Cook top in kitchen island

We are remodeling a mountain house (second home) and are adding an island with a gas cook top. The inspector doesn't require a vent. What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of vents for this purpose?
  14 answers
  • 3po3 3po3 on Oct 15, 2012
    I would get a range hood that is properly vented to the outside for any kitchen. On the rare (ha ha) occassion that I have burned something on the stove, it's important for getting the smoke and smell out of there quickly. More importantly, gas burners produce carbon monoxide and other pollutants that you want to vent out of the home. Just my opinion. You'll probably get some others.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 16, 2012
    A lot of this will depend on what you cook...your cooking style and what aesthetic you are after. As a second home you will not be cooking as much?... and then are the foods prepared more heat and serve? or are you deep frying chickens on the stove top? A lot of the homes I do work in have a basic over the range vent hood that does not vent anywhere but right back into the room. The manufacturers of these "hoods" insist that a different type of "filter" is used for trapping odors etc. This is generally an aftermarket charcoal version. What I feel is more important than the vent is some decent lighting over the cook top, so You see what is going on in the pot. Even with a high end vent that moves a lot of air ( my brother has a high end kitchen with 6 burner commercial grade range) you will still have aerosols produced of a somewhat oily nature, this residue will still need to be cleaned up in the vicinity of the cook top. For our really messing cooking I use my outdoor BBQ and am frequent "lid" user. The simple trick of covering a skillet with a lid does wonders.

  • Lisa M Lisa M on Oct 16, 2012
    KMS, I do cook a good bit in the mountains, but never fry anything. I have tons of windows and french doors in the kitchen if something did burn. My husband does love his grill, so that sort of smoke will stay outdoors. As far as aesthetics, I am looking for an awesome view through the kitchen to the outside as you walk in the front door. I'm afraid that any sort of hood would interfere with that. I've also heard from several people that the "pop up" vents are a waste of money. Thanks so much for your and Steve's input!

  • You may not fry or cook things that require a vent, but if you ever try to sell this home, you will have many questions and requests for a vent. There are tons of after market in counter type vents sold that can be installed directly behind the cook top. I assume you do not want one hanging over the top. So this would be the answer to your issue. Even if you did not want to connect it, having it installed when building the island is the time to do this part of the install. Also vents are not just for frying. Controlling the moisture given off when boiling water, steam and such is a big reason to have vents. Also lots of things give off odors when cooked and not having a way to remove them can be a real bummer when the whole house smells like last weeks dinner party.

  • Lisa M Lisa M on Oct 16, 2012
    All good points, Woodbridge. What do you think of the vents that are part of the cooktop itself rather than a separate mechanism?

  • They are fine, but if the cook top ever breaks you will need to purchase another top with the vent built in. while those that are sold separate allows for lower cost replacements. In any case both types work well. Some even use both the center vent types along with the one that raises up from the back.

  • We agree that the pop-up vents, or other vents integrated into the cooktop do not do a very good job! If you're not venting to the outside, the only thing you're doing is moving air through the room. I would think you might want to make your decision based on your cabinetry needs, storage needs and design aesthetic in the kitchen. What would you put over the cooktop if you didn't do a vent of some sort?

  • The vents that I have seen that raise up from behind the cook top seem to work fine, to a point, If your burning lots of stuff, or have pots that are bigger then the top of the fan opening, you will loose some of the smells or steam to the room. But unless your willing to spring for a hanging overhead type of fan, you will have no other choice for ventilation. Ideally you should find the type that uses a remote fan that mounts on the outside of the house. Those vents that utilize a fan under the counter, behind the cook top do not have nearly enough power to do the job properly. If they did, the motor from the fan would be way to loud and you would not like or use it.

  • Lisa M Lisa M on Oct 18, 2012
    Before this extensive renovation we had a hood over the stove and in 15 years I may have turned the fan on twice. The design aesthetic is what is driving my decision in that I don't want a vent hood hanging from the ceiling over the island and limiting the view. Thanks so much for all of your input!!

  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Oct 20, 2012
    my 2 cents -- Id encourage you to not only put in ventilation, but to get into the habit of using it. If you only use it a couple times of year, then it is not worth the investment. If you used it religiously, you may be surprised at how much less mess you have in your home .. dust will be more dusty and less greasy. If your existing kitchen is small and contained its not that big of an issue - but with open floor plans the game changes. Especially with island applications -- there is no wall to contain the rise of grease and particles coming from your pan. I read you dont fry much - but Im guessing you do fry hamburger for chili, spaghetti or other like dishes? No matter what goes into a fry pan -- stuff (for the lack of technical terms) goes into your air. I have been through countless training and product seminars, and one thing that is rarely disputed is that downdrafts are the least effective by nature of the rise of heat coming from the stove. That being said though - if esthetics are a serious consideration (I can clearly see it is here.. and cannot argue!) - then I would consider one of these: 1) pop up ventilation because they pull higher up and tend to be more effective over the "jenn air style" downdrafts that pull right next to the heat source. 2) either a decorative island hood that looks nothing like a hood, or a ceiling mount application like the "Cirrus" -- both available from Best by Broan in the Sorpresa series. See here:

  • Lisa M Lisa M on Oct 20, 2012
    I so appreciate all of the thoughtful input! We were just up there today and things are moving along so this decision will happen relatively soon. I am taking all of your comments and ideas to heart. Thank you again! Great website, BeckySue. I just knew there was someone out there that could point me in the right direction for something less obtrusive, but still effective.

  • Randi Destefano Randi Destefano on Oct 21, 2012
    Lisa, I agree with Becky Sue. You really need to have some type of ventilation, and get into the habit of using it. As a designer and cook, I always specify ventilation, with my first choice being over head. Next would be a telescoping downdraft. But recently, I attended a seminar for JennAir, and their demonstrations of downdraft ventilation are quite impressive. Check out their video series on their website where they demonstrate each product. Hope this helps. Have a great renovation!

  • Em Hooper Em Hooper on Jul 23, 2015
    Doesn't take long for greasy film to collect on top of fridge, MW, cabinets. One reason i don't understand the mania for "open floor plans." Better to keep the cooking mess in one room and not all over the place, IMO.

  • Tova Pearl Tova Pearl on Nov 15, 2015
    If it's a very small kitchen with, lets say, a window and large sliding doors for tons of ventilation to the outdoors, you might get away with it. Otherwise follow the advice people gave - get the vent IMO.