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Old 08-05-2009, 07:08 PM
Roadfood Roadfood is offline
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Posts: 1,556
Do building codes require an exhaust fan for a cooktop?

We are replacing our cooktop, which currently has a downdraft type of exhaust fan (there is a grill-covered opening down the middle of the cooktop, with a filter and fan underneath, leading to a vent to the outside of the house). We never use the fan (it doesn't work very well to pull cooking vapors down anyway), and so we're thinking of getting a new one that doesn't have the downdraft. But, of course, we don't have any exhaust fan above the cooktop, either.

Does someone know if doing that, i.e. having a cooktop with no exhaust fan at all, is a violation of building codes? This is in California, if that makes a difference.
Old 08-05-2009, 07:37 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
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The fan over the range in my kitchen does not have an exhoust to the out side. Itdoes have a grease filter in it. I remodeled the kitchen in 1995 and it passed inspection. Though I am thinking of changing it and adding the vent.
Old 08-05-2009, 08:56 PM
racer72 racer72 is offline
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You will have to check with your local (city or county) building department. Building codes vary with jurisdiction.

Last edited by racer72; 08-05-2009 at 08:56 PM.
Old 08-05-2009, 11:20 PM
shunpiker shunpiker is online now
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Location: Central North Carolina
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I had the exact same situation as you after removing a jenn-air. I installed a hood, but didn't vent it to the outside. If you use the charcoal filters in place of the cheaper stainless steel mesh ones, it will actually do some "filtering" of the air. But it simply recycles it the air, blowing it back into the room. I've seen new construction here in NC with this same type of arrangement.

I honestly wasn't concerned with code as much as i was to having a filter after the downdraft was removed. I was disappointed, and always told myself i'd install an exhaust tube through the roof to "fix" the situation. I sold the house about 8 months later, w/o ever installing the tube.

Ultimately it's what "racer72" said.

Last edited by shunpiker; 08-05-2009 at 11:22 PM.
Old 08-06-2009, 12:30 AM
Oslo Ostragoth Oslo Ostragoth is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: the Prairie
Posts: 6,771
Not really a response to the OP, but:

I used to live in a ca. 1950 house that had a room added 15-20 years later. The remodelers chopped off the former roof vent from the stove, and allowed the stuff to vent to the attic. (I'm guessing not to code.)

The squirrels that made it in found the grease-soaked rafters of the new room to be very nomnom.

In response to the OP: if there is any way you can vent to the outside or thoroughly filter the exhaust, do it. I can't think of anything more annoying than a house filled with cooking smoke/vapors.
Old 08-06-2009, 12:22 PM
Roadfood Roadfood is offline
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Posts: 1,556
Thanks for the info. Long story short, we're going with a new downdraft.
Old 08-06-2009, 12:55 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Location: Anderson, IN,USA
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There's a disappointing trend toward range hoods with no outlet. They run the air through a crude grease catcher, and they shoot it right in your face. When I replaced mine, I had to cut the vent hole with an electric scroll saw. When my brother redid his kitchen, he put in a free-hanging range hood, which was more expensive than his top-of-the-line stove top.

In my house, the range vent and bathroom fans are all directed to near the roof vents. Apparently, that's good enough for code, here.
"You know what they say about sleeping dogs; you can't trust 'em." --Oliver Faltz
Old 08-06-2009, 01:09 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 24,534
My hood has no outlet and it doesn't do a damned thing - I never turn it on. When I finally remodel I'd like to vent it, but it isn't on an outside wall, so I don't know what all's involved. I don't cook a lot of stuff that would smoke for that reason. (Also the window doesn't open.)
Old 08-06-2009, 01:13 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 14,232
I understand it depends on whether you have a gas or electric range. We thought about switching to gas, but were told it would require installation of a vented hood.
Old 08-06-2009, 02:18 PM
robby robby is offline
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Location: Connecticut, USA
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Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
I understand it depends on whether you have a gas or electric range. We thought about switching to gas, but were told it would require installation of a vented hood.
We have a gas range, and the exhaust fan does not vent to the outside. (There is a microwave oven above the stove.) I sure hope it meets code, because the house is only four years old!

ETA: I just did a Google search on the issue, and the first hit was this thread!

Last edited by robby; 08-06-2009 at 02:19 PM.


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