This may seem like a strange question, but I have terrible allergies and cooking in our kitchen makes it uncomfortable for me to breath. Is there anything we can do to improve the quality of air in our kitchen? —Steve
Steve, that’s not a strange question at all. In fact, contemporary kitchens are often designed as both a space for food preparation and family interaction. So it is important to consider factors such as air quality in the kitchen. The first place we’ll look is obvious, but what we’ll be looking at may not be. Take a look above the stove. In every home there should be some implementation of a fan to move and recirculate the air above the cooking surface. However, there are two primary methods used for this process of recirculation. A fan and filter system uses a fan to pull the air up and away from the cooking surface and a filter to help catch particles and contaminants from the air before the air is recirculated back into the kitchen. This is a common and economical method since the process can be contained within an appliance—for instance, many hanging microwaves will have a vent/fan built in. An exhaust system is different than the fan and filter method because there is no recirculation. Instead of filtering, the fan pulls air from the cooking area and forces it outside. Think of it like the exhaust hood in chemistry class or even the dryer vent in the laundry room. While the difference in performance is significant compared to a fan and filter system, so is the cost. Because exhausting the air requires ducts and vents, you should contact a contractor to see if its a viable option for you kitchen.