DIY – Kitchen – All About Vents

Comments Off on DIY – Kitchen – All About Vents 31 August 2011

In a kitchen, cooks cook. What could be more obvious? But what the cook may not notice much are the vents that carry away smoke and odors. Not until they no longer do the job, that is. What then?The old phrase ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is nowhere more true than in the kitchen. One application of that idea is to have enough venting to handle the busiest days. Easter, Christmas, birthdays, and many more occasions often see a lot of cooking going on. No one wants that spoiled by smoke detectors going off unnecessarily or seeing those gathered around the kitchen island get a face full.

Building one is not anywhere near as difficult as it may seem, either. Any good do-it-yourselfer can do it in a day, and at a cost that may surprise some. It’s really no more than a pedestal or, in more elaborate designs, a large cabinet with drawers.Vents accumulate grease that deposits on the cooler surfaces after wafting through the air. Grime builds up. Food drops down some and smoke deposits particulates on others. While stoves have advanced, unfortunately no one has yet come up with a self-cleaning vent.Overhead vents thread a wide pipe above a stove usually in a specially designed space and up to the top of the house. Creating a larger vent isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Most cabinetry can easily be widened by several inches with a bit of sawing. Ditto the roof pipe, though it may take a bit longer. The key is to seal the final result carefully to keep out rain.
Islands are also a big convenience. They provide extra counter space to put all the ingredients needed to whip up that fabulous dinner. When finished, the island is super easy to clean.

The pedestal style is especially simple to build. Choose the wood desired – cherry works well, but oak or even treated pine are also very good choices. Most pipes narrow down the closer they get to the roof, terminating in a plastic pipe about 2 inches in diameter. But it’s not difficult to replace it with one that is 2 1/2 or even 3 inches wide. The neighbors will never notice and you’ll get much more capacity. Increasing the diameter by 1 inch adds about 1 1/4 square inches of area.

But hardwoods are making a big comeback on kitchen countertops. Properly treated they can last for decades and they look stunning.Butcher block is a perfect choice.Cutting a wider space in the wall can be a chore, but even houses with an outer layer of brick don’t make the job impossible. Masonry drill bits and a good drill will readily make a larger opening to accommodate a bigger vent.

If your kitchen floor space area is limited, but not too limited, a smaller island can still serve as a functional and attractive kitchen aid. If the home has a crawlspace that allows access, it’s a simple matter to install a larger vent pipe. It’s less often needed in these cases, though, since the pipe is already about 10-12 inches in diameter. If it’s intact, it will handle just about any thing.

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