The extractor hood is a very useful tool in the kitchen. It draws in cooking vapours – so-called waste steam – and stores particles and odours in filters. This principle is the same with all extractor hoods, whether exhaust air or recirculation models. The result: fresh air in the kitchen; the room and your clothes do not smell of food for hours afterwards and the kitchen units and walls are not covered with a sticky layer of grease. So far, so good. However: despite all of its uses, the conventional extractor hood also has its drawbacks.
Drawbacks of the extractor hood
Drawback 1: lack of headroom
You’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t hit their head on an extractor hood at one time or another. Not surprising, seeing as they’re installed at head height over the cooktop to catch cooking vapours as they rise. Bumping your head on the hood can be quite painful. This is why special hoods are now available on the market that are out of reach. But these slanting or flat-to-the-wall extraction systems designed to give you more headroom require space over the cooktop, which takes us to the second drawback of extractor hoods.
Drawback 2: no storage space
Even in the case of space-saving extractor solutions, the appliance takes up room that could be used for wall units. Extractors built into the kitchen units such as integrated, visor or telescopic extractor hoods still leave only enough room for a narrow spice rack. In smaller kitchens especially this can be a real challenge for kitchen planners – and if they can’t solve the problem, it then becomes a problem for the person using the kitchen. (Photo: Modular Küchen)
Drawback 3: it spoils the appearance of an open kitchen
Even in larger kitchens, extractor hoods often pose a problem for architects. Especially when the design is open plan with a kitchen island. Island hoods, which hang from the ceiling, always manage to spoil the view. This is why design lovers prefer to opt for extractor hoods that are built into the ceiling – provided that there is a power supply above the cooktop. In older buildings, for example, this is rarely the case. Such ceiling extractors have another drawback: on the ceiling they are further away from the cooktop and don’t draw away cooking vapours as effectively. The cooking vapours are dispersed in the air before they can get there.
Drawback 4: the noise of the extractor hood
In many kitchens it’s impossible to have a conversation when the extractor is on. Here are a couple of figures that explain why: on average, the volume of an extractor hood when running is approx. 63 decibels. A conversation between two people usually takes place at a volume of between 50 and 60 decibels. What’s more, the motors in the extractor hood which are responsible for the noise are at head height, whether its a conventional or built-in extractor hood, meaning that it’s right there where the conversation is taking place.
Drawback 5: hard to clean
If you use your extractor hood often, it will need cleaning from time to time. Although you can remove parts like metal filters and clean them in the dishwasher, you need to wipe and scrub the surfaces of the extractor hood by hand – both inside and out. This is a time-consuming job that can be quite hard work. What’s more, it’s impossible to reach all areas of many extractor hoods without a ladder. You need to be a contortionist to access difficult-to-reach places and this can be an accident waiting to happen.