Range hoods save you the trouble of inhaling all the smoke & odor while cooking. They use a duct pipe to route away the toxic air to the outdoors.
For maximum efficiency, you should install the duct pipe carefully. Most people either install a straight vertical pipe through the roof or horizontally through the exterior wall.
What if you don’t have such a privilege and need an alternative solution?
I can answer that easily, as I’ve had to go through the same situation while installing my range hood. Since no other option was left, I opted for basement venting.
You can also use your basement or crawlspace to route the duct and vent the air outside. But can you vent a range hood down through the basement?
Venting through the basement is not a problem if no choice exists. Use a powerful range hood (>600 CFM), adhere to the range hood duct length code, and vent the duct outside the house.
Apart from this, there are a few other things to remember while venting your range hood through the basement. But first, let’s look at the pros & cons of this approach.
Advantages of Venting a Range Hood Down Through The Basement
Venting through the basement should be your last choice. However, it’s not all bad. There are a few advantages you get with this venting option.
Perfect Choice for First (Main) Floor Kitchens
Venting through the basement is best if your kitchen is on the first (main/ground) floor. Moreover, if the basement lies directly beneath, the duct pipe length would be less, resulting in higher efficiency.
Can Use Remote Blower
When venting through the basement, you can use a remote blower at the venting end of your duct pipe. This helps you in several ways:
- The fan inside a hood is very noisy. Since the blower won’t be inside the hood but at the venting end, the kitchen will be noise-free.
- You can decide the power and type of blower depending on your situation. For more efficient venting, install a higher CFM remote blower.
Problems in Venting the Range Hood Through the Basement
As I said, only use this option if you don’t have any other choice. This is because you’ll face some issues while venting through your basement, just like I did. Let’s look at them.
Gravity Won’t Help You
Many people (including me) think that since their duct faces downward, gravity will help further pull down the smoke & oils. Well, that’s a false hope right there!
Here’s the truth:
Hot air is lighter than cold air and always rises above the surface. So, gravity won’t help you here. Even the oil & grease particles will deposit at the elbows due to the weight. In this case, a remote blower is what you need.
A Pricey Choice
Since you’ve opted to vent your range hood downwards, you’ll need a powerful range hood or remote blower, having high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). You’ll also need a good quality rigid duct to pass the smoke.
All these expenses will add up to become huge. So, if you’re considering venting your range hood through the basement, be prepared to spend a hefty sum.
Chances of Backdrafting
If the ductwork is too long or has several elbows, the smoke won’t be able to reach outside and will remain inside the duct pipe.
This can cause backdrafting, where outside air enters the duct, causing the smoke to flow back through the hood into the kitchen.
Another downside to basement venting is the risk of cold air backdrafts. In colder climates, outdoor air could travel up the ductwork and into your home, causing your heating system to work overtime. So, take preventative measures such as installing a damper to avoid this.
Venting Down Through the Basement: Tips to Follow
Passing the duct down through your basement is not always the feasible choice. However, by following some basic tips, you can ensure a smooth & effective installation.
Keep a Downward Slope
While installing the ductwork for your range hood, always keep the duct pipe on a downward slope. This will help the smoke to move through the duct pipe with ease.
Choose a Powerful Range Hood
Since the ductwork will go in a downward path, it’s necessary to have a range hood with a powerful blower. A low-power hood won’t be able to push the air out of the duct, causing a backdraft.
You can also install a remote blower before the venting point in your basement. This helps reduce noise in your kitchen and ensures all the smoke flows out to the exterior.
Vent the Duct Pipe to the Exterior
After you decide to install the ductwork in the basement, find and locate a suitable place to set up the discharge end of the duct pipe.
Always, and I repeat, always vent your range hood to the exterior. If you vent your hood inside the basement, the grease will deposit all over the place. With time, the surrounding moisture will result in mold & fungus growth, leading to serious health problems.
Follow the Range Hood Duct Length Code
The duct length code specifies the total length of a duct pipe from the hood to the discharge point. Several factors affect this code, including range hood power, number of elbows/bends in the duct pipe, type of duct pipe, etc.
Different brands have different types of instructions regarding the length of the duct pipe.
However, as a rule of thumb, a domestic range hood with 400-500 CFM should have a duct pipe length of 30-35 feet. Anything more than this will decrease the efficiency of your range hood.
Apart from this, the 90-degree turns (elbows) should also be as minimal as possible (maximum 3).
Each elbow in your duct pipe eats up 10 feet of length from the suggested distance. So, if there are two elbows in the ductwork, the total length of the duct pipe should be 15 feet (35-10-10=15).
To solve this problem, choose the shortest route for your duct pipe to go through the basement, and keep the elbows minimal.
Follow Building and Safety Regulations
When venting your range hood down through the basement, ensure that you follow all the building regulations & guidelines of your locality. Consult with a professional or local authorities for help if you’re unsure.
Apart from the building code, you should also follow all the safety precautions while installing the ductwork. Make sure to use fire-resistant materials, quality electric wiring, and a rigid hood of good quality.
You don’t want to get in trouble with the authorities over your range hood ductwork.
Hire a Professional For the Installation
It’s not advisable to install the range hood all by yourself. Your house has different types of important components (joists, studs, sill plate, etc.).
Damaging anything while trying to install could lead to another huge expense or permanently damage your house’s structure.
To solve this problem, hire a professional to do the job. Show them your house’s plan, and they’ll help you decide the best route for your ductwork.
Venting your range hood down through the basement is not an impossible feat. You can vent your range hood through the floor to the basement, leading to the outside. However, only choose to do so if you don’t have any other option left.
Though this method has certain disadvantages, if you follow some basic suggestions, you can avoid those.
- Keep the duct pipe on a downward slope.
- Vent your range hood to the exterior, not inside the basement. You don’t want grim & grease buildup in your basement.
- Buy a powerful range hood that keeps your kitchen smoke-free.
- Follow the length code for your range hood ductwork. You can find the length instructions on the user’s manual of the range hood.
- Follow building and safety regulations.
- Hire a professional for the installation job.
Now that you’re equipped with all the knowledge, there’s no need to wait anymore. Set up your range hood and get back to cooking delicious meals as soon as possible!