by Lucinda Gunnin
If your kitchen could use an update, installing a range hood is an effective way to change the look and feel of the entire room. A range hood is a great way to reduce cooking odors and excess heat from your kitchen. The range hood helps prevent grease build-up around your stove by pulling the vapors from cooking up into the hood and its filters. When you're looking at range hoods, the most significant choice is between a range hood vent that vents to the outside or an under cabinet range hood that simply pulls the air through a filter. With a few tools and some planning, you can install a range hood yourself.
Measure your installation area. Measure the stove top or the space above the stove where the hood will go to determine the maximum dimensions of the range hood. If there are cabinets in the area, you'll need to measure the space between them as well.
Order a range hood that fits. Kitchens without an outside wall will do better with a filter range hood that doesn't vent to the outside. If you're installing a range hood that vents to the exterior of the house, your stove must be on an exterior wall. Otherwise, you will need a contractor to install ductwork from the vent hood to properly vent vapors from the stove. For either option, choose a range hood that will work with the measurements from Step 1.
Mark the position for the range hood. Center the range hood above the stove and attach to the wall with temporary screws. Use small screws, because you'll be reusing these holes when you permanently attach the range hood. Use a pencil to mark the hole for the vent and for the wiring attachments on the wall. Remove the range hood from the wall.
Cut the vent hole. This hole will extend all the way to the outside.
Find and mark the studs in the wall. Go outside and identify the area where the vent duct will exit the exterior wall. Check for obstructions on the outside wall and inside the wall before drilling the holes. You may want to remove any siding, shingles or other exterior covering before cutting.
From inside the house, use an extended drill bit to drill a hole in each corner of the region where the duct will go. Drill completely through to the outer wall as you will use the drill holes as a guide to cut the vent hole in the outer wall. Also drill a hole where you marked for the electrical cable. With a drywall hand saw, cut out a hole in the drywall for the vent and another for the wiring.
On the outside wall, using the reciprocating saw, make the cut-out for the vent. Use the drilled holes as your guide.
Install the vent duct. After referring to the manufacturers' instructions, install the vent duct into the hole you've made. Depending on the range hood, you may need to seal the edges of the duct on the inside and outside wall. Use silicone caulking around the inside of the vent flange before screwing it to the outside wall. Apply another bead of caulk around the outside of the flange. If you've removed siding or other exterior wall covering, replace it now to fit around the new duct. Be sure the vent is not obstructed.
Disconnect the electricity to the kitchen. Feed the electrical wires through the opening in the range hood and attach them to the old range hood wiring according to the manufacturer's instructions. If there was no installed range hood in that location, you may need to run new wires through the ceiling to that location.
Re-mount the range hood to the wall. Have someone hold the range hood in place while you reattach it to the wall using the supplied screws or drywall anchors. Mount the light and filter assembly (if it's a filter model) back into the range hood. Turn the electricity back on and test the range hood to ensure the van works properly. Also, check the exterior vent to be sure the air is venting unobstructed.
Because your range hood is being installed near other major appliances, the potential exists for it to be near electrical wiring or a gas access pipe for the range. Identify the location of all gas lines before you begin cutting or drilling into kitchen walls.