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hood/exhaust woes

wisekaren's picture

Just got a 36" Viking range with a grilltop and a Viking hood. We tried grilling a few times but the kitchen still got smoky. We could see some smoke floating up into the hood, but the rest was floating up into the kitchen, instead of it all being sucked up into the hood. We could see smoke leaving the house via the proper flapper thingy, so we know there's no obstruction. I called Viking; they said we should have been sold the 1200 cfm motor instead of the 600 cfm one we got. The appliance store said they'd be happy to exchange that for us, but they've never had a problem with anyone using the grilltop with a 600 before. Their tech came out and said that the problem could be that there are several bends in the ductwork leading outside. These are not 90-degree angles, mind you, just slight twists and turns, and the whole run is just 2-3 feet total. Now I don't know what to think! Anyone have any ideas? TIA!


MadMom's picture

(post #53825, reply #1 of 23)

Sounds like your local appliance dealer is trying to sell you some snake oil.  We had some problems with our Dacor vent, and our builder tried to tell us it was installed properly, but our long (2') run had some turns in it.  Finally got the Dacor people out, and they replaced the fan motor with a newer model, and it is great.  Just my humble opinion, but if they are willing to replace the 600 cfm with a 1200 cfm, I'd go for it.

Insist on the real MadMom - accept no substitutes!

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #53825, reply #2 of 23)

I have the 600 with a 30-inch viking and have no problems with the sucking power.  I only have 1 bend.  My understanding is that every bend you make has a significant impact.


SallyBR's picture

(post #53825, reply #3 of 23)

I only have one bend...

You mean, your hood does... right?  I was under the assumption that you are a pretty straight fellow


Wolvie's picture

(post #53825, reply #9 of 23)

hmmm - you been talking to Mad Mom? ;-)

(couldn't resist!!)

Woe to the cook whose sauce has no sting
- Chaucer


wisekaren's picture

(post #53825, reply #4 of 23)

Meanchef, do you have the grilltop?

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #53825, reply #5 of 23)

No, I do not.


wisekaren's picture

(post #53825, reply #6 of 23)

Hmmm, 'cause that's when our trouble started. The exhaust seemed OK with regular burner and oven cooking, but when I slapped a couple of rib eyes on the grill...LOOK OUT!


MEANCHEF's picture

(post #53825, reply #7 of 23)

That is why I don't have one.  I keep the grilling outdoors.

Replace it with a griddle.


Marie0507's picture

(post #53825, reply #8 of 23)

I have a friend with an indoor grill and an enormous hood that covers both a 6 burner stove and this grill. Whenever I'm over there and he's grilling, the whole kitchen gets smoky. I think he rather likes it, but I echo the others' comments: go for the more powerful hood, and if that doesn't work, see if you can exchange it for a griddle.

wisekaren's picture

(post #53825, reply #10 of 23)

Gosh, I hope the more powerful exhaust works. I agonized over the grill vs. griddle decision and decided that you can get the effect of a griddle with the add-on double-burner-size griddle accessory (which my best friend bought me as a gift!), but you can't approximate the grill, so I went with the grill. We use our outdoor grill as often as possible. The previous owners of our house ingeniously rigged it up so it not only uses the house's natural gas (no more empty propane tanks!) but it faces a sliding window in our mudroom, so we grill year-round (even when it's snowing!) while standing barefoot in the house. However, it's still a problem when it's very windy or rainy. I'm not even sure you can just swap the grill for the griddle on the Viking anyhow; I think the entire cooktop would be affected (control knobs etc.). Sigh.

Marie0507's picture

(post #53825, reply #11 of 23)

I have one of those two burner griddles (mine sits on top of the grates.) I think it works just fine. I, too, grill all year round, although mine is about 10 steps away! I like the visual of setting it up by a window.

TessaK's picture

(post #53825, reply #12 of 23)

I'm late to the game here, but just thought I'd throw in our experience. Not sure how much it's worth, as we don't have a grill, just 6 burners. Our viking hood is 900 cfm, has exhaust pipe to the outside of at least 10 or 12 ft with 2 fairly major turns. However, the pipe diameter is BIG (12"? something like that) and the suction is enormous. One of the metal parts that is visible from below (not sure what it's called) had to be velcroed down because it would clatter because of the suction.

Anyway, I hope your new hood fixes the problem!

PeterDurand's picture

(post #53825, reply #13 of 23)


Sorry to be so late answering. Looking back to when I had my house built I remembered that the builder told me that I would have to install a duplicate fan somewhere else in the house to let the air in.

There is a 1200cfm above the cooktop and the house is is quite airtight (it met the R2000 standard). Although it does have an air to air heat exchanger that replaces the air 2 to 3 times an hour, it operates in such a fashion that the house has no pressure on the walls/windows.

