how to select an effective kitchen chimney
Proper ventilation and circulation of air is important in any fireplace to keep the surroundings safe from harmful smoke and provide fresh air draft to facilitate the burning flame. In a similar fashion, chimneys are necessary and play an important role in any kitchen, keeping the cooking area free of strong odour, heat and oil reduce. But for the chimney to be efficient and be able to perform well, it is vital to select the appliance appropriate to your needs.
A. Kitchen chimney size guide
The kitchen chimney must be placed directly above the gas stove to cover the complete area which will expel heat, so that the chimney can take in the hot air rising above and collect the oil and smoke effectively. For these purposes, it is essential to buy a chimney at least the size of the gas stove, or larger, but definitely not smaller. Standard sizes available are of 60cm and 90cm, suitable for 2 to 4 and 3 to 5 burner stoves respectively. To leave room for a gas stove upgrade, you can buy a chimney larger in width than your existing stove.
B. Calculate kitchen chimney suction power/capacity
Ultimately the power and effectiveness of the chimney will be determined by the suction power. The thumb rule for a chimney suction power calculator is to multiply the volume of your kitchen into 10, meaning that the appliance must be able to process 10 times the volume of the kitchen area in an hour. So if your kitchen volume is 40m3, then you at least need 400m3/hr of suction power.
C. Selecting which type of Kitchen Chimney to go for
As you will find yourself scrolling through catalogues from different brands and manufacturers, you will notice how these simple and common kitchen appliances have complex classifications and designs to suit every purpose. There are many ways you can classify your kitchen chimney, based on properties like;
On the basis of its external structure and appearance, chimneys can be categorised into;
Hood chimneyThese chimneys have a hooded shaped, covering the entire area directly above the gas stove in an attempt to inhale as much fume and smoke rising above from the cooking range as possible. The unwanted hot gas is expelled out using ducting pipes.
Straight-line chimneyDesigned similar to split air-conditioners, they has straight-line bodies which don’t come with ducting pipes. Instead, they treat the air and suspended smoke particles and throw it back into the kitchen area.
Three different installation types can also help distinguish between types of chimneys;
Wall-mounted chimneyThe kitchen chimney is supported against a wall, or two walls, as in corner-mounted chimneys.
Ceiling-mounted chimney or Island chimneyThe chimney hangs down from the ceiling, directly above the cooking range. It is often seen in Island-style modular kitchens.
Built-in chimneyChimney is built into the interior of the kitchen, completely hiding the body and ducting pipes of the system.
All chimneys don’t have the same mechanisms of functioning. Broadly, there are two technologies used in kitchen chimneys.
Ducted chimneysAs best understood in hooded chimneys, these styles of kitchen chimneys filter the heavy oil and spice particles from the smoke collected and expel out the hot air from a vent.
Ductless chimneysOn the other hand, as in straight-line chimneys, these kitchen chimneys filter out heavy oil and spice particles from the smoke collected, treat the strong pungent odour by passing the smoke through carbon filters, and then expel out the treated air back into the cooking area. No ducting pipes are required in these systems.
D. Installation of kitchen chimney
There are other variables which must be kept in mind which can affect the effectiveness of your kitchen chimney;
- More number of bends, longer length and smaller kitchen chimney outlet pipe size will provide hindrance in throwing the smoke out of the kitchen. It’s always advisable to have broader straight pipes installed close to the vent so that maximum smoke is eliminated with having to travel long distance.
- Non vegetarian food and strong flavourful cuisines like barbeque and Indian food use a lot of oil, heat and spices and produce more odour and smoke. Considering these, a chimney installed in kitchen cooking vegan continental food would require much less suction power than, say a Bengali non-vegetarian kitchen cooking fish in mustard.
different types of kitchen chimney filters function and use
Chimneys are kitchen essentials, aiming to keep your cooking area free from harmful smoke, heat and odour. To fulfil this purpose, kitchen chimney filters play a primary role at every stage of air handing and cleaning. They collect the grease and dirt suspended in the air while cooking, keeping you and your kitchen safe and clean. Having well maintained and clean chimney filters also improves the efficiency of your chimneys. It is wise to go for filters appropriate to your cooking needs, which are broadly classified into three kitchen chimney filter types, depending on the structure, material and filtering process.
- Have multiple overlapping curve layers of metal sheets which break the direction of airflow, separating spice particles, oil and grease from the rising hot air.
- Need to be cleaned every 3 weeks for maximum performance of the chimney.
