Range Hoods: Ventilation Improves Air Quality While Cooking

When asked how cooking impacts the air in your home, your first thought might be smells like freshly baked cookies, or perhaps a burning pizza. Scents are an often great part of cooking, but the impact of cooking on your indoor air quality is more complex than that. All cooking, whether done with gas, electric, or induction, produces pollutants. It may also produce grease, which can build on kitchen surfaces over time if not cleaned properly. Cooking-related pollutants like airborne grease and other aerosolized cooking oils are measured using the term PM 2.5. The levels of pollutants vary widely based on everything from the type of food being cooked to the location of the burner used. Fortunately, cooking-related pollutants can be effectively addressed with proper ventilation.

Range hoods, also known as ventilation hoods, provide two major upgrades to your kitchen. In addition to often serving as an attractive visual highlight, they also improve something that you can’t see, but will likely notice – your indoor air quality. Air quality has been in the spotlight over the past few years, with COVID-19, widespread wildfires and now concerns about pollutants from cooking. While air cleaners are increasingly common in homes, range hoods are another key player for improving indoor air quality. However, despite these benefits, many people may not be taking full advantage of their range hoods, either because of the sound the fan makes or because they don’t fully understand the benefits.

As with air cleaners, the AHAM Verifide® program certifies range hoods based on their ability to keep contaminants out of the air. This program certifies the performance of range hoods for air flow and sound value. AHAM Verifide® certification provides assurance that the range hood has been tested and certified to meet specific industry standards, it will meet the manufacturers’ performance claims and when installed correctly, you will enjoy proper ventilation that will improve your indoor air quality. You can view the AHAM Verifide® range hood directory here to see if your model is certified. If you’re buying a new range hood, look for our seal on the packaging.

While range hoods all work in much the same way, they can be mounted in different areas of the kitchen, including:

  • Under cabinet
  • Wall mount
  • Island hood
  • Downdraft
  • Ceiling mount
  • Under-microwave

So how exactly does your range hood work? A fan pulls the air up into the range hood’s filter, which traps the smoke, grease, fumes and other particles. Some range hoods are ductless, meaning they clean the air in your kitchen via fans and filters without venting outdoors. Most, however, use ductwork to transfer this air outside your home.  New building codes require external venting for any range hood.

With people spending much of their time at home, and possibly cooking more at home, proper kitchen ventilation is even more important. According to the American Time Use Survey, we spent around 62% of our waking time at home in 2021, up from 50% in 2019. A 2020 AHAM survey found that 48% of consumers reported cooking more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 42% planned to continue to do so. The combination of these upward trends means that without proper ventilation, your exposure to smoke and other harmful air particulates could be increasing. The age of your home could also be a factor – newer homes are being built with increasing energy efficiency that allow less air exchange with outdoor air, effectively trapping air inside when a proper ventilation system is not installed.

Range hoods improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants from the air.  They also prevent lingering odors from cooking and grease build-up around your kitchen. Now that you have a better understanding of your range hood, we encourage you to make an effort to use this important appliance more frequently. Whether you’re cooking with gas, electric or induction, your range hood will improve your indoor air quality by removing pollutants released from cooking.

Tips & Tricks for your Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Robot vacuums now account for over 65% of new vacuum sales, making them ubiquitous in homes everywhere. But unlike, say, your refrigerator, they’re a relative newcomer on the scene. Their quick rise to popularity and rapidly changing technology mean that your robot vacuum likely has features you’re not taking full advantage of, and that you may want to brush up on the best practices to keep it cleaning at full potential. Below, with the help of AHAM member company SharkNinja, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks for your robot vacuum.

A senior uses a robot vacuum cleaner

Put your robot vacuum on a schedule: Regular maintenance cleaning helps avoid build-up of debris and keeps your carpets and area rugs cleaner. This also helps out your vacuum by keeping debris at a manageable level.

Map your rooms individually for directed cleaning: This feature comes in handy when you have limited time to clean, or just want to hit certain rooms in your home.

Use your robot vacuum’s app: Controlling the vacuum using the app will ensure that its maps stay up to date with the layout of your home.

Clean your filters, brush roll and sensors: Keeping your robot vacuum clean will keep it running at peak performance. There are three distinct parts to consider when cleaning:

Keeping your filters clean ensures consistent cleaning performance and prevents dust and allergens from kicking up when your robot is cleaning.

Maintaining a clean brush roll means you won’t get errant stoppage due to hair wraps, and ensures strong cleaning performance.

Wiping the sensors found on the front and underside of your vacuum ensures that wheels move freely for error-free operation. Clean the sensors using a dry or damp microfiber towel. Avoid using wet wipes or a wet towel, as they can damage sensors.

Find an ideal spot for charging: Although today’s robot vacuums are smart enough to find their way back to their charging docks, you can help them out by placing the dock in a central location at least 1.5 feet from any walls, and ideally not in a closet or other enclosed space.

These tips should have your robot vacuum and your floors in top shape! Do you have a tip to share? Let us know in the comments.

Make the Most of Your Robot Vacuum’s Features

What kind of vacuum are you using at home? According to AHAM member company SharkNinja, robot vacuums now account for more than 65% of vacuum cleaner sales, and about 40% of U.S. households report having used one in their homes.

Whether you were an early robot vacuum adopter, or you’re just considering making the switch, you’ll find that the market has changed dramatically in the last five years. While features will vary depending on price point and manufacturer, here’s a sampling of some of the newer features being incorporated into today’s robot vacuums:

Intelligent navigation: Five years ago, most robot vacuums were essentially random bounce units with no sense of direction. Today’s models are equipped with state-of-the-art LIDAR (light detection and ranging) units similar to those found in your car! Robot vacuums sense their surroundings and draw a detailed floor plan of each room in your home.

Spot cleaning: Would you like to clean under your dining room table after hosting a dinner party? What about around the front door after a rainy fall day? Robots with LIDAR technology can be directed to a specific spot to clean up a mess.

Object avoidance technology: Thanks to an array of sensors, today’s robot vacuums won’t knock down objects, scuff your walls or even run over pet feces! (Yes, that really did happen.)

Improved suction and cleaning: Advancements in motor and brush roll technology mean that robot vacuums now have cleaning performance comparable to cordless stick units.

Voice control: Robot vacuums can respond to your voice, either directly or through an outside system like Amazon Alexa.

Debris storage: New model robot vacuums may have a dock to store debris, saving you the task of emptying the dustbin after every vacuum.

Multiple floor mapping: The latest robot vacuums can map multiple floors of your home for a more thorough clean.

Robot vacuums have earned their place as a floor-care fixture, and the innovations will continue. Looking for tips on maximizing your robot vacuum’s cleaning potential? Click here!

About This Blog

HOME for cooking, cleanliness, comfort and care