Repairing a vent hood with a cover

Ashley Lathrop
November 7, 2019

We are designing our kitchen and want a white shaker style cover over the vent hood. Are you able to remove or repair the vent hood in case it needs servicing? How does that work if it has a cover over it?? My contractor says they don’t get many requests for the covers so he’s not familiar.

Comments (16)

  • kaseki

    Although I don't have such a hood, I believe I can provide some insight in lieu of others with hood inserts not yet commenting.

    The type of hood used under a cover (cabinetry) is called an insert. It differs from an exposed metal hood by not having a finished exterior. Like all hoods it has some type of filter assembly to capture grease, and may have an internal blower. (Else it has an in-line duct blower or external to the house blower.) It will usually contain a control for the blower speed, and a control for lights. Repairs would be expected to be rare, but if needed performed from the inside via the underneath, so removal of the cover, or even the hood insert itself would not normally be needed.

    Nonetheless, I would recommend attaching the insert and building the cover such that removal of the cover, and removal of the hood be feasible.

    All safety requirements described in the insert's installation manual must be observed. I would not proceed with purchase without having a down-loaded copy of the installation manual in hand, with a copy made for the cabinet maker.

  • mackdolan

    You needs operable doors for service in one local municipality. They won’t accept that you have to drop the whole liner to be able to access the guts or the electrical supply. They want you to be able to open the door and unplug it as the emergency disconnect that all appliances require.

  • Ashley Lathrop

    What kind of hood is an insert? I haven’t seen that type in my research? Making the cover operable seems like a logical conclusion but I worry about what that would look like.

  • mackdolan

    The insert is the mechanical guts that gets covered by the custom wood skin that is the pretty parts. You don’t cover a standard metal hood. You need the filtration, lights, motors, ducting. That’s what the insert does. You’re looking at 4-8K for the average wood hood with insert. Which is why a stainless chimney hood remains popular.

  • M

    Our hood has a small cabinet panel right above it. It's hinged at the top. Normally, it would stay closed at all times, as we mounted our hood relatively high (above 6'). So, the panel really isn't easily accessible during day-to-day use. But if access to the hood's mechanical parts is needed, it can easily be done from either underneath or after flipping up the cabinet panel.

    Both the cabinet maker and the general contractor should know all these things. If they don't, that would be a bit of a red flag to me. There are only a handful of different ways that a hood can be installed, and contractors should have encountered all of them.

  • Shannon_WI

    If your contractor “is not familiar” with a cabinet-enclosed hood, you have 2 options: (1) get a regular metal hood, and bypass the cabinet hood. It’ll be cheaper, easier, and more wipeable anyway, or (2) get a new contractor who is knowledgeable and has experience in kitchen cabinetry.

    How wide will your hood be? A cabinet-enclosed hood is not that good of a look if it’s less than 36” wide. The proportions are off.

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork

    This is what they look like on average.

    They serve as the :guts" of your wood hood. Something like this. You can see it underneath the wood hood.

    The wood hood would have to have removable access panels to access the controls etc.

  • Ashley Lathrop

    Thank for your help. It will be 36" wide and those 2 options really aren't helpful. My contractor is great, they know how to duct things and they work a lot with Kraftsmaid, so I'm sure this will be something they can figure out. He just said he hasn't gotten many requests for it. This is more for my information so I can start shopping and get educated. Thanks Filipe for the link, now I know what to look and shop for in terms of the hood itself. So in your photo the top enclosure can be opened?

  • Stacy

    When we refinished our kitchen, we covered the existing stainless hood with wooden panels. The inside of the hood is accessible from underneath. The one regret that I have when completing the remodel is the hood. We have a Viking hood that is very loud. If I were to do it again, I would buy the external hood.

  • Ashley Lathrop

    @Stacy can you swap the hood for a quieter one? Is that why you are regretting it?

  • Stacy

    We opted to save the existing appliances since they were relatively new and high end. We bought this house and remodeled the kitchen shortly after moving in. The kitchen was not functional and we did not use it much so I never noticed how loud the hood is. When it breaks, I will see if I can retrofit it for the motor to be located outside. It literally sounds like an airplane when running even on lower speeds and you cannot carry on a conversation while cooking.

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork

    Yes, Kraftmaid wood hoods will have an access panel for the controls. The door fronts will be moveable. Ask your kitchen designer to provide you with the specs of the wood hood so you can take those to the appliance center and they will suggest options that will fit your hood as well as the needs of the stove. I do suggest the wood hood be wider than the stove. He probably has not had requests bc many are doing stainless and modern styles that do not call for a wood hood. You should be fine.