- Fully greased filters will not affect the chimney suction power much, since the oil collectors don’t block the path of air flow. Although clean filters would always be recommended for highest performance and avoiding excess drop dripping from the chimney onto the gas stove.
- Easier to clean; by simply soaking them in hot soapy water.
- Most popular and recommended for deep frying, on-stove grills, and Indian kitchen use, due to high oil and spice use.
Cassette Mesh Filter
- Have multiple overlapping layers of aluminium mesh sheets which trap the dirt and grease in the tiny pores.
- Need to be cleaned every 1-2 weeks for maximum performance of the chimney.
- Fully greased filters will affect the chimney suction power since the pores will be blocked and air won’t be able to flow in. Excess oil can very easily drip down from the filters.
- Can be difficult to clean if not cleaned regularly with hot soapy water, and may need breaking down of the tough clogs with painter thinner or caustic soda.
- May have to be replaced earlier than baffle filters as the aluminium mesh can also wear out over time with the scrubbing and cleaning.
- Most suitable for Indian kitchens which cook from smaller families, hence putting less load on the chimney.
Charcoal/ Black Carbon Filter
- Have a layer of black charcoal granules which are primarily used to absorb odour.
- Cannot be cleaned; must be replaced every 3-6 months, depending upon the intensity of cooking.
- Recommended for Indian kitchen chimneys which process strong aromatic cuisines like in spicy regional dishes from Punjab, Bengal, etc. Used in addition to baffle or mesh filters. Popular filter in chimneys without pipes i.e. in ductless chimneys, which are used for low intensity cooking and don’t need separate oil-collecting and eliminating mechanisms; simply process odour in the cooking area.
Types of kitchen chimneys explained when to prefer which
How to choose the right type of chimney is just as important a question as having one. Depending upon your kitchen area and installation you can find the chimney most ideal for your needs. Types of kitchen chimneys can be sub categorised depending upon ducting and non-ducting features, design, and installation mounting.
Duct in kitchen chimney
- Chimneys with ducting pipes eliminate the hot rising air which contains harmful smoke, heat, and oil and spice particles.
- This added feature definitely costs more, but at the same time gives a better performance as unwanted particles suspended in the air are eliminated from the cooking area.
- This comes with hood chimneys with higher suction powers which are used in kitchens cooking strong flavourful cuisines which use more oil and spices.
- Such high power house chimneys definitely need more maintenance, be in terms of filter, motors, or ducting pipes.
- The ducting pipes may affect your kitchen aesthetics in case they are not built in the kitchen interiors.
Ductless kitchen chimney
- Ductless chimneys cannot eliminate the unwanted air from the kitchen. Rather they purify the air which contains harmful smoke and blows it back into the kitchen. This makes it ineffective in regulating the heat built-up in the kitchen, and is mostly used to purify the air of odour and any pungent smell persisting after cooking.
- This costs lesser than heavy use chimneys with elimination vents, but it also translates to poorer performance when compared.
- It is mostly seen in chimneys with lower suction powers, like in straight-line house chimneys.
- Such low power house chimneys need lesser maintenance as most of them would use carbon filters which cannot be cleaned, but again, the cost of changing filters every 3-6 months would be more.
- They do not affect your kitchen aesthetics.
Chimney designs can come in either of the 2 variants; Hood or Straight-line chimneys.
As the name suggests, they have a hood to cover the area directly above the gas stoves to cover maximum heat and smoke from the cooking surface. The smoke and steam rises and the heavy grease and dirt is separated in the filters. The remaining hot air and odour moves onto the vent and is eliminated with ducting pipes.
Instead of hoods, they have straight-line bodies like that of split air-conditioners. They suck in the gas and smoke from the covered area over the cooking stove and purify the odour and harmful particles using charcoal filters. No air from the kitchen is eliminated and the purified air is thrown back into the kitchen, it is ineffective on the heat and the heavy smoke produced in rich and gaudy cooking. Having no ducting pipes, they are best suited for kitchens which don’t have extra place for drilling extra pipes.
Depending upon the installation process, there are three different house chimney types, classified as;
The kitchen chimney is mounted against a wall for support. They can also be corner mounted chimneys, where two sides of the chimney are supported against the walls instead of one back side.
Ceiling-mounted Chimney or Island chimney
Best suited for island style modular kitchens where the chimney hangs down from the wall, directly above the cooking range.
It may either be a wall-mounted chimney or an island style chimney, which is built into the interior of the kitchen, hiding the body and ducting pipes of the chimney system completely.