Here's a guest post from Britannia Living - telling us all about their Best brand island cooker hoods and how to use them. The brand was introduced to the UK at a trade show a couple of years ago - and very impressive the hoods looked too; they were quite a talking point. Here's one I incorporated into one of my kitchen designs (the Secret):
Kitchen islands are a popular feature especially for open plan kitchens. Having a hob installed in an island rather than close to the wall creates interesting opportunities as well as challenges for extraction. Here we explain what you need to think about when choosing an island cooker hood?
The first thing most people will consider is the design of their cooker hood. Recent years have seen significant changes in the design of island hoods. It wasn’t that long ago that all you could choose was an “upside down T” shaped or a pyramid style hood. Now, there’s almost too much choice. A lot of island hoods don’t even look like cooker hoods. Some look more like iconic lighting designs, while others such as the Double Vertigo (pictured) looks like a piece of art.
When choosing an island hood, make sure your choice suits your kitchen style. Are you looking for a commercial look or something more subtle? Are you after something that doesn’t look like an extractor?
It looks good if some of the design cues in the kitchen and the dining area are the same, especially if you have an open plan space. BEST pendant cooker hoods not only look like lighting designs, they all feature halogen lighting.
You could have the same pendant hood above your hob and above your dining table, too! It’s a great way to create a link between the cooking and the dining areas and can help improve air circulation in the dining area. For optimum lighting, choose an extractor with at least 2 halogen lights of 20W each. For a more environmentally friendly option, consider a hood with LED lighting.
Don’t assume that all cooker hoods are stainless steel; while it continues to be a popular option you can also choose hoods in chrome, black, white, red – there are even hoods that are customizable to match your kitchen design, such as the Secret island extractor by BEST which is one of Majjie’s favourite BEST hoods. You can have your cooker hood in the same finish as your work surface, splashback or kitchen cabinets.
You should make sure that your ceiling is sound and has adequate strength for mounting an island hood. Check the weight of your island hood with the retailer - if you are concerned about the weight, check with your installer. Also, if you have your hood ducted out, you should consider the direction of the joists!
Ceiling height can be an issue when you are installing an island hood. Fortunately, most extractors are adjustable to fit various ceiling heights. An extractor should be installed no lower than 65cm above your hob. If you have a period house, it may have high ceilings which will require extra consideration when selecting a hood. In some cases this can be resolved with the use of a lengthening pole, allowing you to set the extractor at a suitable height. This is particularly effective for pendant hoods such as the Moon (pictured) from BEST, which can be set to suit a ceiling up to a height of 3.6m.
If you’d prefer a hood that can be ducted out, look for a chimney style hood with a height adjustable design, such as the Lipari (pictured).
Ducting out is preferred if you are able to do so, especially if your kitchen is not well ventilated and you have problems with condensation. It’s also preferable if you have an open-plan kitchen and you entertain regularly. A ducted hood will circulate at least 30% more air than hoods in recycling mode and it will also remove steam. Before deciding on ducting out, check the route for the ducting – it will need to run parallel to the joists in your ceiling.
The extraction rate you need depends on the size of your kitchen. The following formula calculates your recommended extraction rate:
kitchen height x kitchen length x kitchen width x 10
If your kitchen is 2.4m high, 5m long and 4m wide, you will require a hood with an extraction rate of 2.4m x 5m x 4m x 10 = 480 m3/h.
You should also consider that a larger extractor has a larger catchment area. It will therefore be more effective over a larger hob area than a smaller extractor. However, some narrow hoods have a relatively high extraction rate (630 m3/h) to compensate for the smaller catchment area. For a 90cm hob, you can choose to install a larger extractor or have a pair of narrow extractors.
Noise levels vary depending on the selected speed level. As a guideline, make sure you select a hood with a noise level of less than 50 dB for the lowest speed. If you have your hood ducted out, then use the recommended ducting size. It’s also best to have a short ducting with as few bends as possible – this also reduces the noise level. Lastly, if you switch on your cooker hood just before you start cooking, then you may not need to use a higher (and noisier) speed level.
Downdraft cooker hoods and ceiling hoods are relatively new alternatives to island cooker hoods. Both types of hoods have the advantage that they don’t block the view from the kitchen to your dining area.
Downdraft cooker hoods are installed behind the hob and are neatly hidden below the work top when they are not in use. There is no need to worry about ceiling height at all! Most downdraft hoods are suitable for ducting out or recirculation. BEST downdraft models can also be installed with a remote motor, freeing up more space in your island units and making them quieter.
Ceiling hoods are a recent addition to the cooker hood market, but their popularity has been growing fast. Ceiling cooker hoods are built into your ceiling and are available for ducting out only.
BEST offers a wide choice of cooker hoods – not just island hoods! The company was established in Fabriano, Italy in 1976. A pioneer in cooker hood design, BEST introduced the world’s first decorative hood designs in the 1980s. As the exclusive UK distributor, Britannia Living Ltd provides full support and technical advice for all BEST hoods.