How to install a range hood
Far more important than we give it credit for, a range hood is what helps keep cooking exhaust, smoke, grease and unpleasant smells out of your kitchen as you cook, roast or bake. This appliance will help remove odors, smoke, and even help trap airborne grease with the assistance of a fan that will circulate air out of your kitchen.
There are several types of range hoods that are ducted and ductless (otherwise known as recirculating hoods). Which one you use will depend greatly on what you prefer and how much cooking you do. Ducted hoods are said to be more effective at removing odors and steam, since the air is circulated to the outside. Ductless hoods, on the other hand, use a filter to recirculate air back into the kitchen.
Installing a range hood: step-by-step instructions
Before you start the process of installing your new range hood, note that this is an overview of the installation procedure. For full instructions and details on what you’ll need to install the range hood, consult your owner’s manual. Additionally, if you do not feel comfortable performing this task yourself, hiring a professional is recommended.
Prior to purchasing your new range hood, here are some considerations to make sure you pick the right one:
- Measure the width of your range. Your new hood should be roughly the same width as the range.
- Consider the square footage of your kitchen. Vent hoods are measured by the amount of air they clear per minute, per square footage (CFM). Results can vary based on your kitchen and house layout including whether you have an open-concept or closed-off kitchen. As a general guide, your new hood should be around double the square footage of your kitchen. So if your kitchen is approximately 150 sq. ft., aim for a hood that has 300 sq. ft. CFM. Make sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations for minimum CFM for your appliance and pick the highest recommended number. Always make sure to comply with all state and local standards.
- Check the BTU. For hoods that are being installed over gas cooktops, the BTU threshold of the hood should meet or exceed the total BTU output of the cooking surface. This will ensure that your new hood can handle the amount of heat that the range or cooktop can produce.
- Consider your cooking style. If you do a lot of frying, steaming or multi-pot surface cooking, it’s a good idea to increase your CFMs to ensure that you will have sufficient ventilation.
What you’ll need for range hood installation
- Twist drill bits
- Punches and nail setter
- Wire strippers
- Power drill
- Screwdriver set
- Caulk gun
- Cutting pliers
- Reciprocating saw/oscillating tool
- Wire connectors
- Metal ducts
- Wall mount range
- Building wire
Step 1: Remove old range hood (if there is one)
Shut off the power to the range hood at the breaker box before you begin the uninstallation of the hood you’ll be replacing. Unplug the hood and disconnect all electrical wires. You may need the help of another person to help support the weight of the hood as you remove the support screws.
Step 2: Locate and mark vent location
Measure your new range hood to see where the vent will come out. If your vent came with a paper template, use it to measure the space on the wall where the vent hole will go. If your hood didn’t come with a template, just use the measurements from your hood to determine where the new hole will be located on your wall.
Step 3: Check wall where vent will go
First cut a small section of the wall where the vent will go before making the larger hole that the vent will go through. Make sure that there isn’t any plumbing or electrical wiring behind the wall that could interfere with the installation of the hood. If you do find wiring or plumbing, it’s best to consult a professional for the next steps, since you may have to vent through the roof, which is a more complicated process.
Step 4: Cut the interior hole of the vent
Once you’ve ensured that you can cut through the wall that will vent to the outside of your home, cut a hole where the vent will go that is at least six inches wide using an oscillating tool or reciprocating saw. You can make the hole a little bigger to give you more room to work.
Use a long drill bit to place locator holes extending to the outer wall. Place a locator hole on the edges of the vent hole.
Step 5: Cut the vent pipe hole
Before cutting the vent pipe hole that will be on the exterior wall, find the locator holes and connect them to form the circle that you will be cutting through. You’ll again want to use either an oscillating or reciprocating saw.
If your exterior wall is paneled or uneven, then it might be easier to cut a square piece of PVC trim to place on the exterior wall and cut the hole through the trim.
Step 6: Attach the duct/range hood vent cap
Push the vent cap into the exterior opening or PVC trim, and make sure that it’s long enough to connect to the range hood. Attach with screws and caulk so that you get a tight seal that is also waterproof.
Step 7: Prepare the damper
If your new hood vent came with a duct damper, measure it against the interior hole to see how much space you’ll need for the duct size. Use a small amount of duct to test that you have the correct measurements before cutting a bigger piece of duct. Mark the outside of the damper to reference where to tape the ductwork.
Step 8: Run the electrical wiring
If necessary, drill holes next to each side of the vent so that you can run the electrical wiring from the hood to the electrical box. Make sure that there is enough conduit and wires from the breaker to the hood’s electrical terminal box. Ensure that your electrical wiring is up to code.
If you do not feel confident running the electrical wiring, consulting with an electrician is strongly advised.
Step 9: Position the range hood
You will need the help of a second person to support the weight of the hood while you place the mounting screws through the mounting slots of the hood.
Step 10: Secure mounting screws
Remove the grease filter so that you have better access as you tighten screws to secure them. Level the hood and tighten the upper screws first.
Step 11: Finish connecting the wiring
Clip any excess wiring and strip back the wires to connect them with wire caps or connectors. Match the color of the wiring to the corresponding color connector, and the copper ground wire to the grounding wire connector.
Step 12: Install vent covers
After connecting the wiring, turn the power back on to make sure that the hood is working properly. Then, install the vent covers using your owner’s manual for detailed instructions.
Range hood installation FAQs
Do range hoods have to be vented outside?
Hoods can be vented outside or recirculate the air back into the home. If venting externally, do not vent into the attic, crawlspace or interior wall. Doing so may cause mold to form in these spaces.
Additionally, since most home attics are not perfectly sealed, the cooking fumes your hood range vents out can be recirculated back into your home.
Do you need an electrician to install a range hood?
To do the installation of the range hood itself, you shouldn’t need an electrician. However, if you need to hardwire the hood or place new electrical wiring, you should use an electrician.
How much does it cost to install a range hood?
The cost of installing a range hood will greatly depend on the range hood you buy and the materials that you need to purchase. On average, the cost of installing a range hood will be upwards of $100+.
Can I install a range hood myself?
With the right supplies and the help of another person, it is completely doable to install a range hood yourself. A word of caution, however, is that if you need to rewire, move plumbing, or drill the vent hole through the roof, it may be beneficial to consult with a professional.
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