids also include these checklists to ensure equivalent quality work.

Message Matters: Showcase on your website and marketing materials that your company uses the highest quality best practices specified on HIE Checklists.

Experiences Matter: Provide visual evidence contrasting the difference between poor and high quality work such as infrared images; pre- and post-energy bills; short and long warranties; and simple charts and graphics depicting performance advantages.

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