This Buying Guide compiled by our experts lists the most important aspects that you need to consider before buying a kitchen Chimney and also includes tips to improve the efficiency of a kitchen chimney once in use.
An electric chimney or cooker hood is attached right above the cooking appliance (gas stove). When you turn the power on, the chimney sucks the air inside the kitchen. The air passes through the baffle or other mesh filters which absorb the heat and trap the grease particles, thereby removing fumes and odour. All very handy because Indian cooking in particular involves a lot of frying, grilling, oil and masalas.
Purpose of a Kitchen Chimney
Count Your Benefits
- Odourless kitchen: Indian households use a lot of spices and oil while cooking which in turn emit a lot of fumes with odour. Installing a kitchen chimney will help you get rid of this odour.
- Maintains cleanliness: An efficient chimney not only absorbs the odour from the kitchen but also has the ability to take in the oil and vapour from the food being cooked due to the high suction power, giving you a dust-free and neat kitchen.
- Protects other kitchen appliances from fumes: Chimneys protect your other kitchen appliances, cabinets and walls from getting dirty with sticky fumes.
- Keeps kitchen air pollution in check: Since the chimney absorbs the fumes, it takes care of those with breathing problems in the house; they will not have to suffer due to these fumes and odour. Otherwise too, the fumes released during cooking may have serious health effects in the long run.
- Lets off steam: Cooking creates lots of steam and condensation. In the worst case, this can create mould in your kitchen. Your chimney will remove steam and condensation from the kitchen.
- Looks and style: A kitchen chimney can add to the overall look of your kitchen. Extractor designs have evolved in recent years and there are many styles to choose from now.
Checklist of points to consider before buying Kitchen Chimney online or in shop:
Capacity or Suction Power
Let’s get started with the feature that matters most, or should matter most anyway – the air-suction capacity. This is the key function that denotes the ability of the kitchen chimney to absorb smoke, oil and odour. It is measured in cubic meter per hour (m3/hour).
Choose a chimney based on the size of your kitchen. Ideally, the chimney should be able to recycle the air at least 10 times in an hour to be effective. Chimneys with a wide hose are much more effective at extracting air quickly.
For a standard family size and a standard kitchen, 60 cm size with suction capacity of 1,000–1,100 cubic metre per hour (m3/h) is an ideal model/choice. The chimney that sucks more air in shorter time is the better choice. It should have 800–1,000 m3/hour suction power.
Kitchen Chimney Price
The price of the standard electric chimneys varies between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000, depending on size, finish, suction capacity and other features. Many companies constantly come up with excellent models with upgraded features, making it necessary to make a wise choice.
If on a lower budget, you can opt for a conventional chimney that uses aluminum mesh filters instead of baffle filters. The only problem is that these meshes need to be cleaned once every three to four days.
Chimney to Duct out or recycle? Ducting or Ductless?
Ducting chimneys (extracting chimneys) suck the air and this air is then passed through filters and meshes. Filters absorb the grime and oils and the rest of the air is passed into the environment with the help of ducts commonly known as pipes or PVC outlets. Ductless chimneys (reducing chimneys) use a motor and a fan or blower. The absorbed fume is passed through charcoal filters which absorb the heat, odour and smoke. This air is circulated in the kitchen again.
Consumer VOICE recommends: Wherever possible, it’s best to duct out, which means that steam and odours are expelled outside. The ducted-out models also don’t require the charcoal filters that need to be changed every two to three months if the air is being recycled. Furthermore, while hoods used on recycling mode will help reduce cooking odours, they will not reduce steam or condensation as a ducted-out hood can.
Kitchen Chimney Filters
One of the most important parts of any chimney, the filter differentiates between heat and grime. If your chimney filter is not powerful, it can reduce suction power of the chimney and also create health issues for you.
The most difficult aspect of any chimney is the cleaning of the grime and oily residues. Indian kitchens have a lot of such residues. These oily particles can stick to the filters, thereby affecting the effective functioning of the chimney. There is a need to clean the chimney filters regularly. This requires the dismantling of the filters and cleaning them. Alternatively, you can opt for chimneys with an ‘auto clean’ feature that enables the automatic cleaning of the filters.
Chimney type as per location
There are wall-mounted, built-in (can be placed in the centre of the kitchen), and corner chimneys.
The size of the chimney should be equal to your gas stove. Common size of the chimney is 60–90 cm.
Tips for an efficient Kitchen Chimney
Where to install Kitchen Chimney
- Install the chimney at a proper height that will allow proper cleaning as well as effective smoke suction. Choose the right chimney based on your kitchen, type of food cooked, and maintenance required. Most chimneys come with built-in light sources at their bases, providing direct light on the burners.
- Unlike an exhaust fan, a chimney can be fixed anywhere in a kitchen. Installed around 28–32 inches above the burners, the chimney ensures smells are eliminated from almost at their source.
How to increase the life of Kitchen Chimney?
- Remember to turn on your hood before you start cooking and then leave it running on the lowest speed for a few extra minutes once you’ve finished. Many of the best cooker hoods are fitted with a useful timer function that can be set to switch the hood off five minutes after you’ve finished cooking.
- Essential maintenance requires that the baffle filters be cleaned, say around once a month. You could do this yourself, but it’s best to arrange for it through an annual maintenance contract.