So I went for it. Its attached to the same switch and located in another part of the house. When all was said and done, I wondered if I had been taken for a ride. Easy to find out. Turned it on to full and it lifted a kleenix fron just above the cooktop and sucked it fast to the grease trap. Then unpluged the inlet fan and tried again. The kleenix would not even stay on the grease trap when I put it there. So they were right.

I wonder if opening a window or some such thing would help?

Good luck


wisekaren's picture

(post #53825, reply #14 of 23)

In case anyone's interested: Well, first we went and got the 1200 motor and it did NOT swap easily with the 600 -- can't remember the specifics, but we ended up returning it (with tail between legs) immediately. So we kept the 600 and then had our ductwork replaced to have a larger diameter the whole way (the previous one reduced to a 10 x 3 rectangle) and with as few bends as possible. It now works almost perfectly. When grilling something really greasy, like lamb chops, there is a little bit of smoke that doesn't make it to the exhaust, but it isn't a problem. It is certainly better than before. It also helps to use the back part of the grill more than the front.


PeterDurand's picture

(post #53825, reply #15 of 23)

Glad it turned out OK.



TessaK's picture

(post #53825, reply #16 of 23)

Sounds like that ductwork did the trick. Glad to hear you got it resolved!

JoeB2's picture

(post #53825, reply #17 of 23)

Hi, I'm Joe =)

I know this is an old thread but wanted to know if you guys

that are happy with your exhaust hoods can blacken.

I have a "Best" 1200 CFM hood, with one 90 degree turn and about

a 15' run but I still can't blacken without filling the kitchen up

with acrid smoke.

gjander's picture

(post #53825, reply #18 of 23)

I haven't technically blackened anything yet, but I do produce lots of smoke when pan searing and mine handles that very well.  While we're on the topic, I did encounter a somewhat unexpected and very unpleasant problem with my hood a couple of nights ago.  Monday we built a fire in the adjacent living room for the first time since our kitchen remodel.  All was well until cranked up the hood before I started browning a pork roast for a braise.  When I did that the draw from the hood was more powerful than the draw from the chimney and all the smoke from the fire was sucked out of the fireplace and into the kitchen/living room setting off the smoke alarms.  We ended up having to move the smoldering logs outside before the air would clear.


ZippyZoom's picture

(post #53825, reply #20 of 23)


We must have been posting at the same time!  The fireplace problem you describe is a classic effect of a lack of make-up air.   Be aware that your fan is probably always pulling air down the chimney- you just don't notice it until there is a fire in the fireplace....


gjander's picture

(post #53825, reply #21 of 23)

I've noticed it before when I'll occasionally find a fine layer of ash on the coffee table after I've been running the hood on high.  Not sure what to do about it though.  I guess cracking a window in the kitchen would help.  We tried that the other night but it was hard to tell if it was making a difference...

ZippyZoom's picture

(post #53825, reply #19 of 23)

Hi Joe-

There is an interesting discussion of fans and hoods in the current Kitchen and Bath special issue of Fine Homebuilding.  One of the sidebars in the article discusses the importance of make-up air in exhaust fan performance.   If your current fan is installed correctly with the proper size duct pipe, and your 90 degree turn is okay by the manufacturer, your fan performance may be affected by a lack of makeup air (you are trying to s u c k air out of a vacuum).

I use a 1200 cfm Vent-A-Hood with twin 8" duct pipes and a 20' straight run to above the roof.  The hood itself is wider than the cooking surface by 3" on either side.  It does an excellent job of moving smoke out, but I find it is even more effective if I open a window to allow a source of fresh air to the fan.  I would not recommend doing this if the fan vented anywhere near the window.  I don't do a lot of blackening, but I often pan-sear which also can create copious quantities of smoke.  My fan handles this well.



Edited 10/30/2002 1:54:06 PM ET by Zippy Zoom

JoeB2's picture

(post #53825, reply #22 of 23)

Hi Zippy,


Thanks for the response. I've tried opening the door and windows in the kitchen but that didn't help.. perhaps if I tried opening a window in another room.

Searing, it does a fine job with.. but blackening produces billows of thick heavy smoke. I'm wondering if its just too much. Its a bummer since [secretly] that is why I bought the vent and splurged on the 15k BTU stove top in the first place.

I love to blacken =)




Edited 10/30/2002 7:17:38 PM ET by JoeB

MessyCook's picture

(post #53825, reply #23 of 23)

I have absolutely no problems, my unit vents like crazy.   Perhaps (the open window confirms this) the problem lies in the fact that most of our homes our well insulated and super-sealed to preserve energy.  Turning on your fan (without an open window or make-up air unit) causes your home to be negative balanced.  A make-up air unit would likely solve this, ours goes on automaticaly when I turn on the fan.  Most units in colder climes pre-warm the fresh air coming in so you don't cool your home as you would when opening a window.