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How to Install a Range Hood

When odors, moisture, and smoke overtake your kitchen, it's time to use proper ventilation. Follow our easy step-by-step guide and learn how to install a new range hood over your cooktop.

Getting Started

Cooking on your gas or electric cooktop can create lots of grease buildup, moisture, and smoke. Fortunately, we have range hoods mounted above our cooktops to ventilate our kitchens and manage odors.
To work efficiently, it's crucial to have the appropriate range hood for your kitchen. So whether you're building a new home or want to replace an outdated range hood, the first step is to find an adequate one.
From Broan to Zephyr, Abt Electronics offers a variety of range hoods. There are plenty of styles and features that might make you choose one particular model that best fits your cooking methods and lifestyle. But the most important attribute is the hood fan's cfm (cubic feet per minute) rating, which should be double your kitchen's square footage. For more considerations, take a look at the Range Hood Buying Guide.
After you've found the perfect hood, it's actually quite easy to install it yourself. Follow these steps to learn how to install a new range hood safely and properly above your cooktop.

Prepare for Your Range Hood Installation

As you prepare to install the range hood, take these extra steps for safety. Wear goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from fine particles as you cut away the vent holes. Also, be sure to turn off power to the range hood, testing the wires to ensure it's off.
Verify whether you need a permit, as some counties and jurisdictions may require you to observe the applicable building and electrical codes. If you have any uncertainty, find a licensed electrician.

Remove the Existing Range Hood

The first step to install a range hood requires you to remove the existing one. It helps to have some assistance during this step to support the weight of the hood as you detach it. 
Unplug the old range hood and disconnect any attached wires or connectors. With someone supporting the hood, lift the hood and remove the screws.
At this point, also ensure that the new hood covers the cooking area and will fit the existing cutout. Check your new hood's manual for a height recommendation; a hood should be mounted within a certain distance from the cooking surface to ensure optimal ventilation. The height recommendation may vary based on whether you have an electric or gas cooktop.
Take notice of the vent direction. Does it run up through the cabinet or back through the wall? These days, range hoods can accommodate both options, but it depends on which holes access the ductwork.

Locate and Mark the Vent Holes

Unpack the new range hood. Remove the filter, exhaust fan and the electrical housing cover.
If this new range hood is being placed in a new home and there's not yet a knockout, remove the knockout with a hammer and screwdriver to get to the electrical cable and duct.
Secure the hood against the intended mounting area. Again, it helps to have an assistant to hold the hood as you mark the locations for fasteners and venting holes. Use a pencil to mark where the duct and cable holes should be.

Cut the Hole for the Range Hood Exhaust

Now that you have your marked locations, it's time to focus on the range hood exhaust.
When installing a cutout for the first time, you get to choose which direction the vent will go. Go by the same rule certified electricians use and find the shortest path to daylight. In other words, determine if the vent should go straight out or straight up.
Next, take a reciprocating saw or hole saw and cut a hole through the drywall. (For this step, be sure to wear your goggles and mask!) Drill holes at the corners using a long bit, going all the way through the exterior wall. Of course, avoid any studs, pipes and wires as you drill away.

Cut the Exterior Wall

Outside your home, locate the holes you just drilled. Like playing connect the dots, connect the holes with a pencil or marker. This will create an outline where the vent hole will be cut.
Now, take your reciprocating saw (or long-bladed saber saw or keyhole saw) and cut along the outline, removing the siding and insulation from around the duct area.

Attach the Hood's Air Duct

While outside, attach the duct's wall cap into the hole you just created. Check to see if the duct can reach the range hood, as you may need to run back out to the hardware store to purchase a duct extension. If this is the case, you'll need to attach the extension with sheet metal screws and some duct tape.
Once you know your duct will reach, apply caulk to the siding areas where the cap flange will sit, pushing it into place. Lastly, screw the cap into place and secure it by caulking the perimeter.
Now the outside area is complete.

Run Power to the Range Hood and Connect the Wires

Back inside, shut off all power and turn off power switches.
Next, attach a cable to a counter receptacle or junction box and through the hole cutout. Strip the cable sheathing and clamp it to the range hood's knockout.
To mount the range hood securely, drive mounting brackets and screws into surrounding studs and cabinets.
Splice the white, black and green ground wire into their corresponding fixture leads. Tuck them inside and replace the electrical cover, reattaching the hood's fan and filter.

Last, turn the power back on and give your new range hood a test. Now you're ready to cook!

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