Does an Island Cooktop Need a Vent

Date: October 13, 2021
Author: Jon Smith
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Kitchen islands are one of the most sought after things in kitchens across America. They provide you with more cabinet storage as well as more countertop space. Kitchen islands offer the perfect place for a sink, prep area, or cooktop.

Many homeowners get so excited about having a kitchen island installed that they end up with a number of problems. The kitchen island may be too large for the space, the cooktop could be in the wrong location, a kitchen vent may be forgotten, outlets may be left out, and much more.

Cooks often prefer having a cooktop stove in their kitchen island because of the increased workspace an island offers. Additionally, a cooktop on an island lends to a more social environment. The cook can be in the kitchen and still be able to socialize with their guests.

Installing a cooktop or stove on your island requires some modifications to your home. You will need to bring a gas line or electrical wiring up through the floor. In addition to this, you must consider the ventilation options for your cooktop.

Is a Vent Required?

Typically, local building codes require a vent in the kitchen. A vent, also known as an exhaust fan, removes smoke, moisture, smoke, odors, carcinogens, and particles from the air. These vents are designed to pull these particles from the home and exhaust them through a wall, crawlspace, or attic. Even if your local building code does not require an exhaust fan, it is best to install one to protect your home and your family's health.

Standard Ventilation Requirements for Cooktop Islands

The minimum airflow for ventilating gas cooktops varies based on the BTU output of the gas cooktop. Typically, you should divide the total BTUs by 100 to determine the ventilation airflow rate in cubic feet per minute. For example, if your gas cooktop has an output of 75,000 BTUs, you would divide this number by 100, resulting in 750 cubic feet per minute. Then, you would need to find a cooktop vent that is rated for 750 cubic feet per minute.

If you are using an electric cooktop, the method for determining the required vent size is different. Electric cooktop stoves require 200 cubic feet of airflow per minute per foot of width. Most electric cooktops are 30 inches wide, which means you will need a vent that is rated for 400 to 600 cubic feet per minute.

Ventilation Options in Cooktop Islands

There are three different types of kitchen vents available for your kitchen island – an exhaust fan over the cooktop, a telescopic vent installed into the island, or an exhaust fan built into the cooktop. Each of these kitchen vents has a number of advantages and disadvantages.

Exhaust Fans Above the Cooktop

An exhaust fan located above the cooktop on an island looks impressive. These fans are typically suspended from the ceiling and are clad in stainless steel or copper. This type of kitchen vent is placed directly over the cooktop and draws steam, odors, and smoke upward. From a functional standpoint, a vent above a cooktop is the best option because steam and smoke naturally rise.

The main disadvantage to an exhaust fan being suspended above the cooktop is it can interfere with the sightlines in the room. Islands are revered for the ability to interact with others while prepping and cooking food. A hanging kitchen vent can interfere with this feature.

Another thing that should be considered is the need for electrical power. You will need to run electrical through your ceiling to power your exhaust fan above your cooktop.

Downdraft Kitchen Vents Built into the Kitchen Island

One of the latest kitchen inventions is the downdraft kitchen vent. These slim, rectangles are retractable and typically inserted at the back or the side of a stovetop. To use, simply press a button and the vent rises out of the countertop. When you are done, press the button again and it lowers back into the kitchen island, out of sight.

Downdraft vents come in a variety of sizes and heights. The heights can range from 8 inches to 19 inches. Typically, it is better to have a higher vent so it can remove the smoke and steam from your tallest pots. Typically, the downdraft vents have dishwasher-safe parts and vent air outside; however, there are certain vents that use charcoal filters and recirculate the air.

The main disadvantage to this type of vent is they do not compare to the ventilation power offered by exhaust fans located above the cooktop. In addition to this, downdraft vents can suction heat away from burners; therefore, making it difficult to maintain a consistent temperature while cooking.

Cooktops with Built-In Downdraft Vents

Certain brands of cooktops feature a downdraft vent built into the cooktop. One of the brands that have been using this technology for years is Jenn-Air. The vent can be located between the eyes, along the back, or along one side of the cooktop. The vent activates as soon as you turn on your cooktop or stove.

This type of fan draws the smoke downward where it is vented out of the house through the crawlspace or the basement. Certain brands also offer a recirculation feature where the smoke is pulled through a charcoal filter and then reintroduced into the air.

Because it is located at countertop level, a built-in vent on a cooktop does not function as well as an overhead kitchen vent and may not eliminate all smoke, carcinogens, and steam caused by cooking. Furthermore, this type of vent pulls air across the burners, resulting in uneven heat. It can also even cause the flame on a gas cooktop to go out.

Final Thoughts

Kitchen vents are designed to remove smoke, steam, odors, and dangerous particles from the air. If you have a cooktop on your kitchen island, you have several choices when it comes to kitchen exhaust fans, including an exhaust fan above the stove as well as downdraft vents. Choose the one that is best for your kitchen design and your cooking style to help keep odors and smoke out of your home.

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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