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Downdraft Ventilation Systems

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The Downdraft: Banish Fumes from the Kitchen

All home chefs know that there are a few appliances any kitchen needs to be gourmet ready. Your mind might snap to the obvious necessities like a range or microwave, but consider some of the devices you might not immediately see. The downdraft is one such heavy-lifting hero. This air-funneling appliance is designed to function just like an overhead range hood. However, instead of a range hood's exposed ductwork and overhead presence, the low-profile downdraft resides just beside your cooking space. Many of these range hood replacements are designed to sit against the side of your stove or cooktop for a classic look, while more modern ones sport a unique functionality—they can hide within your countertop itself. Push a button to call your downdraft out when it's time for dinner, then let it hide within your counter once you're ready to serve.

Functional & Minimal

While downdrafts look very different from an overhead range hood, they perform the same job—and these filtering devices are necessary in every kitchen. The downdraft pulls in air from across your cooktop or stove, absorbing steam, smoke, odor, and even high heat. And just like their overhead siblings, they can strip cooking grease from the air. That helps to keep grease stains from sticking to your kitchen cabinetry and other devices, where they can potentially damage the finish. By accomplishing the task of a range hood, an installed downdraft removes the need for any overhead structure in your kitchen, clearing a line of sight from one wall to the next. Those with open concept kitchens or a range built into the kitchen island will appreciate the extra vertical space. Even if you can't put anything there in that spot on the ceiling, by freeing up extra space you'll make the room feel much larger.

Find One That Meets Your Needs

Not all downdrafts are the same, so don't be charmed by shining stainless steel and modular style. Instead, make sure you're picking the right one to match your home's needs. Consider important specs like size, CFM (cubic feet per minute, or the amount of air it can move), and how it vents. For example, a home with no built-in venting will require that proper vents be installed to carry impurities down and out of the house. If you're dead-set against installing vents in your home, there are downdraft options that are built with a recirculating fan instead. If purchasing these, make sure you remember to replace and clean the filters as often as recommended. These devices function similarly to the over the range microwave, helping to filter air without extensive ductwork. The downside is that your filter will have a harder time cleaning the air, and you probably won't experience the same level of air filtration you would with proper ducting. Not sure if a downdraft is best for your home? Take a look at our Range Hood Buying Guide to learn more about the best ways to keep your kitchen air clear and clean—even when whipping up a storm of food.

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    July 25, 2021