  • M

    We have a (very old) Viking hood in our in-law unit. Back then, Viking didn't build their own hoods, but instead attached their label to a Vent-A-Hood. I am not sure whether this is still the case.

    But in the end, it doesn't really matter whether it's a Vent-A-Hood or a more traditional design. I discovered that the motor is only part of what makes noise. The baffles (or in the case of VAH, the squirrel cages) inevitably make a good amount of noise. That's where the air has to be redirected so that grease can be extracted.

    We now have a ModernAire hood with an integrated fan. When going at full speed (which we regularly do when cooking smellier foods), it is quite noisy. About on par with our VAH going at full speed.

    But if I step outside of the house, where the hood vents, I can barely hear it, even though the duct is not all that long. So, I am sure all the noise is from the baffles rather than the fans. A remote blower would absolute not have helped in our situation.

    Also, we already attached some sound proofing to the duct work and to the parts of the hood that are inside of our cabinets. I am not sure how much it helps, but it probably contributes to the low noise on the outside. Heavy bitumen mats go a long way towards eliminating unwanted vibrations.

    To summarize, you can do a bunch of things to reduce noise. But you won't make a hood whisper quiet, unless you turn down the flow rate a lot. And depending on what you're cooking, that might not be an option.

  • kaseki

    Baffle turbulence noise should be more akin to a hiss, and in any case will ususally be less than the turbulence noise generated at the tips of the fan blades, which are moving relative to the air at a much faster rate than the air relative to the baffles in a conventional hood system. The solution to noise is to move the blower outside (or at least downstream in the duct) and insert a silencer, if there is room, between the blower and hood. Further attenuation can result from selecting blowers that are oversized and operated at lower-than-max RPM. (Note: My baffles were made by Independent for Wolf, other designs may be noisier.)

    The VaH configuration does not allow blower replacement with an exterior blower as the VaH blower is also the grease extractor. If a VaH hood shell is critical to keep, then baffle assemblies that fit would have to be acquired and a sheet metal holder for them would have to be designed and fab'd in a local shop. An example of a baffle assembly may be seen in the link below. Flame Gard has a more extensive line than this, and in any case Flame Gard is only one example.


    Disclaimer: I have a metal fabrication friend who used Flame Gard baffle assemblies in a yacht refurbishment.

  • M

    I would so have loved to install a remote blower and an inline silencer, but site conditions and rather strict enforcement of building codes made this a no-go. But not for lack of trying. I think my HVAC guy still hates me for all the questions that I asked him about potential solutions :-)

    And I do agree that fan noise is a good bit of a contributor to the noise of our hood. So, yes, a remote blower would have been some improvement. But I still feel noise from the baffles is a bigger factor. The noise level drops quite a bit if I operate the hood without the baffles installed.

    On the other hand, I do think that ModernAire installed a rather powerful fan compared to the baffles. Even when configured correctly, the baffles are always noisy. But if I accidentally install them upside-down, then there is a very loud and annoying high-pitched whistling sound. Whenever our cleaning person gets this wrong, it immediately gets noticed. And even if I do everything correctly, at full power the baffles lift up a little bit. That fan is quite something.

    The good news is, when operating at full speed, the hood works really well and contains the vast majority of cooking smells. For less smelly foods, I can of course turn down power by about 50%, and then the noise is a little better. And the baffles do seem to do their job of removing grease from the air. I need to wash the baffles quite regularly, because of grease that they capture. Fortunately, it's just a quick trip to the dishwasher. So, very easy to do.

    There is one nitpick with our hood as over time, a little bit of grease pools outside of the baffles in the hood itself; and eventually it drips down in one corner. My work-around is a paper towel that I hide on the inside of the hood. And everytime that I clean the baffles, I also replace this towel. It's a little MacGyver'd, but it does the job.

  • jhmarie

    I bought an unfinished wood hood and the liner and insert recommended by the hood company. I have a small kitchen and the simple 30" wood hood, liner, insert and labor combined was $1000 a few years ago. I got a Broan 390cfm insert vent which is adequate for my cooking style. A finished hood in 36" made to match your cabinets and /or with higher cfm will be more. The style I bought comes in different wood species and different widths.

    This is where I purchased mine from:

    Ashley Lathrop thanked jhmarie

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