Is A Vent Required For An Electric Cooktop?

To vent or to not vent, this is a question. But did you know there are legitimate safety reasons for having venting over electric cooktops? In return, violating the venting requirements could lead to severe health and safety hazards.

As a general rule, venting is required directly above anywhere that you cook. That includes an electric cooktop.

In this article, we will go through why venting is mandatory above your cooktop, available venting options you can choose, and how much it may cost you to install a ventilation system.

Why You’d Want Venting Above Any Cooktop

Some may consider electric tops safer because it doesn’t create an open fire. One may even use that to argue that you don’t need a vent above an electric cooktop. After all, it’s quite self-explanatory why a gas cooktop would require a venting.

However, it’s not the type of cooktop that matters. It’s what you cook that makes venting necessary. Unless you never eat anything other than cold sandwiches, salads, and oatmeal, then you must have a vent above your cooktop. Period.

Purpose of Having a Vent Above an Electric Cooktop

Just because the electric cooktop doesn’t seem as hot and fiery as a gas cooktop may be, it still creates the same issues in the kitchen.

A vent above an electric cooktop can:

Control odors: One of the most important purposes of a ventilation system is to control the smell created by cooking. Would you want your house to smell like fried chicken for the next three days? Probably not.

Control humidity: Another key function of ventilation is to condense and control humidity. This is crucial because it also helps avoid mold from growing in your kitchen, especially ceiling corners.

Extract heat: It may be okay using that extra heat during wintertime, but what about warmer weather? You need a vent to extract the heat from your kitchen to the outside.

Capture grease: The ventilation system captures grease and grease steam so you don’t end up with oily kitchen walls.

In short, having a vent above an electric cooktop will keep your kitchen healthier, safer, and longer-lasting.

Available Venting Systems In The Market

Like all other appliances and furniture, you have endless choices when it comes to ventilation systems.

Simply put, there are three main categories of venting systems available in the market:

  • A ventilation hood
  • A range hood, and
  • An exhaust fan.

At the end of the day, ventilation efficiency is what makes one system more suitable than the other.

The Ventilation Efficiency

Ventilation efficiency is determined by the amount of air the system removes per minute (CFM). The volume of air is calculated using cubic feet.

You’d want your CFM to match, if not greater than the cooktop’s energy output (BTU). For example, a cooktop with 10,000 BTU will need a ventilation system with at least 100CFM. This means the vent removes 100 cubic feet of air per minute.

Therefore, certain systems are more suitable for one type of cooktop than the other. To make things easier for you, we decided to put everything into a simple chart first before going into details.

CFM Requirements for Different Types of Cooktops

Type of Cooktop Required CFM
Gas cooktop  400
Electric stoves 150 – 350
Professional kitchen-grade stovetop 600+

Mind you that electric fryers are considered as a gas cooktop. That aside, you have everything you need to find the most suitable vent for your cooktop.

Venting for Electric Cooktops

Regardless, let’s take a deeper look at venting for electric cooktops.

First of all, most state mandates a ventilation system above an electric cooktop. Although most residential homes probably won’t face the risk of getting busted by an inspector, you still want to make sure your kitchen is safe and healthy. Next, decide how your ventilation system setup should be according to the position and size of your electric cooktop.

Updraft Ventilation

The most common approach is to build a vent directly above the cooktop. In this case, you will use a range hood that sucks air upwards from the stoves. This solution is the most cost-efficient because hot air rises to the top naturally.

Downdraft Ventilation

This usually requires a built-in vent on your cooktop that pulls the air downward and back in. If you have an island setup, then your cooktop may already have a vent built within.

Note: This is the only time when you don’t have to install a vent over the cooktop.

Ductless Ventilation System

Many homeowners didn’t know that ductless systems only filtered certain pollutants and not others. Some would even be released back out. So if you are using a ductless system, make sure the duct goes to the outside of the house.

Fan-Powered Ducted Range Hood

Similar to an updraft system, the fan twists the air and pulls the pollutants and heat “up” into the duct. This setup is less energy-efficient because the air is actually being dragged along the side of the duct.

So if you are going with this system, make sure the fan or blower you choose is designed to lessen air-dragging and enhance energy efficiency.

How Much Does it Cost to Put Up A Vent For An Electric Cooktop?

And Alas! Finally, the money question. The product cost varies quite significantly depending on what brand and type of ventilation system you are going with. Therefore, we will only discuss the labor costs in this section.

If you bought a new product from a name-brand, sometimes they will offer free on-site installation. But if you got a vent from other places, from Home Depot to second-hand sources, then you will need to hire a technician to handle the installation.

Depending on the complexity of your installation, it typically costs $200-$500 to install your ventilation system. Or, pay an hourly rate of at least $85 per hour if you want to work with someone legitimate, trustworthy, and offer aftercare services.

Vent installation is one of the projects we don’t recommend anyone to take on by himself or herself. This project is quite complicated that most homeowners are not qualified to perform the job.

A professional technician will also be more familiar with your local building codes when it comes to kitchen appliances. As the old saying goes, if you are going to do it, do it right.

Related Questions

What are some of the best range hoods and vents I can buy?

Some of the best-rated range hoods, as of 2020, include:

  • Broan-NuTone 42-Inch Range Hood (190 CFM) with a duo-speed operation
  • FIREBIRD Euro Style Island Mount Range Hood (343 CFM) with a three-speed operation
  • Broan-NuTone Under-Cabinet Range Hood (160 CFM)

How do I know if my cooktop has a built-in vent?

The quickest way to find out is by checking your product manual. If you no longer have that with you, try calling the customer service line.

Also, if your cooktop does come with a built-in vent, chances are you will find a switch or button that says “venting” or something similar. And as a last resort, you can always google as long as you know your cooktop’s brand and model.

Where can I find a certified installation technician?

Check your local’s Angie’s List for certified ventilation system installation technicians. You usually find the best deals there. Another solution is to call Home Depot.

They usually offer onsite installation services even if you didn’t buy the vent from them. Their pricing is quite fair as well.