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Should You Downdraft a Pro Rangetop or Stove?

Steve Sheinkopf  |  September 12, 2016  |  3 Min. Read

Downdrafts  |  Professional Ranges  |  Ranges

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It depends on how you cook, but for high volume cooking, you should...

 

Have a look at this picture

Crisp Architects

Or this one

Kitchen NJ

You are starting to see downdrafts being utilized in kitchen designs with professional rangetops or even stoves. I think this is an exceptionally bad idea and will dedicate this article for you to rethink this design. It will not catch fire and it is not a safety issue, so many manufacturers are still approving the downdraft for this application.

However, a downdraft will not effectively vent the heat, grease and smoke associated with high volume cooking.

So we will look at how a downdraft works and alternatives to pro rangetops, but first let’s look at how to vent properly.

How to Vent a Professional Rangetop / Stove

You probably already know that high volume cooking requires a more powerful exhaust. Motors are measured in CFM or cubic feet per minute. This translates to how many cubes of air are exhausted in a minute.

All these hoods have high CFMs. Downdrafts can have high CFMs as well.

pro-range-hood-selection-display.jpg

However, if we look at a professional hood, it has a 24"-27” depth because smoke is channeled, captured, and then exhausted to the outside. It is not immediately exhausted to the outside.

pro-hood-depth-over-pro-range.jpg

Smoke can actually bypass shallower 21" hoods. 24" hoods cover the burners.

Lastly, hoods work because the smoke is already headed in that direction. If you can vent straight up through your ceiling, there is no reduction in static flow of smoke through the ductwork.

Now let's compare this to a downdraft.

Downdrafts

downdraft-range-behind-cooktop.jpg

Downdrafts have a 2 inch capture area versus 24 inch for a hood. If you grill, wok, griddle or fry, this will not be enough.

vent exhaust elbowDowndrafts also work against gravity and have to pull the smoke down. The vent exhaust run becomes more complicated because you now need to install an elbow in the duct.

Elbows decrease the efficiency of the smoke leaving your home, because the air cannot be pushed or pulled by the motor through a turn.

Possible Remedies

First, I like the idea of placing a rangetop in an island. Back in 1986 when I started you had an awful selection of hoods. Now you can buy a good looking hood.

the Bauhaus

You can always build your own. Just buy the blower with a liner and place it in a custom hood.

Kitchen

For products, consider an induction cooktop. It does not emit the heat of a professional rangetop, so the vent requirements are less.

Wickets

You can always just buy a regular gas cook top, but many now have high output burners, so you will have the same problems.

Final Thoughts

Please resist the temptation of using a high output rangetop with a downdraft. You will hate the performance. Consider a hood or different product options…or you can use just one burner :-)

Additional Resources

Ventilation has always been an issue, because people think of it last. We wrote a Ventilation Buyers Guide covering CFMs per product, how to plan a vent, the importance of ducting, downdrafting and inside vs outside blowers.

You can access it here. It is about a 20 minute read, but well worth the time.

view our ventilation buying guide

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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