Our homes can produce many types of pollutants and impurities, many of which can be extractedusing a kitchen extractor fan.
As the organisers of the Clean Air Day campaign pointed out: “Indoor air pollution comes from multiple sources including gas stoves, wood burners, personal care products such as nail varnish and deodorant, burning candles, home cleaning products, and soft furnishings. We spend up to 90% of our time indoors where levels of some pollutants are higher than outside, often without ventilating appropriately.”
The kitchen might be an integral part of most families’ lives but it plays its part in producing many of these pollutants. It can also be a source of odours, as well as steam and moisture that can lead to condensation damp and the problems that it can cause.
Extractor fans can help to keep your kitchen clean, fresh and dry, which can also protect and improve the air quality in the rest of the home. Whether you are upgrading, replacing, or installing a kitchen extractor fan for the first time, here are some tips to help you choose the right one:
Extractor fans can vary in price. You might have a budget you want to stick to, especially if you are installing as part of a wider refurbishment project, but you should be aware that it is pointless fitting an extractor that doesn’t do what you need. It may mean you have to pay a little extra for a model that is powerful and reliable enough to keep your kitchen clean, dry and pollutant-free.
Noise might not be as much an issue as it can be with bathroom extractor fans, which are often located near bedrooms and can be triggered at night. Noise from a kitchen extractor can still be annoying or distracting, so you may want to consider extra-quiet fans.
The main job of a kitchen extractor fan is to remove the stale, dirty or damp air from the kitchen, allowing it to be replaced by clean, fresh air. Extractor fan capacity is generally expressed as the volume of air that can be extracted over time, either using cubic metres per hour (m3/hr) or litres per second (l/s). There are minimum airflow rates required for kitchens, this can depend on where the fan is to be fitted.
You don’t have to do the maths yourself as ventilation experts can tell you the sort of capacity you might need for your kitchen.
Functionality is important, but you will also want to consider how the extractor fan will look when installed in your kitchen. Sleek, subtle units can be surprisingly powerful these days. You might also want to think about whether you would prefer it to be wall or ceiling-mounted.
You should also think about how you want your extractor fan to operate. Some are intermittent, while others run constantly at a low level, with extra ‘boost’ periods when needed.
Extractor fans can be manually controlled, usually via a pull cord, or can be set to come on with the kitchen light. They can also be fitted with humidity sensors so that they automatically come on when there is a certain level of moisture in the air.
Most heat recovery ventilation systems are whole-house systems but decentralised single-room heat recovery units are also available. This helps you to improve your energy efficiency (and cut your heating bills) by taking heat from the air being extracted and feeding it back into the home. A related consideration is how much energy an extractor fan uses.
There is much to think about when choosing a kitchen extractor fan but it’s worth doing a little research to make sure you find the right one for you.
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